Stop Fuming at the Pumps – 16 easy ways to improve gas mileage

Imagine yourself waiting in line at the gas station. You’re running late for work and now you’re just sitting there, idling, waiting for your turn at the pump. You grumble with frustration at the thought of pouring yet more money into your vehicle. What can you do, though? You need to drive to get around. There’s no avoiding gas prices.

There are ways, however, to make your trip to the gas pump a little bit less distressing!

Follow these 16 easy tips to increase your gas mileage, while decreasing your spending and stress.

Take care of your vehicle
carCareFeb_cov1Keeping your vehicle in good running condition can have a huge impact on gas mileage. Make sure to adhere to your manufacturer’s regular maintenance schedule. Simple things like changing the air filter, replacing spark plugs and fixing the alignment can all improve your vehicle’s gas consumption.

Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Improperly inflated tires can increase gas consumption by up to 25%!

Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations to choose the grade of motor oil and the octane gas rating that are best for your vehicle.

Don’t overload your vehicle. A heavier load will lead to higher gas consumption. Take a look at what you’re carrying in your trunk to see if you can reduce the weight. Don’t forget to consider what’s on the outside of your vehicle – a roof rack can add a lot to your load!

Watch your driving
Maintaining a constant speed is one of the easiest and most effective ways of increasing your gas mileage. Accelerate and brake slowly and evenly. Sudden stops and quick accelerations use more gas than moderate changes in speed.

Use cruise control when driving on the highway. It’s easy to speed up without even noticing when you’re driving on a long, empty road. Cruise control can help you moderate your speed.

Don’t allow your vehicle to idle. If you’re waiting for someone, turn the vehicle off until they get there. Allowing your vehicle to idle wastes gas – not to mention adds to noise and air pollution in the area.

Don’t be an aggressive driver. The higher your speed, the higher your gas consumption. Aggressive drivers tend to brake and accelerate more quickly. So when you’re driving, take a deep breath, put on some music, and relax!

Plan your gas purchases
carCareFeb_intPay attention to gas prices in your area. Some gas stations are cheaper than others. Others have reward plans or cards that can lead to reduced prices or free gas.

Plan ahead when filling up. Some people notice that gas prices tend to go up a little bit before weekends or holidays. Over time, you might find that a mid-week fill-up saves you money.

Make sure that you properly close and tighten your gas cap. You don’t want any of that precious fuel evaporating!

Buy gas when it’s coolest – usually early in the morning or later in the evening. Gas is sold by volume. It’s denser at cooler temperatures, so you get more bang for your buck.

Change your lifestyle
If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, buy a more gas-efficient vehicle. Research and read up on gas mileage before you commit to a new vehicle.

Find ways to minimize gas consumption to and from work. If you can, carpool, telecommute or time your commute to avoid the busiest times in the morning or the afternoon. More traffic means more idling and more braking, which means using more gas.

Plan and group your errands so that you’re driving fewer miles. Rather than going home after work and then going out to the grocery store in the evening, stop on the way home. If you have to go to the post office on Monday, the library on Tuesday and the doctor’s office on Wednesday, rearrange your schedule so that you can take care of all three of these chores at once.

Drive less. This is by far the easiest and most effective way to limit your gas consumption! Whenever you can, use your feet, a bicycle or public transportation to get around. Your body and your wallet will both thank you!

While completely dropping out of the vehicle culture so that you never have to buy gas again isn’t a reasonable goal for most people, there are definitely some easy ways to lessen the strain of buying gas. If you follow these tips, you’ll find yourself a little bit happier behind the wheel – and at the pump!