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10 Ways to Improve Gas Mileage and Reduce Fuel Expense

You can improve your gas mileage and reduce fuel expenses without buying a new car! 

Save money by improving your gas mileage without buying a new car!

While hybrids and electric cars are great ways to reduce your fuel consumption not everyone can afford a new car. There are many ways to make your current car more efficient to save money and reduce your use of gas. Here are few tips to improve your car’s fuel efficiency, save you money, and help our environment.

Improve Gas Mileage and Reduce Fuel Expense

Save money by improving your gas mileage without buying a new car!

#1. Maintain your vehicle

Remember that car maintenance refers to more than just an oil change.  Cars also need spark plugs, wire, and belt checks, air filters replaced, and regular tire inflation and rotation. Generally speaking, the better tuned your car, the better the gas mileage. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping your tires at their proper inflation levels can increase your gas mileage by as much as 3.3 percent. For a complete summer car maintenance checklist, visit this link at Advance Auto Parts.

#2. Don’t overload your car with unnecessary weight

The heavier the items piled in or on your car, the more fuel your car consumes to operate.  This includes all different types of sports racks fitted on your car’s exterior like bicycle racks and ski racks. When you aren’t using something, take it out or off the car.

#3. Don’t top off at the pump and make sure you screw your gas cap on tightly

When you are done filling your gas tank at the pump, don’t top off. Topping off can spill and waste gas. Furthermore, make sure the gas cap is screwed on tightly. Gas can evaporate quickly from a loose cap. 

#4. Open a gasoline credit card

As long as you can pay it off each month, opening a gasoline credit card can save you money. For example, with a Conoco card, you can save 5 cents per gallon of gas.  If you can’t open a credit card, purchase your gas from a wholesale club like Sams or Costco. Typically these stores are able to sell gas 5-10 cents cheaper.

#5. Don’t drive over 60mph on the highway and follow speed limits

Although it’s not exactly true that the faster you go the higher your gas mileage, most cars reach their best gas mileage somewhere between 40-60 mph. Keep a record of all car trips and calculate the gas mileage to find the optimal speed for your car.

#6. Find the best gas prices, but don’t go out of your way.

GasBuddy.com has a great app for smartphones that allows you to find the cheapest gas price in your area. However, if the cheapest gas price is 15 miles away, opt for the 5 cents higher price only 1 mile away.  Don’t spend extra gas finding cheaper gas.

#7. Carpool

Most of us have heard this one before, buts its worth mentioning again. Not only will carpooling save you money, but it benefits the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the air.

#8. Plan your trip to the gas station, don’t wait until the tank is on E

According to GasBuddy.com, gas prices are statistically cheaper earlier in the week, on Mondays or Tuesdays. Don’t fill up on the weekends or right before a holiday.  If you really have the time, watch the price of crude oil and follow the stock market and fill up as soon as prices start to jump. 

#9. Be a calm, consistent driver

The more you speed, brake, and engage in rapid gas acceleration, the less your gas mileage will be. Instead of being an aggressive driver, be consistent and calm. Drive at or below the speed limit and don’t brake or accelerate quickly. If you can, use cruise control to maintain a consistent speed.  By following these simple tips, you could gain as much as a 33 percent gas mileage increase on highways and 5 percent on city roads.

#10. Don’t drive!

If you can walk, take the bus, or ride your bicycle, you not only save yourself gas money, but you are also reducing the number of pollutants in the air.

Save money by improving your gas mileage without buying a new car!

How to improve your fuel economy: 23 tips for better gas mileage. Get Rich Slowly. (2007).
How to save gas. WikiHow.
Reed, P. (2005). What really saves gas? And how much? Edmunds.com

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Amanda Marcott-Thottunkal is a freelance writer in Norman. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Amanda is concerned about environmental policies and the effects legislation has on creating a cleaner, greener Oklahoma. She is constantly searching out ways to make her life more eco-friendly and wants to share green living tips with others. She lives with her husband and two cats.

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  1. Kathleen says:

    These are great tips — thanks!

  2. Great tips, Amanda. My favorite is just slowing down. Driving faster does not mean you arrive at your destination sooner. Rather, you use more gasoline and are more likely to be frazzled when you arrive.

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