How to Improve Fuel Efficiency
It may seem like wasting gasoline is an unavoidable part of driving, but there are ways you can improve your car’s fuel efficiency.
Our blog, originally published in 2017 and updated in 2020 to reflect technical and industry changes, explores the steps you can take to keep driving while bringing down your gas budget.
Get rid of your lead foot
The absolute best method for improving fuel efficiency is to watch your speed and not drive aggressively. This includes speeding and rapid acceleration and braking. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, getting rid of your lead foot can save you gas mileage anywhere from 10-40% depending on if you’re driving on the highway or in traffic, as well as the kind of vehicle you drive. Your vehicle also has a speed where it uses the optimal amount of fuel, and in most vehicles, that speed is 50 mph.
Avoid excessive idling
You may think that sitting in your car while parked doesn’t use gas, but it does. The fuel consumption isn’t as high as when you’re driving, sure, but it still uses gas nonetheless. So, if you’re parked for a few minutes, we recommend you shut off the engine. Trust us, your wallet will thank you by the end of the day (or week).
Pro-Tip: If you do shut off your engine while waiting in your car, don’t listen to the radio. When the engine is off, the battery isn’t charging and may die after a while!
Keep your car maintained
Servicing your car regularly is great for both your engine and your fuel efficiency. When all parts of your engine work as intended, your car will run smoothly. When your car runs smoothly, you’ll use gasoline more efficiently. And this includes every part of your car, so if you hear any weird sounds (like clanking or banging) or your check engine light comes on, be sure to check it out at your local Christian Brothers Automotive! Spending a bit on servicing will save you in the long run.
Maintain your tire pressure
When your vehicle’s tire is properly inflated, the vehicle moves much more smoothly and efficiently. In contrast, an underinflated tire requires more work to propel forward. Thus, not only is maintaining tire pressure good for your tires, but it’s good for your gas mileage too.
You can find your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure in the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s door. For most cars, this level will be around 30 PSI, but be sure to check your manual in case yours is closer to 40. Check out one of our previous blogs on when and how to check tire pressure.
Lighten your load
It may seem like a negligible change, but less weight inside the car equals better fuel efficiency. This is for the same reason that maintaining your vehicle helps gas mileage—less weight means less work the vehicle has to do to move forward.
It also helps if you avoid hauling items on the roof of your car. Sometimes using a cargo box on top of your vehicle is unavoidable (during a move or while camping, for example), but just remember to take it off when you’re done. Not only does the extra weight make your vehicle work harder, but storage containers increase aerodynamic drag, another cursed force that hurts fuel efficiency.
Combine trips or Carpool
This is an excellent way to improve fuel efficiency because you can’t waste gasoline if you don’t drive! Just be sure to share the other tips with the driver so that they can improve their fuel efficiency.
And if you’re planning on taking a road trip, these tips will be especially helpful! Be sure to check out one of our other blogs about road trip hacks and smartphone apps!
Looking to service your car to help improve fuel efficiency? Make an appointment with your local Christian Brothers Automotive, and we’ll have your car in tip-top shape!