Texas may be full of black gold, but that doesn’t mean you want to guzzle through all of it yourself. Why isn’t your car getting the fuel economy you expect? How can you drive more efficiently?
Maintaining proper tire pressure can improve your fuel economy by up to 10 percent. It’s a very simple fix. Each time you fill your tank, walk around the car with a pressure gauge. If your PSI doesn’t match the manufacturer’s recommendation, hit the air compressor before you leave the gas station. This will also improve your handling and prolong the life of your tires.
What’s the most efficient tire for your car? Your car probably came with the best type of tire. The manufacturer wanted your car to get the best miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating, so they shipped it with low-rolling resistance tires. The knobby aftermarket mudders you bought might not be the best choice.
Consider filling them with nitrogen. Pure nitrogen does not expand or contract as much when the temperature changes, resulting in more consistent tire pressure.
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Several simple, routine maintenance items can keep your fuel economy from sinking. Keep a clean air filter. Check your owner’s manual but use your own judgment. Visually inspect it often. It should be pale and clean. If it’s dark and speckled with debris, change it. Air filters are cheap and easy to change.
Don’t ignore a check engine light. It’s probably a bad oxygen sensor, which may cause you to lose 10 to 20 percent of your fuel economy. Use an on-board diagnostics scanner to find out what the light is about. Your auto parts store will probably let you borrow one. It could also be a problem with spark plugs or fuel injectors. Either one will cost you MPG.
Image via Flickr by eurosporttuning
Hard acceleration and braking will definitely cost you at the pump. Take it easy. Walk the car through the gears, keep a steady speed, and anticipate stops. Brake gently and avoid having to stomp the brakes. All the systems in your car will appreciate the soft touch.
Use cruise control and keep the speed limit. Every 5 miles per hour over the speed limit costs you an extra 20 to 30 cents per gallon.
Stop Using Gas
Consider driving electric. Electric cars depreciate quickly, which is bad for the first buyer but good for you. You can buy a plug-in car fresh off a three-year lease for one-third of its original price. It doesn’t have the range to take you all over the country, but how many of your trips are that long? Save money every day on your normal commute. Use your gas guzzler for the road trip, rent a car, or take a plane. Switching to electric can also save you money.
Using less fuel isn’t so tricky. Keep your car in good working order, perform routine maintenance, and be gentle with the pedals. You’ll find yourself making fewer stops at the gas station.