Owning a car these days is a costly endeavor in more ways than one. In terms of individual finances, the steady rise in gas prices has been wreaking havoc on every driver’s budget. Moreover, regularly filling up a gas tank is not the most environmentally sustainable practice, as it depletes an already diminished supply of natural resources. Improving your car’s fuel efficiency through one of the following ways, however, can help to partially address these problems.
Check Tires and Spark Plugs
Taking the time to check your tire pressure and make sure that they are appropriately inflated can have a significant effect on your car’s fuel economy. Under inflated tires tend to drag on the road, causing more friction and requiring your car to work harder to reach certain speeds. Inflating tires properly can increase your fuel efficiency by up to 10%. It’s also important to make sure that your tires are properly aligned and regularly rotated, as this too can improve fuel economy by around 10%. Replacing spark plugs can also improve this efficiency; in fact, misfiring spark plugs are one of the most common causes for reduced gas mileage.
Fill Up Strategically
Do you regularly fill up your tank in the middle of the afternoon or early in the evening? If so, you may be unwittingly decreasing your car’s fuel economy. During the warmest parts of the day, gasoline loses some of its density, but becomes denser when the temperature cools down. Thus, it’s a good idea to fill up your gas tank at night or very early in the morning, since at these hours you’ll get denser (i.e. more) gas for your dollar. It’s also important to use the grade of gasoline recommended for your particular vehicle. While it may be tempting to pay less money for a lower grade, you may end up paying more in the long run when your fuel efficiency decreases.
Reducing your average driving speed is also a good way to improve your car’s fuel economy. A car reaches its optimum fuel efficiency at around 55-60mph. Once you start driving faster than that, your fuel efficiency will decrease, forcing you to fill up your tank more often. Driving at reduced speeds can be difficult if you take the freeway to work every day (especially if you tend to run late), but if you can manage to do so for at least 2-3 days each week, you can still significantly improve the fuel economy of your vehicle. Additionally, using a cruise control option if available (and when possible) can also improve fuel efficiency by up to 15%.
There are a number of other small changes you can make to your driving habits which, when combined, can greatly improve your fuel economy. For example, avoid idling when running errands or picking up and dropping off children from school, as this simply wastes gas. Additionally, if you’re carting around a lot of equipment in your trunk, try to unload some of this, as a lighter vehicle gets much better fuel efficiency.
About the author: Samuel Hoyt is a freelance writer and an enthusiast car owner. He usually writes articles related to sell car online and other automotive topics.