With gas prices so high, getting the most bang for your buck when it comes to mileage is essential. However, there are many good tricks to ensure your car goes the distance.
From optimal driving to proper maintenance, we’ll explain everything you need to know.
Ready to go further?
Here are the three pillars of fuel efficiency:
Pillar #1: Optimize Your Driving
It all starts with the conditions you place on your vehicle while driving:
1. Drive Conservatively
The faster you drive, the more your engine has to work. And more work means more fuel. So avoid speeding at all costs.
However, there’s more to driving conservatively than just driving slowly.
- Drive at around 50mph: Between 50-55mph seems to be the sweet spot for fuel efficiency.
- Use cruise control: This ensures a consistent pace and reduces lost fuel due to unnecessary accelerating and decelerating.
- Accelerate and decelerate smoothly: Over-revving burns more fuel, so keeping your revs below 2000RPM is ideal.
2. Gear Your Car for Success
Reducing the load on your engine is about more than just speed. Appropriate gear use reduces unnecessary revving and maximizes fuel economy. So make sure you:
- Shift gears efficiently: Once your RPM is between 2500-3000, you should change up.
- Drive in the correct gear: Aim to be in the highest possible gear without overworking the engine.
- Avoid “coasting”: Rather than driving in neutral when decelerating (“coasting”), keep your car in gear, as this will not burn any fuel in most cars.
3. Reduce Friction on Your Vehicle
The less power your car needs to get going, the less fuel it uses. So do anything you can to reduce friction. Some common things you can do include removing roof boxes and racks, keeping the windows up, and removing any excess weight.
Pillar #2: Avoid Excessive Idling
It’s not all about how you move. Using any fuel while stationary is technically wasting.
So how do you reduce idle time?
1. Plan Your Routes
A pre-prepared route reduces idle time because you can account for traffic — either leaving earlier or later to avoid it. In addition, your GPS should suggest the most economical route.
But that’s not all.
Knowing the route means you’re not wasting unnecessary fuel driving around while searching for your destination.
2. Avoid Rush Hour
If you’re completely stopped, you can switch off your engine. But if you’re caught in slow-moving traffic, your car uses fuel inefficiently.
Cars have a “sweet spot” when it comes to efficiency. Slow driving requires lower gears which produce more power but use more fuel.
Pillar #3: Ensure Your Car Is Properly Serviced and Maintained
If your vehicle is in optimal condition, it’ll work most efficiently.
Here are a few quick considerations:
1. Check Your Tire Pressure
Increasing MPG is all about reducing friction. Underinflated tires grip the road more, resulting in more friction.
2. Replace Your Oxygen Sensors Early
Efficient combustion requires the right mix of oxygen and fuel. That’s where the oxygen sensors come in. They relay information to the vehicle’s engine control system regarding how much oxygen is in the mix. Faulty information results in an inefficient mix.
For older vehicles, replace your oxygen sensors every 60,000 miles; for new vehicles, around 100,000 miles.
3. Replace a Failing Thermostat
The thermostat regulates the amount of coolant in the engine to maintain ideal operating temperatures.
A faulty thermostat that stays open too long results in excessive coolant in the engine. Too much coolant inhibits the engine from reaching optimal temperatures, creating inefficiency.
4. Replace Spark Plugs
Spark plugs create the sparks that cause combustion.
When they don’t work, incomplete combustion occurs — some fuel in the combustion chamber isn’t burned and goes to waste.
5. Check The Wheel Alignment
Misaligned tires create sideways drag — i.e., more friction and more power required to move.
How do you know if your wheels are misaligned?
Common signs include uneven tired tread, your car pulling to one side, and an off-centered steering wheel.
6. Replace Your Air Filter
Efficient combustion requires the right mixture of air and fuel. However, an old, clogged air filter restricts airflow to the engine.
This results in the engine receiving more fuel than necessary relative to the amount of air.
How often should you replace your air filter?
Around once a year, or once you reach 12,000 miles.
7. Check for Brake Drag
Brakes not releasing properly?
What a drag!
As always, this means more friction = more power required to move = more fuel used.
How do I know if my brakes aren’t releasing properly?
Expect a sluggish ride, a depressed brake pedal, and an unresponsive car.