• Check your tires regularly and fill up when prices are low to maximize fuel efficiency.
• Get regular maintenance such as changing air filters, oxygen sensors, spark plugs, and oil.
• Drive smartly by avoiding speeding and sudden stops to ensure that your car is running at peak efficiency.
• Plan ahead to avoid traffic jams and use cruise control when possible to maintain a constant speed.
Gasoline prices are fluctuating wildly. About a year ago, the cost of a gallon of gas hit levels that hadn’t been seen in years. To make matters worse, most people had to change their driving habits due to the coronavirus pandemic. These two factors have put a strain on many people’s budgets. But one thing is sure—driving an inefficient car will cost you more money at the pump. Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to maximize your fuel economy and save some cash in the process.
Here’s what you need to know about getting the most out of your vehicle.
1. Check Your Tire Pressure
Under-inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 6%. They also cause your car to work harder, causing tires to wear out faster. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and use the recommended pressure listed in your owner’s manual or on the tire itself. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your car on a placard inside the driver’s side door or in your owner’s manual.
2. Be Smart When Refilling Your Tank
Fill up your tank when prices are lower. Gas prices are higher during peak hours, so try filling up during off-peak times. If you can, fill up at stations offering discount programs or loyalty rewards to get the best deal. This can be a great way to save money over time.
Some car owners also use auxiliary tanks to store extra gasoline and refill during low-cost times. There are also models for diesel vehicles. Diesel transfer fuel tanks let you store extra fuel in the trunk or truck bed and fill it up whenever possible. This can help you save on fuel costs as it enables you to refill only when the tank is almost empty or when the fuel prices are low.
3. Keep Up With Maintenance
Regular maintenance is critical to maximizing fuel economy. Your vehicle must run properly for it to be fuel efficient. Bring your car to your local automotive shop for the following maintenance tasks:
a. Change the air filter
This is one of the essential maintenance tasks, as a dirty filter can reduce fuel efficiency by up to 10%. Some filters may need to be changed as often as every 15,000 miles.
b. Check the oxygen sensors
Oxygen (O2) sensors ensure the air-fuel ratio is correct for maximum fuel efficiency. When these become malfunctioning, your car will consume more fuel. You should have them checked at least every 60,000 miles.
c. Replace spark plugs
Spark plugs are essential to efficient combustion and should be replaced every 30,000 miles. Use the same type of spark plugs as originally installed in your car. This will help ensure optimal performance.
d. Check the tune-up
Having a professional mechanic check your car’s tune-up can benefit your fuel economy. A tune-up will ensure the engine is running correctly and help you save on fuel costs in the long run.
e. Change oil and filters
Changing your oil regularly is essential to the longevity and efficiency of your engine. Regular oil changes will help reduce friction, leading to improved fuel economy.
4. Drive Smartly (and Don’t Speed)
Speeding wastes gas—the faster you go, the more fuel you use. Try not to accelerate too quickly; instead, accelerate gradually and avoid sudden stops whenever possible. Remember that traffic jams waste gas, too—so plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time, so you don’t feel rushed when driving around town. You can also use cruise control to maintain a steady speed and help save fuel.
Of course, you must also follow the rules of the road and abide by speed limits. Speeding tickets are expensive—and can cost more than any fuel savings you achieve. Many states also have fines for drivers who are driving aggressively or recklessly. You should never try to save fuel at the expense of your safety or other drivers.
Maximizing your fuel economy doesn’t have to be complicated. Just take some basic steps to keep your car running smoothly and drive smartly, and you’ll be rewarded with better gas mileage (and lower bills at the pump!). Even if gasoline prices are unpredictable, following these tips will help ensure that you get more miles per gallon out of every tankful of gas.