Improving Fuel Efficiency

We are providing tips on how to improve your fuel efficiencyHigher fuel costs have many people worried about the price at the pump. We cannot lower fuel prices, but we can give you some tips to improve fuel efficiency. Changing your driving habits can help you save on fuel. Not every tip will work for every driver, but using one or more of them can help you get more miles per gallon.

Proven Fuel Efficiency Tips

Higher fuel costs have many people worried about the price at the pump. We cannot lower fuel prices, but we can give you some tips to improve fuel efficiency. Changing your driving habits can help you save on fuel. Not every tip will work for every driver, but using one or more of them can help you get more miles per gallon.    

Check your tire pressure. You get the best mileage out of properly inflated tires. It can raise your mileage by up to 3%. Underinflated tires lower gas mileage. That is especially important in winter when dropping temperatures can drop the psi in your tires overnight!

Warm up your engine. Speaking of cold temperatures, cold engines take more energy to operate. If you want to save fuel, start the engine and drive it to warm it up before freeway or other high-speed chases. 

Plan your trips in advance. If you are running errands, plan the order to minimize the total amount of driving you have to do. 

Think about the vehicle you are driving. Many of us live in multi-vehicle households. Pick the most fuel-efficient vehicle for the task that you have chosen. Instead of taking the big SUV to run errands, take a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. You may also want to think about switching vehicles while fuel prices are high and using the most fuel-efficient vehicle for commuting.

Think about vehicle weight. Are you carting unnecessary stuff around with you? If so, think about removing it from the vehicle to increase your fuel efficiency. That is more helpful with smaller vehicles, where additional weight can increase the car’s weight. However, if you drive a pickup truck with a loaded toolbox, you could add hundreds of pounds to your vehicle. Unless you need daily access to those tools, consider removing them for your daily driving.

If you are in the market for a new car, consider a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Electric vehicles can be intimidating for people because they take a long to recharge. Plug-in hybrid cars offer similar fuel savings while still giving you the freedom to road trip. Many plug-in hybrids can handle all of your daily driving without using any fuel. While they have higher price tags than non-hybrid versions of the exact vehicle, tax rebates for the cars often have the same real-life price. 

Check your alignment. Improperly aligned tires can tank your fuel economy. Fix your alignment and while you are at it, have your tires balanced and rotated.

Avoid rapid starts and stops. Stop-and-go traffic is already brutal on fuel efficiency. Still, fast starts and stops can lower your fuel efficiency by up to 40%.

Avoid stoplights when possible. If traffic conditions permit, you can time your speed to hit lights when they are green, avoiding idling.

Shift smartly. If your car has a manual transmission, you want to shift as soon as possible to keep your RPMs low. That will slow down your acceleration but increase your fuel efficiency.

Will you be on toll roads? Make sure you have your EZ Pass. Are you traveling in Texas? There are different toll tags for different roads. Look them up ahead of time to see if you have the correct tags. The stop-and-go traffic in toll lanes, especially in high-traffic times, can waste lots of fuel. 

Avoid speeding. You get your best fuel economy at around 50mph for most vehicles. Highway speeds were initially reduced to 55mph to improve safety and conserve fuel. While many of our Texas roads have higher speed limits, staying close to 50mph can improve your fuel efficiency. While you do not want to go under the speed limit because that can be dangerous, avoid speeding to conserve fuel. 

Do your best to avoid idling. If you are going to stop for more than a minute, it takes less fuel to turn your car off and then on again than it does to idle.   

Use the right fuel. Many people mistakenly believe that using a higher octane fuel than their vehicle requires will improve performance. That is not true. Use the octane level recommended for your car. That will not necessarily improve your gas mileage, but it will keep your engine running as designed. It can also reduce fuel costs for people who have been unnecessarily using higher octane fuels. 

Use cruise control. Cruise control helps you maintain a consistent speed—the more consistent your speed, the better your gas mileage. Of course, keep safety in mind when using cruise control. It may not be practical in city traffic or if you are driving in bad weather.

Avoid rush hour traffic. Suppose you have the flexibility to avoid driving during the highest traffic times. In that case, you will save time and fuel by driving at other times, instead.

Keep your car at the right temperature. If you are heading to a cold-weather place, use a block heater to keep your engine warm. Here in Houston, when it is warm, you should try to park in the shade to lower the demands on your car’s air conditioner.

Keep your car well maintained. Maintenance keeps your vehicle operating as intended, which improves your fuel efficiency. You also want to use whatever oil the manufacturer recommends for your car. 

Check your engine air filter. Dirty air filters can reduce your fuel economy. That is especially important for older cars that use carburetors. 

Change your spark plugs. If you have noticed a drop in your fuel economy, it could be because of bad spark plugs. Change them, and you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 30%.

Minimize your use of the air conditioning. Turning off the air conditioning and rolling down the windows will save fuel when the weather permits. Of course, you need to keep driver comfort in mind.

Consider aerodynamics. Using rooftop luggage carriers, carrying bicycles on the car’s exterior, or adding other exterior elements increases the car’s drag and decreases fuel efficiency.

We know not every tip is practical for every driver. However, the more tips you incorporate, the more you can improve fuel efficiency. Using them all, you may be able to increase fuel efficiency by up to 25%.