Springtime brings many things: melting snow, flowers, pollen, road trips, and rising gas prices. High prices at the pumps always seem to bring questions and complaints regarding fuel economy. Everyone is out there looking for that magic bullet that will give them some relief from all those soaring gas price pains. With the tendency to purchase gas-guzzling vehicles instead of passenger cars, this pain is bound to get worse for some of us as the prices get higher and higher. Even those of us who choose economy cars are looking for their value when fuel prices go sky-high. If you are looking for things you can do to get better fuel economy and improve your miles per gallon ratio, you have come to the right place! Take into consideration these helpful tips to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your fuel bucks.
- Determine your actual fuel economy - There is only one way to do this and it’s not by looking in your owner’s manual or at your trip display on the dashboard. These will both give you numbers within the ballpark, but to make sure your number is exact, you have to do the math yourself. Fill up your vehicle at the gas station and stop pumping after the first auto-off click of the pump handle. Reset your trip odometer to “0” and drive at least 150-200 miles, the farther the better. Then refill your tank, check to see how many gallons you added. Divide the miles traveled by the number of gallons it took to refill the tank. The result will be your car’s average miles per gallon for that driving period.
- Clean your air filter - Good gas mileage is dependent on good airflow. Did you know that for every gallon of gas that your car burns, it also burns about 1100 cubic feet of air? If you don’t have free-flowing air through your filter, you will end up just burning more gas.
- Use the right engine oil for your car - The right weighted oil decreases friction in your engine and friction makes your engine work harder, thus, using more gas.
- Correctly inflate your tires - If your tires are under-inflated, they can cause a rolling resistance and get worse gas mileage.
- Drive conservatively - This is actually the best tip to get better fuel economy. Driving aggressively (jackrabbit starts, flooring the gas pedal, pulling up fast to a stop, etc.) is the worst thing you can do if you want to get the best miles per gallon from your car.
Now with your miles per gallon number in mind, you can make changes to your car and your driving habits, and hopefully, you will get some relief at the pump.