High gas prices getting the best of you? It’s time to share two keys to getting better gas mileage. The first has a higher cost, but can yield significant gains. The second can be nearly free, but the gains may be only incremental. Rest assured, there are no magic solutions that will instantly and painlessly deliver better gas mileage. It takes some effort and investment (though not necessarily financial). If you truly want to achieve the highest gas mileage, you have to make it a mindset. You need to make a conscious decision that getting highest number of miles per gallon is a priority.
Lets go back to those two keys.
Key #1 should come as no surprise: Give serious consideration to giving up old paint for a new ride. Simply put, there’s no faster way to better gas mileage then dumping your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle. If most of your driving is in town and you’re hauling around in a thirsty pig that delivers a whopping 15 MPG in the city, give some thought to upgrading to something more reasonable.
You might be able to slash your fuel bill by as much as two-thirds if you switch to a fuel stingy hybrid from a gas-guzzling SUV. (Feel free to plug your numbers into our gas mileage calculator to see exactly how much you can save.) Check our list of of 40 MPG cars … some of them are remarkably nice …
But what if you’re not ready to buy a more fuel-efficient car? Is there anything you can do to get better gas mileage out of your current (and possibly fully paid for) vehicle?
Of course there is … as long as you don’t expect to double your mileage.
Key #2: The low buck path to better gas mileage isn’t a purchase decision so much as a change in your thinking.
Keep your car proper running order. Be sure to maintain the proper air pressure in your tires. Take care of basic maintenance. If your check engine light is lit, you can have the codes read for free at many auto parts stores. A bad oxygen sensor or irregularities in your fuel injection system can have an impact on fuel economy. When your car’s in the shop for an oil change, go the extra mile, pay the extra bucks, and switch to synthetic engine oil.
Drive like you care about the amount of petroleum that you’re consuming. Stop rushing around and stomping on the gas pedal and brakes. Leave a little earlier and get there on time. Let off the gas as soon when you see that you’re coming up to a red light. (Slow down a bit and enjoy life, it’s later than you think.) The guy that passed you at 80 MPH is sitting in front of you at the light right now. Shut off your engine when you pull up to the drive-up window … or better yet, park your car and walk inside (the exercise is an extra benefit). If your vehicle has a fuel-efficiency monitor, use it to learn how to drive optimally.
Last but not least: don’t expect your cruise control to give you the best possible mileage. A skilled driver is smarter than the transmission.
February 13th, 2008
- Ain’t Fuelin’ Update: How Can I Increase My Gas Mileage?
- How Much Do You Spend on Gas Each Month?
- How Much Can You Save on Gas with a 40 MPG Car?
- The MPG Calculator
- Does a New High Gas Mileage Vehicle Make Sense?
- New Gas Mileage Standard:
54.5 MPG by 2025
- Mini Cooper Gas Mileage: 2002 – 2013