1. Keep your tires properly inflated.
Buy a quality tire gauge and check the pressure of your tires before you start…. remember to check while they’re cold and do it at least once a month. When your tires are under-inflated, they require much more horsepower to rotate, thus consuming more gas. Most cars have a label that lists proper tire pressure, usually on a plate attached to the driver’s door. Your owner’s manual has the original tire specifications and required inflation pressures also, as long as you haven’t changed tire sizes, these are the numbers you want to target.
2. Lighten up your load by not hauling anything around with you that isn’t necessary.
Check your trunk, glove box and front and back seats for belongings that you really don’t need on a permanent basis. This won’t save you a fortune (unless you have a habit of driving with the full trunk all the time) – but with gas prices headed closer to the $4.00 mark, it does save enough to consider an automotive clean out, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
3. Do you need to do a tune-up?
Maybe not. You will never recover the cost of a tune-up in fuel savings. However, you should do regular maintenance, not only for gas saving, but also for performance and reliability.
4. Do you need to inflate your tires up to the numbers shown on a tire sidewall?
No… Tire maker stamps *maximum allowed* pressure there. Only your car maker knows what pressure is right for your car. And it is always lower than “maximum allowed”. Even though over-inflating your tires will improve your gas mileage, there are a number of major downsides. With over-inflated tires, you will experience much faster tread wear in the middle of your tires. That extra wear will have you buying new set of tires much earlier than you might expect. The cost of new tires will wipe out any savings you might otherwise realize from gas savings. Also, over-inflating your tires makes them much harder and will cause a very uncomfortable ride… rough and bumpy. Finally, if you over inflate your tires, you’ll have worse traction, significantly impairing your safety. Marginal savings (if any at all) will not compensate for the significant loss in safety and comfort.
5. Do you need to quit using A/C?
Not really. If you drive at highway speeds with your windows open, aerodynamic drag will consume more gas than A/C. At lower speeds you may want to open your windows and turn the compressor off, at higher speeds, use the A/C. It’s time to close the windows at 50-55 mph for most cars.
6. Do not fill your tank up completely.
Instead, keep it half full. Depending on your tank size, your car will have 50-100 pounds less to haul all the time… less weight, less gas.
7. Fill your tank at the coolest time of day.
Fuel is denser when it’s cool in the early morning or late night.. Your engine consumes fuel by weight but gas pumps dispense fuel by volume. The colder the fuel is when you pump it, the more of it you get for the same money.
8. Try not to stomp on the gas anymore than you need to.
Aggressive acceleration equals maximum gas consumption. The slower you accelerate, the better your gas mileage will be. On the other hand, if you creep along like a snail, the drivers behind you will get mad. Experiment with how little “pedal” your car needs to move at a reasonable traffic speed and save your gas.
9. Likewise, try not to slam on your brakes.
The more you brake, the more you have to accelerate afterwards, and that costs money. Accelerate smoothly and brake soothly. Ideally you want to accelerate once, and then drive at a constant speed until you arrive at your destination. There are too many moving pieces to get stopping and starting patterns right every time, but the closer you get to constant speeds, the more gas you will save.
10. Try finding a debit or credit card that offers rebates on gas purchases,
Use it for all your fuel purchases and guarantee yourself an automatic savings.