With Fuel Costs Continuing to Rise, Learn How to Stretch Your Gasoline Dollar
- Properly inflate your tires—You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4% for every one psi drop in pressure of all four tires.
- Oil change per manufacturer recommendations—You can improve your gas mileage by 1 to 2% by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1 to 2%. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
- Do not let your car idle for more than 60 seconds—Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than cars with smaller engines.
- Keep your engine properly tuned—Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, may improve your gas mileage as much as 40%.
- Drive sensibly—Aggressive driving wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town.
- Observe the speed limit—Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.30 per gallon for gas.
- Use cruise control—Helps you save gas and maintain a constant speed on the highway.
- Use overdrive gears—When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
- Remove excess weight—Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%.
- Combine trips—Stop by the store on your way home from work rather than making a special trip. Combining travel can save a lot of time and fuel.
- Change your commuting habits—If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets the best gas mileage. Avoid peak rush hours, and you’ll spend less time sitting in traffic and consume less fuel. Also, consider working from home if your employer permits it.
- Car pool—Sharing a ride into work saves you and your coworker gas, money and wear and tear on your car.
- Install low rolling resistance tires—Low rolling resistance tires improve the fuel economy of your vehicle.
- Consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle—The U.S. Department of Energy provides a guide of the most fuel efficient vehicles sold in America. Consult your tax professional and visit the U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Efficient Vehicle Tax Information Center for details on tax incentives.
More tips and information can be found on the U.S. DOE fuel economy website.
If prices at the pump have you thinking about possible transportation alternatives, you are not alone. Reducing consumption of fossil fuels by motorists is a goal both at the federal and state level. The U.S. has set an ambitious goal of having a million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. In New York State, NYSERDA has been advancing research and development into technologies to make this vision a reality.
Check out how NYSERDA supports transportation electrification research and demonstration projects.