Keep Bucks in Your Pocket at the PumpWhen mass transit isn’t an option, drivers have many ways to save money by coaxing more miles per gallon (mpg) from their vehicle. It’s easy to adopt some simple driving and maintenance habits.
Slow down. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), driving at 55 mph instead of 65 mph can improve gas mileage by as much as 15 percent.
Reduce excess weight. An extra 100 pounds of nonessential cargo in a vehicle could reduce mpg by up to 2 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Properly inflate tires. The increased surface area of the rubber in soft tires meeting the road creates ongoing drag and a greater demand on the engine.
Keep the engine tuned. Regularly check and refresh fluid levels, especially in colder regions where winter places additional stress on engine parts. While high-quality synthetic motor oil blends may protect the engine better than conventional oil, they don’t eliminate the need for regular oil changes, according to JiffyLube.com. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence notes that one misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 30 percent.
Avoid rapid accelerations and braking. The EPA estimates that about half of the energy needed to power a car is consumed during acceleration, and fuel economy can be improved by as much as 10 percent by avoiding unnecessary braking.
Keep the engine air filter clean. According to AAA.com, a clogged filter strains performance. In some cars, the filter can be easily checked by the owner; or drivers may ask a technician to do so during regular tune-ups.