Around 20 years ago, a person could fill up their gas tank for around $20. Today you might – just might – get a quarter tank for $20. As the prices continue to rise, people are searching for ways to reduce the amount of gasoline they are using in order to save money – or better to not be broke as soon as they get their paycheck because they had to fill up their vehicle.
So how do you improve your gas mileage? First, you should do the obvious. Consolidate trips, walk when possible and implement proper driving techniques that will reduce the amount of gasoline burned when you do have to drive. Also making sure your vehicle is operating properly and properly tuned will help reduce the amount of gasoline used and boost your gas mileage.
Do you know what your vehicle’s current gas mileage is? Most have an on-board computer that will give you a good estimate. If you are driving an SUV or a pickup, you are likely getting between 15 and 17 miles to the gallon. Small cars tend to do the best as they have smaller engines and are much lighter. Now that you have that information, it’s time to look at ways to improve that number and hopefully save you a few dollars at the pump.
First, check the air pressure in your tires. Over inflation or under inflation can hurt your mileage. The sidewall of the tire will provide you with the information you will need to make sure your tires are properly inflated. For most small cars it is around 28 PSI and for trucks and SUVs usually around 35 PSI. Inflate the tire to the proper level be sure you check them periodically.
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Next, when was the last time your car had a tune up? Regular tune ups with replacement of the spark plugs and wires or any of the electronic components will also improve your gas mileage. If you are driving a vehicle which uses spark plugs, remember that this is what causes the spark that creates the combustion within your engine. If it is weak, more gasoline will be required to create the combustion which will result in the engine using more gasoline than necessary.
Make sure your oil is changed regularly and that the proper oil is put into the engines. Today many vehicles are requiring 5W30 or 10W30 oil. As your vehicle ages you might consider a slightly heavier oil, but remember the heavier weight of the oil creates more of a drag within the engine which will require more power – which requires more gasoline.
Now that you’ve done the obvious, it’s time to look at your driving habits. The way you drive will also affect your gas mileage. Do you drive the speed limit or do you like to speed? Remember that first of all, speeding can lead to more serious injuries in the event of an accident. Secondly the faster you drive, the more gasoline you will use per mile.
Braking is another area that needs to be looked at. Are you a driver that drives right up to the stop sign and slams on the brakes? This uses an unnecessary amount of gasoline as well. Instead, try letting off the gas pedal a little earlier and coasting part of the way. Not only does this cut back on gas usage but it also saves on your brakes!
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