Unless you’re one of those people out there who enjoy the smell of gasoline (or diesel), there’s generally nothing ‘enjoyable’ about having to fill up your tank. To take some of the edge off your weekly trip to the gas station (financially), we suggest making these small changes:
Keep up with Engine Maintenance
Taking care of your engine should be at the forefront of your plan to becoming more fuel efficient. The hotter your engine gets, the faster it’s going to burn up gas and the worse off your engine will be. Make sure you’re getting your oil changed as scheduled to remove buildup and keep your engine’s parts lubricated.
Another part of your car that requires maintenance for fuel efficiency is the air filter. Your car’s air filter keeps dirt, dust, insects, and any other debris from entering your engine’s cylinders. Changing or cleaning your air filter once a year or every 15,000 to 30,000 miles is best for your car. This ensures that your engine doesn’t have to work as hard to get air and perform basic functions such as acceleration.
Pay Attention to Your Tires
Keeping your tires properly inflated makes your tires last longer and is much safer than driving with underinflated tires. In addition to this, correctly inflated tires increase fuel efficiency whereas underinflated tires, you guessed it, decrease fuel efficiency. Your vehicle’s tire pressure is usually going to be around 30-35 psi on each tire. It is estimated that for every 1 psi you lose on all 4 tires, you lose about 0.2% in mileage on the same amount of gas. On the other hand, when your tires are properly inflated you can increase your mileage by 0.6% to 3%. A fraction of a percent is not a lot, but if you’re driving every day for 10 years, the cost of poorly inflated tires can add up.
To find out your car’s recommended tire pressure, check your vehicle owner’s manual, or look for a sticker on the driver’s side door or trunk lid. To avoid damage to your tires, always use the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, and never the maximum.
Follow Gas Prices
Most drivers have experienced 1 of 2 annoyances when it comes to fueling up; either they fill up their tank and see a cheaper price down the road, or they don’t fill up and see that gas prices have gone up overnight and they’re forced to pay more. Both are annoying, especially when prices are high.
To avoid overpaying for gas, install an app on your mobile device that can help you find where the cheapest gas prices are in your location.
To avoid the latter issue, consider filling up your tank mid-week (Tuesday – Thursday) as gas prices are known to go up on weekends. Gas prices are also known to surge before and during long weekends because the demand for fuel is higher. Get in before the gasoline rush to save money on each tank.
Commuters often fall into the routine of taking the same route every day no matter the traffic conditions. This may not be the most fuel efficient way to get from A to B. By investing in a free mobile app like Waze, you can get the most up to date traffic information for your commute and spend less time idling in traffic.
If you have a built-in navigation system in your vehicle or have an external GPS on your dashboard, it’s important that you check for updates regularly. Roads change and new ones are paved, businesses move or close, and new traffic lights or signs are installed; these things can impact how long it takes to you to arrive at your destination. Oftentimes, longer side routes with less stop and go are more fuel efficient than taking the highway in traffic. Regularly updating your maps will improve your navigation system’s ability to plan the best route.
Making your car fuel efficient is a great way to cut down on your monthly expenses. The 4 tips above are ones we thought might be helpful to bring to the forefront of your mind. Tried and true tactics like using cruise control on long flat roads or reducing time spent idling by turning off your car when possible will always help you get the most out of every gallon.
Have any additional tips on how to save on gas? Share them below.