If you own a vehicle and have been to the gas station lately, you’ve been feeling the pinch in your pocket. Gas prices have skyrocketed substantially over the past decade, with no end in sight to the increase.
The last time fuel was under three dollars a gallon was in 2010, so we can safely assume it’s not going back. To save money, people have switched to green-friendly options, started carpooling more, and reduced their time on the road.
These are great starts, but there are other ways you can still live your life and get better gas mileage. Try these five tips when you need to fill up your tank regularly, and you’ll notice a difference in your monthly gas budget.
1. Keep Up With Your Vehicle’s Maintenance
It’s easy to forget how important it is to maintain your vehicle. Whether it’s a car, truck, motorcycle, or other machines with tires, a lot goes into making it operable.
You’ll save a few cents for every gallon when your tires are inflated to their optimal level. This sounds a little too simple, right? The truth is that many people are driving around with one or more tires that aren’t inflated correctly.
This adds wear and tear to your rubber and decreases your gas mileage. Check your tire pressure regularly and get your tires rotated and balanced at least every other oil change.
Speaking of oil changes, the motor oil you use matters, too. Don’t assume the professionals are using the right viscosity, especially if you tell them to go for the cheapest change possible. Ask for (or buy, if you’re changing your oil yourself) the motor oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
A front-end alignment is another maintenance tip that can significantly increase your gas mileage. Every time you drive over a curb or hit a pothole, it slowly causes the wheel system to get out of its proper position. Misalignments cause increased wear and tear on your tires and reduced mileage.
2. Don’t Ride Your Brakes
You know about the three-second rule designed to prevent a crash if the driver in front of you slams on their brakes. Following this rule also increases the life of your brakes.
Keeping your foot on the brake causes the pads and rotors to wear out faster than necessary. But slamming on the brakes at the last second creates extra stress on the vehicle by trying to force it to stop without a gradual slow down.
Avoid tailgating the car before you, and always follow the speed limit. It will increase your gas mileage and could give you the time necessary to avoid hitting another vehicle.
This is especially helpful when a motorcyclist is in your blind spot or shows up seemingly out of nowhere. Debris in the road, potholes, and other hazards force a driver to swerve, and your finesse with the brakes may prevent an accident and save a life.
3. Turn Off the Engine in Traffic Jams
Shutting your car off when you’re idling saves fuel. Today’s higher-end cars have a system that does this for you, but you can do it manually when you’re stuck in traffic.
You can save two cents per gallon every two minutes you’re sitting with your engine off. When you’re stuck at that red light that you know takes forever to change, or you’re at a dead stop on the road because of a car accident, turn your car off. You can still stream your tunes or podcast while you save on fuel.
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4. Get Rid of the Unnecessary Weight in Your Car
Deadweight indeed holds you down, and it’s also costing you at the gas pump. Much of your fuel economy depends on the weight of your vehicle, which is why heavier trucks and SUVs don’t usually have amazing gas mileage.
When you have odds and ends in your car that don’t need to be there, it’s time to clean them out. Get rid of the unnecessary junk in your trunk and empty the accumulated garbage and toys in the rest of the area, and you’ll stress the vehicle’s system less.
5. Curb the Urge to Speed
Regular acceleration puts extra pressure on the engine. It works harder than it does when you’re going with the flow at one set speed.
Lower your speed and keep it steady. Use cruise control when possible to ensure you’re not subconsciously changing your acceleration rate.
You don’t need to cause traffic congestion with your slow speed, but you don’t have to zoom across the lanes to get ahead of everyone, either. Your gas tank will thank you.
You might not have realized it, but every time you cause your engine to work, you’re burning fuel. The harder you push it by speeding or neglecting the parts of the system, the more gas you use. Follow these five simple tips to save mileage and increase your spending cash.