Modern cars are more fuel efficient than ever, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to try to eek a few extra miles out of a tank of gas. Most of the methods proven to be most effective in improving your day-to-day fuel efficiency also happen to fall under the category of basic maintenance and good driving habits.
1. Tires. Tires? Tires! It turns out that keeping your tires properly inflated is more than just a simple safety issue. It can also have noticeable impact on how many miles you get per fill-up. In fact, there are statistics available that show a direct correlation between under-inflated tires and lower fuel economy. As an added bonus, if your tires are inflated to the pressure shown on the door jamb of your vehicle, they will also last longer and offer you better handling, comfort, and safety on the road.
2. Ditch the junk in your trunk Modern life tends to see us accumulating a lot of stuff and some of that junk ends up finding a nice home in your car. Cleaning out your trunk on a regular basis to remove items you don’t need, like soccer balls, camping gear, spare parts, or whatever you and the family might have forgotten was riding around back there, lightens the load of your vehicle – and consequently, reduces the amount of fuel it needs to use.
3. Stay on top of oil and filter changes Using the right engine oil for your car, as written in your owner’s manual, can have a cumulative impact on fuel efficiency. One or two percent might not sound like a lot, but multiply that by the number of miles you drive in a year and it’s clear that it’s worth regularly changing your engine oil, engine oil filter, and using the correct grade of lubricant.
4. Don’t ignore that ‘Check Engine’ light When the ‘Check Engine’ light shows up on your dashboard, it may be tempting to just keep driving until you can schedule some time into your busy schedule to head to the garage. Problems like a bad oxygen sensor, malfunctioning spark plugs, or a clogged fuel filter could trigger this light to go off. These issues will drain your fuel efficiency until they have been addressed. You might end up spending more money at the pump than you would have otherwise spent to correct the problem in the first place.
5. Drive sensibly Safe driving is efficient driving. Avoid aggressive behavior, including speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking. All vehicles are more efficient at slower speeds, and when driven with care.
The moral of the story when it comes to boosting your fuel efficiency is to stay on top of maintenance, to avoid hauling heavy items around when not needed, and to make sure that you address maintenance issues as soon as you are aware that something might be wrong under the hood.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll motor on smoothly and efficiently!