Quick Money Tip: Drive Efficiently + Save Money on Fuel
Even at their lowest, fuel prices are outrageous. And if you live in rural Midwest country, you can’t just ditch the car and walk, bike, or take public transport everywhere (how nice it would be.) Alas, fueling up your gas tank and hitting the road must go on. But wait! You can improve your gas mileage by driving more efficiently and, in turn, save lots of money (not only in what you spend on fuel, but in car maintenance fees and fixes, too.)
Reduce Excess Weight
First off, lighten up! Clear out any excess weight you might be hauling around with you – more specifically, in the trunk. Especially if your car has front wheel drive, that extra, heavy weight in the back can cause the vehicle's tires and engine to have to work harder in order to get things moving - which, in turn, burns more fuel.
Properly Inflate Tires
Make sure your tires are not under – or over - inflated. If they don't have enough air, the engine has to use more gas to keep the car rolling along. Find out what your car's tires' PSI – or air pressure – needs to be by looking it up in your owner's manual (it’s likely also listed on a sticker on the side of your driver's side door.)
Replace Air Filter + Spark Plugs
Keep these pieces in tip-top shape to ensure the health of your car. Replacing them is something you can do yourself or have done at your standard car check-up. The investment is well worth making, as having not only allow fuel to burn more efficiently, but also help your engine last longer.
Use the Right Motor Oil
Each car engine is different. You can't just dump any old oil into yours and expect it to work like it's supposed to. Use an oil that's too heavy, and it'll likely cause friction and stress on the engine - which results in excessive fuel burning. Make sure you use the oil recommended for your vehicle and engine's particular make and model. This information can be found in your owner's manual.
Check Your Gas Cap Seal
The rubber part of your gas cap seal will actually begin to break down over time. This causes oxygen to get into the fuel tank, which leads to too much air entering the engine, and your car burns more fuel as a result. Try to replace yours every few years for better fuel efficiency.
Drive at the Speed Limit or Below
Longer trips and highway driving is better for your vehicle and its gas mileage, but speeds above 60 MPH actually cause most cars to burn gas less effectively. Do your best to stick to speed limits and you'll not only save money on fuel, but save yourself from potential speeding tickets, too!
Coast to Stop Signs + Red Lights
Any instance in which you know you'll need to decelerate soon (you see the light turn yellow, you're veering onto an exit ramp, you spot a large bend in the road coming up), remove your foot from the gas pedal and coast your way to (or through) it. Putting the pedal to the metal just to make it through the yellow light or braking really hard while rounding a curve isn't good for gas mileage and it's not good for your engine or brakes, either.
Use Cruise Control
Speeding up and slowing down, or keeping up with the speed of fellow travelers on the interstate, can cause you to lose gas mileage. Set your cruise control and you'll reduce the need to accelerate and brake too much, and it'll help you to stay at a legal, safe, and gas-efficient speed.