Whatever kind of car you drive, improving your fuel mileage can help you save fuel—and money. Here are a few ideas to help stretch your fuel dollar.
Properly inflate your tires.
Improve your gas mileage by around 3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker on the driver’s side door frame, in the glove box, or in your owner’s manual. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire’s sidewall; maximum pressure may not mean proper pressure.
Use the recommended grade of motor oil for gas powered engines.
Not all motor oils are alike. They are categorized by grades and other classifications that refer to things like the oil’s viscosity and friction-modifying additives. To properly maintain your vehicle, you should use the grade of motor oil recommended by the car manufacturer. Doing so can improve your gas mileage by 1–2%.
Avoid excessive idling.
Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas idling than do cars with smaller engines. Idling for just 5-minutes increases fuel consumption by 7-14%. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked to save fuel and reduce unnecessary emissions.
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes fuel. It can lower your fuel mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than just gas money.
Combining errands into one trip saves time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and efficient, and it can reduce the distance you travel.
Remove excess weight.
Don’t keep unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your gas mileage by about 1.5%.
Consider carpools and rideshare programs.
If you have to drive to work each day, consider taking advantage of carpools and rideshare programs. You could cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car if you take turns driving with other commuters. Many urban areas allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes, which are typically less congested, further improving your fuel economy. Visit 511NYRideshare.org and explore your transportation options.
Choose a more efficient or clean-fueled vehicle.
Selecting which vehicle to purchase is the most important fuel economy decision you’ll make. Visit fueleconomy.gov and epa.gov/otaq before you buy to compare fuel estimates and other information about environmental impact. You may want to consider an alternative fuel vehicle, such as an electric car. They are cleaner and often cheaper to operate than gasoline vehicles. Visit Alternative Fuel Data Center’s vehicle search to find out more.
Visit fueleconomy.gov for more information and tips.