by Car Guide Editor
While fuel efficient vehicles are on the rise – from better performing engines to hybrids – we as drivers can still do a few simple things to help with fuel efficiency, and ultimately, save more money at the pump. With gas prices all over the places these days and with summer here (more driving, higher prices at the pump!), we’ve put together 7 tips to help you realize better gas mileage. And perhaps, better overall driving practices on the road.
Here are 7 super simple tips to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency
1. DRIVE GENTLY
Sudden accelerations guzzle gas. Anticipate traffic patterns ahead and adjust your speed gradually.
2. CHECK TIRE PRESSURE
Under inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels waste fuel by forcing the engine to work harder. (Let the tires cool down before checking the air pressure.) Out-of-line wheels, as evidenced by uneven tread wear, should be aligned by a professional.
3. REDUCE AIR DRAG – CLOSE WINDOWS
Your mileage should improve if you keep the windows closed at highway speeds, since air drag is reduced. This is true even with the air conditioning on-assuming that the system is in good working order. But turn the air conditioning off in stop-and-go traffic to save fuel.
4. AVOID SPEEDING
Speeding decreases your miles per gallon.
5. ELIMINATE ACCESS WEIGHT
Remove unnecessary items from the vehicle. Store only essentials in the trunk. Less weight means better mileage.
6. DRIVE LESS & CONSOLIDATE TRIPS
Some trips may be unnecessary. Also, try to travel when traffic is light so you can avoid stop-and-go conditions.
7. MAINTAIN A TUNED UP ENGINE
A well-maintained engine operates at peak efficiency, maximizing gas mileage. Follow the service schedules listed in the owner’s manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended; have engine performance problems (rough idling, poor acceleration, etc.) corrected at a repair facility. Given today’s high-tech engines, it’s wise to have this type of work done by auto technicians who are ASE certified in engine performance.
Tips to Increase Fuel Economy and Help the Environment
In addition to our 7 fuel saving tips, increasing fuel efficiency also lessens the impact on the environment – here’s a more green angle and insights to reducing your fuel consumption
By all accounts North Americans are increasingly aware of the impact driving a vehicle has on the environment. Drivers are embracing hybrid vehicle technology, hoping to decrease emissions and increase fuel economy. But what of drivers who don’t have a hybrid? According to Car Care Canada and their Be Car Care Aware spokesperson Kelly Williams there is plenty that can be done to help a regular vehicle increase its fuel economy and lessen its impact on the environment.
“A clogged air filter decreases fuel efficiency by as much as 10 per cent,” Williams says. “So if it costs you $130 to fill your tank, that’s $13 per fill going out the window.”
Williams, a racecar driver, educator and safety advocate, makes the analogy that a clogged air filter in a vehicle is similar to a human having a stuffy, plugged up nose.
Car Care Canada is a non-profit advocacy group with a mandate to help educate the motoring public about routine auto repair and maintenance. The group promotes its message through its Be Car Care Aware campaign.
“Be Car Care Aware is a consumer education campaign about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair,” a news release says, and the campaign is: “Built around three key message areas of safety, the environment and protecting your vehicle investment.”
Since 2006 Car Care Canada has operated Car Check events in various cities across Canada to help gauge the condition of vehicles operating on the nation’s highways. Surprisingly, the first year a Car Check event was held the failure rate was a whopping 78 per cent.
“A lot of people just don’t know what’s a priority,” Williams says. Like checking a vehicle’s vital fluids, including oil, coolant, and brake fluid. She goes on to tell a story about the most recent car check event held in Winnipeg.
“In the very first vehicle we saw the oil didn’t even touch the dipstick – it was down more than two litres. And, we saw two other cars that day where the oil also didn’t touch the dipstick,” she says. Running a vehicle without enough oil can result in catastrophe, such as a seized engine.
“Some people just aren’t aware that they need to be checking these things on their own,” she says. “And, scheduling a service appointment twice a year is ideal; it’s much better than just fixing a problem when it happens.”
Williams offers a few more maintenance and environmentally friendly driving tips:
- Keep your engine tuned-up. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 per cent.
- Check tires for proper inflation. Under-inflated tires will quickly wear out, and they will increase fuel consumption by as much as 15 per cent. Proper tire inflation specifications can usually be found on the driver’s door or door post, the glove box or in the owner’s manual.
- Use the air conditioner sparingly. Running the A/C constantly can negatively impact fuel economy by 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
- Drive gently. Sudden acceleration and jerky, stop and go actions decrease fuel economy – and use cruise control on open highways to keep speed as steady as possible.