Just Filled Up? Here Are 7 Ways to Get the Most Mileage From Your Tank
Mohammad Ali might as well have been talking about fuel economy when he said "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Because when it comes to making every gallon count in your gas tank, execution is key. The process is called hypermiling, meaning to alter your driving habits in the name of higher fuel economy. Crazy word, easy to execute. Here are some easy ways how:
1. Keep it Parked
What's the best way to save gas? Not to burn it, of course!
We're not going to tell you that taking the bus or a bicycle is the way to go (come on, we're car people!), but it would help to take fewer trips and consolidate errands throughout the week. The reality is that short trips kill your fuel economy, and driving smarter helps fuel economy and your wallet.
2. Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Before we get into this point, a couple quick questions:
- Do you know where your ideal tire inflation info is located?
- Do you have a tire pressure gauge in your glove box?
If you answered "no" to one or both of those questions, this point is especially important. The fact is most tires are underinflated, and underinflated tires have a direct correlation to poor fuel economy. We recommend purchasing a digital pressure gauge to monitor your vehicle's tires every time you fill up. Though not necessary, a portable air compressor that plugs into your car's 12v plug can be a lifesaver when you don't have quarters for the gas station system.
3. Cruise Control
Cruise control is a great tool to utilize during long highway drives, and using it effectively will help you reach maximum MPGs. However, it's best used during long, flat stretches of road. So if you're traveling through hilly terrain for hours at a time, cruise control can actually do more harm than good when it comes to fuel economy.
4. Extra Weight
Quick physics lesson: More energy is required to pull more weight. That said, the more junk in your trunk, the more fuel your car's going to burn. Do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes taking all the extra items out of your car. It's even estimated that fuel economy increases by 1% for every 100lbs less your car weighs!
5. Be Like Grandpa
No, we're not talking about dressing like your grandpa (no offense to any of the fashionable seniors out there), but driving like one. It turns out that 90% of hypermiling is all about driving slowly and efficiently - use these tips to help you get there:
- Coast when you can
- Keep a personal speed limit of 55 mph. Fuel economy falls the faster you go!
- Stick to the right lane - it'll keep you from speeding!
- Keep RPMs less than 3,000
6. Track Your Fuel
Whether using a smartphone app or tried and true pen and paper, tracking your own fuel economy is a great way to see exactly how much gas you're using. Plus, you'll notice trends like decreases in fuel economy that may be indicative of other maintenance issues.
7. Don't Coast in Neutral
Do you have a manual transmission? If so, then it might be rather tempting to coast in neutral. Yeah, it kind of makes sense, but in actuality you're burning more fuel by doing so. When in neutral, your engine is still idling, and therefor burning gas. For maximum fuel economy, stay in gear and let your car's wheels turn the engine, since no gas is used when the wheels are connected to the crank.
Want To Learn More?
These are quick tips that you can utilize today to save gas, save money, and drive further. But if you really want to take it to the next level, hypermiling accessories like low-rolling resistance tires, aerodynamic add-ons and interior changes will help you get on your way.