By Matthew Keegan
1. New cars. If you’re in the market for a new car, your gas savings will come by choosing the right model. You don’t need to choose a limited-range electric vehicle or a pricier hybrid model either. Some models, such as the Mazda Mazda6 and Nissan Altima, deliver 38 mpg on the highway or at least 10 mpg better than your current ride.
2. Cheap gas. You can find the cheapest priced gas in your area by using a service such as GasBuddy.com. Gas Buddy will point you to the stations with the lowest prices, saving you as much as 10 cents or more per gallon. Keep in mind what you’re putting in your tank too. Unless it is required, forgo the pricier premium grade gasoline and choose the more affordable regular unleaded instead.
3. Maintain your speed. High speeds can return lower gas mileage. To achieve optimum fuel efficiency while on the road, you should use cruise control and set your speed at about the speed limit. If that limit is above 65, however, your fuel economy will likely begin to drop.
4. Keep it light. If you use your trunk or rear storage area to carry anything beyond the essentials, that heavier weight will effect your fuel economy. Also keep in mind that when your vehicle goes out full that your gas mileage numbers will come in below the published figures.
5. Tire inflation. Yes, under inflated tires can be a drag on fuel economy. And dangerous too. Expect to lose two to three percent of your fuel efficiency if your tires are as much as 10 psi under normal amounts. Don’t fill your tires to the levels published on the sidewalls, however. Instead, use the numbers placarded on the inside of your driver’s door or glove box for the correct fill levels.
6. Take it easy. A lead foot and hard braking will impact your fuel economy adversely. Just ease up on the pedals by slowing braking and by accelerating smartly. You’ll not only save on gas, but reduce the wear and tear on your engine, brake system and other key components such as the transmission.
7. Keep it serviced. If your car is not being serviced according to schedule, you may be using more fuel than expected. Perform tune ups, change the oil and follow manufacturer recommendations for other maintenance. A well-tuned car performs optimally and will save you fuel.
How much fuel can you save by employing each offered tip? Perhaps as much as one-third, especially if you use cruise control on the open road. Check out FuelEconomy.gov for additional tips and for a breakdown of the percentages saved for each method used.
Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance automotive writer. Matt is also a contributing writer for Andy’s Auto Sport and affiliated websites, an aftermarket supplier of quality auto parts including EBC Brakes and Eibach Springs.
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