As gas prices continue to rise at a higher rate than the standard income increase, people are continually looking for better ways to improve their car’s gas mileage. No matter what year, make, or model of car that you have, there are several easy and inexpensive things that you can do to improve your gas mileage and extend the amount of time between fill-ups. Below are a few to get your started.
Maintenance adds the Miles
You might think that skipping your regular oil change or scheduled maintenance milestones is no big deal as long as you get them completed at some point. You would be wrong. One of the first things to impact the gas mileage that your vehicle gets is old oil, clogged air filters, and dirty fuel filters. When your car’s combustion and lubrication systems become dirty your engine has to work harder using more fuel to go the same amount of distance.
Not only does performing regular maintenance and oil changes on your vehicle improve the gas miles that you will receive, it also reduces wear and tear on your vehicle. Wear and tear also affect gas mileage in the long run; through parts working less efficiently due to old age and deterioration. So, in essence, performing regular maintenance ends up saving you money on repairs as well as improving your gas mileage both in the short term and the long run.
Check your Tires
Miss-aligned or underinflated tires are another big gas mileage gobbler. Have you ever tried to push a wheelbarrow with a flat tire? It is extremely difficult since there are additional contact surfaces that increase the amount of force required to move the tires. It is the same with underinflated tires on your vehicle; directly affecting the number of miles you get between fill-ups.
Slow Down on Wet Roads
Wet or icy roads should be driven on at a slower rate in general for safety reasons. However, driving at slower speeds on wet or slick roads also affects your gas mileage. This is largely due to the lack of traction that causes your wheels to spin forcing the engine to work harder to propel the vehicle forward.
Think of this as trying to ride a bicycle on loose sand or gravel; the wheels may be spinning, but you are not moving forward at the same rate as you would on a solid surface. This is the sam for your car when your tires are not inflated to specification because it takes more power and energy to make the tires spin.
Plot your Path
Besides being more time efficient, planning your errands so that you are clustering destination points or make a loop instead of jumping from one location to another minimizes backtracking and saves gas.
Companies like UPS have been implementing these types of gas saving modifications to their delivery driver’s scheduled drop-offs for years. Their research shows that having their driver’s make only right-hand turns when planning their delivery path cut 20.4 million miles from the company’s routes in 2011. That adds up to millions in cost and fuel savings throughout the year.
Getting better gas mileage isn’t difficult when you take the time to maintain your vehicle, plan your errands, and use common sense when driving in inclement weather.