Top 12 Fuel-Saving Tips to Improve Your Car’s Gas Economy (Plus, the Best Apps to Find Cheap Gas Near You)
June 27, 2018
How to improve fuel efficiency and increase gas mileage
How can you use less gas when driving? Where can you find the cheapest fuel near you?
Two of the best ways to improve your fuel economy and save money on gas, unless you want to invest in a more fuel-efficient vehicle, are to make a few changes to your personal driving habits and keep on top of simple vehicle maintenance.
What about finding the cheapest fuel near you? Mobile fuel apps like GasBuddy and Waze can help you locate gas stations near you and allow you to apply filters based on such factors as distance from your location, price, and grade (or type) of gas.
12 tips on how to use less gas when driving
- Make fewer trips. While obvious, the best way to use less gas is to drive less. Combining your errands into one trip can save you time and money.
- Make your car more aerodynamic. The coefficient of drag (Cd) is how easily a vehicle moves through the air. Reducing the drag of a vehicle can help improve fuel economy. While the majority of Cd is attributable to vehicle design and engineering, you can make your vehicle more aerodynamic (and save on gas) by reducing wind resistance:
- Close the windows and sunroof when driving at higher speeds
- Remove the roof rack or ski rack
- Don’t carry around unnecessary weight
- Drive the speed limit. While optimal speed/fuel efficiency differs per vehicle, gas mileage usually decreases at speeds above 50 mph. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas.
- Accelerate smoothly and brake steadily. Aggressive driving, including suddenly speeding up or slowing down, can lower gas mileage and affect fuel economy. Sensible driving is better for your wallet and your car.
- Use cruise control. Using cruise control on the highway will keep your car at a constant speed and help save gas.
- Don’t drive in rush hour. In addition to sucking the life out of you, driving in rush hour - with all the unnecessary accelerating and braking - saps the gas from your vehicle.
- Turn the air-conditioning off. Just like the air conditioning in your house uses electricity, the AC in your vehicle uses fuel. If you don’t need it, don’t use it.
- Avoid idling. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of gas per hour. Turn off your engine if your vehicle is parked for longer than a minute: it only takes about 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle (Argonne National Laboratory).
- Maintain proper tire inflation. Under-inflation not only causes your car to burn more fuel but is one of the leading causes of tire failure. Knowing how to properly inflate your tires can save you money and improve your safety.
- Replace air filters. Cabin and engine air filters serve to trap and prevent unwanted particulates from entering your vehicle and its systems. Dirty air filters cause your engine to use more fuel and work harder than it needs to. Replace your air filters to save money on fuel and for better system efficiency.
- Replace spark plugs. Spark plugs provide the constant ignition that keeps your engine going. Faulty spark plugs can result in a rough idle, trouble starting the car, high fuel consumption, engine surging, engine misfiring, and lack of acceleration. New spark plugs can improve how your car runs and save you money on fuel.
- Check the oxygen (O2) sensor. Your vehicle’s O2 sensor monitors unburned oxygen in the exhaust. This information is then used by your car’s computer to determine whether the air-to-fuel mixture is too rich or lean and to make adjustments to the fuel mixture. Most car engines determine how much fuel to send to the engine based on the voltage of the O2 sensor. A bad or old O2 sensor will often read low (lean) and cause the engine to run rich. Replacing your oxygen sensor can help improve fuel economy and improve your vehicle’s emissions.
Find the Best Gas Prices Near You
Listed below are some of the best gas apps for finding the cheapest gas near you:
- Gas buddy: https://www.gasbuddy.com/
- Waze: https://www.waze.com/
- AAA Trip Tik Travel Planner/AAA Mobile App: http://www.aaa.com/travelinfo/maps-directions.htm
- Gas Guru: https://www.yellowpages.com/gas-guru-app
- Dash: https://dash.by/
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