3 Ways to Increase your Car’s Fuel Economy

31 May 2012

With gas prices expected to continue to soar this summer, everyone is feeling some pain at the pump. Gas prices out here in western Canada have skyrocketed to almost $1.50 per litre and people are feeling the gas pinch.

Therefore, implementing good habits now to increase your car’s fuel economy would pay off in the summer when gas prices are high.

1. Check your Tires

Check your tires on a set day every month (maybe make it the first Monday of the month so you remember) to ensure that they are at the proper inflation.

Tires that are not properly inflated can make you lose as much as 3.3% from your fuel economy (FuelEconomy.gov). According to this source, under-inflated pressure can make you use as much as 0.03% of fuel economy for every 1 PSI in pressure in each tire.

How do you know how much to inflate your tires to?

It’s located in the driver side door (on the actual door jamb) and the minimum and maximum PSI inflation should be written clearly there.

An extra tip, make sure you go to a gas station that provides free air instead of charging for it. Shell gas stations are known to consistently provide air free of charge.

2. Make sure you don’t drive like an a**hole

Stopping and accelerating rapidly (otherwise known as “jack rabbit” driving) can increase the fuel your car burns by as much as 40% (Eartheasy.com). Not only does this way of driving cause you to wear out your brakes faster, it also wastes your precious gas.

Instead of tailgating everyone and being in a hurry to go places, try slowing down, driving at a cruising speed (better yet, use cruise control if you are on the highway) and chill out.

Not only will you piss fewer people off with your driving, you will also save more money by not having to fill up your gasoline tank as often.

3. Use the Right Motor Oil for Your Car

The US Department of Energy recommends that you use the proper motor oil for your car when you perform your oil changes.

If you use the recommended grade of motor oil that your car manufacturer recommends, you can save as much as 1-2% in fuel economy. This is because the viscosity of the oil the car needs varies between car to car. If the oil is more viscous that your car usually needs, it causes the engine parts to work harder. I know that 1-2% savings in fuel economy doesn’t seem like much but when you fill up the gas tank weekly, these costs certainly add up over time.

The best way to increase fuel economy?

The best way to increase fuel economy is to lump your trips together geographically so that you have to use the car as little as possible.

Better yet, skip the car altogether and take transit, walk, or bike to your destination. I know this is not feasible for many, especially if transit services are not great where you live. But just running your errands while you are getting off work (if you work near grocery stores, etc.) will save you time and gas money to spend with or on your loved ones, at the weekends.

Bargainmoosers, what ways do you like to save on gas?

(Image credits: epSos.de, timo_w2s, Alan Cleaver)

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