6 ways to improve gas mileage

Prices at the gas pump are increasing and now 4 in 10 Americans are finding prices painful. So how can we save money on gas?

I’m not going to say to buy a new car. Many are not in a position to buy a new car, and while buying a new car may save money on gas, you may actually end up spending more overall on the actual car itself.

So what are other ways to save money on gas?

  1. Carpool – This is one of the more obvious solutions, but so many don’t do it. Reasons for not carpooling range from adding additional travel time, having to sync schedules, and not being able to drive your own car (Americans LOVE their cars). However, this is one of the best ways to save money on gas. If you are seriously determined to save money, then carpooling is a great solution.
  2. Look ahead – There is a common saying that braking wastes gas. This may have been true for older cars, but for modern computerized cars this is no longer the case. If anything, braking causes losses in momentum, which in turn will require more gas to accelerate back to speed. The purpose of looking ahead is to adjust and time slow downs to try to break as little momentum as possible. If you have a hybrid, then maybe you want to brake :)
  3. Accelerate slower – It is also another common thought that accelerating faster will get you up to speed faster than accelerating slower, and as such acceleration rates do not affect gas efficiency. Looking at simple physics seems to point that this should be true. The total amount of energy in the system is the same regardless of acceleration. However, what the simple physics leave out are losses due to friction, heat, and general inefficiencies in mechanical engines. Pushing harder on the gas pedal and putting in double the amount of gas in the engine won’t necessarily give you double the amount to energy to apply to acceleration. Accelerating slower will allow you to use gas more efficiently – just don’t be obnoxiously slow.
  4. Use cruise control – Cruise control is more efficient than manually controlling the gas, especially over long distances. The computer can control the gas at a much steadier pace than humans can. Many cars can engage cruise control at speeds as slow as 25 mph. One of the few limitations of cruise control is over areas that are very hilly. It cannot predict upcoming hills and will often not take advantage of places where momentum can be built to climb hills.
  5. Use the proper octane for your vehicle – Engines are built to run with specific gasoline in mind. Many times it can be found in the owner’s manual. If it is not there, then the all-knowing Google will know. Using a higher octane gas will not increase gas mileage if the engine is not made to utilize the higher octane. It will only cost you more money.
  6. Keep tires properly inflated – Low tire pressure causes tires to be less “round” which require more energy to begin moving and to maintain speed. Keeping tire pressure at proper levels also increases the life-span of the tires as well.

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4 Responses to “6 ways to improve gas mileage”
  1. Jessica says:

    There is also bike riding and walking instead of driving if you can.

    • Gian Sorreta says:

      That certainly is another option. I’ll admit I’m probably too lazy to ride my bike to work on a consistent basis…

  2. John says:

    Also use the “MAX A/C” setting instead of the regular A/C to cool your vehicle in the summer months. It is louder but more economical and will thus save you gas.

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