Ten ways to improve your gas mileage

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5 min read

Just when you thought the price of gas couldn’t get any higher, a new record gets broken. The cost per gallon is soaring right now. In May 2022, the price of gas in California surpassed $6.00 for the first time —and prices aren’t coming down anytime soon.

Since the latest surge started,it’s been a rocky period for sure. Working families, delivery guys, road trippers…anyone who needs to keep their motor rolling is feeling the pinch. You don’t need us to tell you that these days, every MPG counts. And if you can squeeze a bit more mileage out of your vehicle it can make a big impact on your budget.

But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a ton of things you can do to improve the gas mileage of your car. These tips are quick, cheap, and easy and (if you’re anything like us) you’ll wish you knew about them years ago…

drive smart, drive steady

When you’re on the road aim to drive smoothly with gentle acceleration and braking. Slamming down the pedal and screeching to a halt moments later really burns through the gas. It can lower your fuel efficiency by anywhere from 10-40%. It pays to play it cool.

lighten up

It seems obvious, right? But lugging a whole load of junk around when you drive is really gonna slow you down. If you want to improve your mileage, get rid of any excess weight in your vehicle. It’s time to clear out the trunk.

check the pressure

The US Department of Energy really wants you to check your tires. That’s because cars driving with tires at 50% of the recommended pressure use 5-10% more fuel. Want to save money? Pump up those tires.

go slow

Racing to your destination doesn’t necessarily save gas. At faster speeds, aerodynamic drag increases rapidly. It can vary from car-to-car but on average gas mileage decreases at speeds over 50mph. Think of it like paying $0.30 extra per gallon for every 5pmh you drive over 50mph. If you spend a lot of time on highways, reducing your speed could save you hundreds of dollars on gas each year.

be aerodynamic

Still carrying around a cargo box from last summer’s camping trip? Bad idea. Hauling around cargo on the roof of your vehicle can reduce fuel economy by 2-8% in the city and 10-25% on highways So don’t do it unless you really need to. And if you can, carry cargo on racks in the back instead.

spark up

Bad spark plugs bite when it comes to fuel economy. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence estimates it could cause a 30% reduction in efficiency. And the older they get the more likely the plugs are to misfire, so don’t sit on it. Replace them early and pocket the savings.

the air con conundrum

There’s more than one way to play it cool. That’s because air conditioning can be both good or bad for your fuel economy depending on the situation. AC needs energy to run and can cost you up to 25% in fuel consumption on a journey. The cheap alternative is rolling down the windows BUT if you’re driving at highway speeds, this can increase drag and outweigh the benefits. A good guideline is to avoid using AC if you’re driving at slower speeds, or on short trips. If you’re speeding down the highway, go forth and fire up the AC. Driving for 5 minutes with the windows down to let the car cool down a bit before you hit the AC button makes a difference too—it puts less demand on the AC and will get your cabin cool much more quickly.

use the right oil!

Who’da thunk it? Using the recommended grade of motor oil for your car can improve your mileage by 1-2%. Look for motor oil that says “energy conserving” on the API symbol—it means the fuel contains friction reducing additives, and yep, you guessed it, will help reduce your fuel consumption.

turn off your car

Stuck in traffic? Idling at the lights? Waiting for a pickup? Try not to think about turning off your car as accepting defeat. Instead, think of it as a money-saving moment. Idling can burn through up to half a gallon of fuel an hour. So if you expect to be waiting for more than 10 seconds and it’s safe to do so…you know what to do. Newer cars often include “stop-start” systems that automatically turn off the engine while stopped and start back up once you hit the gas.

get a more efficient car

Truth is, if you drive an old gas guzzler, then there’s only so much you can do to bring down the fuel costs. Now that fuel prices are high, (and used car prices are super high too) you might be thinking about trading in your old ride for a more efficient car, or going electric. If you’re thinking now’s the time to sell my car, and want to get some quick cash towards an upgrade, Peddle will make you an offer in minutes. However old your car is—and whatever the MPG—we’d love to buy it from you.