How to Get Better Gas Mileage
- Drive Conservatively - Quick starts and hard braking can increase fuel consumption by as much as 40%. Tests show that quick-shot starting and hard braking reduces travel time by only 4%, while toxic emissions were more than five times higher. Accelerate slowly and smoothly and you will get better miles per gallon.
- Drive Steadily and Obey the Speed Limits - Increasing highway cruising speed from 55mph to 75mph can raise fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Improve your fuel economy by 10-15% by driving slower and with fewer quick starts and stops and frequent mashing of the gas pedal.
- Avoid Idling Your Vehicle - In both the summer and winter, idling your vehicle wastes fuel and produces unnecessary greenhouse gases. If you are going to be stopped more than 30 seconds anywhere except in traffic, turn off your car to conserve gas. In the winter, older vehicles may need more idling time to warm up and sufficiently defog the windshield.
- Tire Inflation - Under-inflated tires can cause fuel consumption to increase as much as 6%. Check tire pressure at least once a month in your driveway after the vehicle has been idle for a few hours. If under-inflated, take to a gas station to add air. According to the Energy Information Administration, tire efficiency could save approximately 800,000 barrels of oil a day
- Air Conditioner - Using the air conditioner on a hot summer day can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10% in city driving. At low speeds, roll down the window if possible. At high speeds, having the air on may be more efficient than the wind resistance from open windows.
- Use Cruise Control - For long highway driving trips, use your cruise control and save fuel by maintaining a steady speed.
- Choose the Right Fuel - Premium, high-octane fuels aren't necessarily the best choice for your car. Higher prices don't guarantee better performance. Consult your owner's manual to see what your car requires.
- Monitor Power Accessories - Shut off all power-consuming accessories and devices in your vehicles before turning off the car. These devices cause the alternator to work harder when you start up the vehicle. This adds a load to the engine and increases fuel use.
- Tighten Your Gas Cap - Many people think that just because the gas cap is on, it's doing its job. The truth is, gas evaporates into this air and so does your money and fuel economy. If you don't tighten your gas cap to at least the second click, you will lose gas due to evaporation. According to the Car Care Council, loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate every year.
- Plan Ahead - It does not matter if your are going across town to the store or across the country for a family trip, you should pick the most efficient route. This includes avoiding heavy traffic, hills, construction and other obstacles. If you are organized, you can reduce the total number of small trips and save fuel.
Jon Peters is the Fixed Operations Director (Service & Parts) for the Uftring Auto Group family of dealerships in Peoria, East Peoria, Washington and Pekin, Illinois. Jon has over 20 years of extensive experience in automotive service, parts and repair. He is always willing to offer his knowledge with our customers and friends. For more information on how you can get more miles per gallon, visit a professional at Uftring Nissan in Peoria today.