Reduce drag and remove excess weight. Vehicle drag increases when you use roof- or rear-mounted racks, carrying heavy loads, and driving with open windows at high speeds can cut down your gas efficiency by as much as 2.6 percent, according to FuelEconomy.gov, a joint website produced by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Gas efficiency can be decreased by as much as 3 percent if your tires are under-inflated. By checking your tires for proper pressure every two weeks, you can save an estimated 9 cents per gallon.
Be judicious in your use of the vehicle’s air conditioner. Your air conditioner can sap between 10 and 20 percent of your gas efficiency.
Video: 7 Ways to Save on Gas
Proper maintenance is necessary to maintain top fuel efficiency. This includes:
Keeping your engine properly tuned. This can improve your efficiency as much as 4.1 percent, with an estimated gas savings of 12 cents per gallon.
Repairing a major maintenance problem such as a broken oxygen sensor. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services checklist, this can improve your gas efficiency by up to 40 percent.
Replace faulty air filters. You can increase your fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent by checking and replacing a clogged filter, with estimated gas savings of 29 cents per gallon.
In addition, you can save gas by minimizing the amount of time your car spends idling. Since idling gets zero miles to the gallon, it can be a significant drag on your fuel efficiency – to the tune of 14 percent, according to Global Stewards. In winter, keep warm-up time to a minimum; not only does this reduce idling, but your car warms up more efficiently while in operation.
If you’re trying to figure out which type of gas to use, keep in mind that super unleaded is formulated for greater fuel efficiency. However, you’ll pay more at the pump for super than for regular unleaded, so you’ll have to do your own calculations as to whether this is a worthwhile expense.
Finding the Cheapest Gas
The internet offers a powerful resource when looking for the lowest gas prices in your area. Using your search engine of choice, plug in terms such as “cheap gas prices” or “lowest gas prices”, along with the name of your city. Here are a few of those sites: