Guest Post: How to Get the Most Out of Your Gas Mileage

It’s always an exciting day when you pull up to the local gas station and notice that yesterday the price of fuel was five cents higher than today. You might feel pretty smug, give the pump a smirk behind dark sunglasses as you start to fill up and congratulate yourself for strategic gas usage.

Yet there are a number of ways, beyond waiting that extra day to fill up again (although playing “Can I Get From Point A to Point B On This Much Gas?” is always an exciting game), that you, as a responsible and in-the-know motorist, can get the most mileage out of your gas tank every single day and save yourself a few extra trips to the pump each month.

With the gorgeous summer months here and ideal traveling conditions for the highway adventurer, doing right by your car will lead to a mutually satisfactory arrangement on road trips to come with limited stops along the way.


Car Maintenance Is The Key


You should be keeping your car in tip-top condition anyway, but if you want to save money in the long run – and you do – heed those dates written down on the stickers that get slapped onto your windshield. This means staying current and up-to-date on oil and other fluid changes, car inspection and tire pressure (keeping your tires properly inflated can end up saving you as much as 11 cents per gallon in the long run!) If you have a newer car, there’s a good chance your dashboard will alert you when something requires attention, but no one would be remiss in keeping track manually. Put it on your calendar or set a reminder on your smart phone.


Own an Efficient Vehicle


This might go without saying, but sometimes you need a push in the right direction. If you’re driving an older car or truck that does poorly in terms of gas mileage, there’s a chance you’re better off trading it in for something better. But before you make such a big decision, consider a few factors: how many miles you drive, the price of fuel in your area and the fuel economy of both vehicles, old and new. If it turns out you don’t save that much, then stick with what you have and make smaller adjustments to improve mileage. If the savings end up being substantial, then you have a lot more to consider in your future. In that vein, before you up and buy a $20,000 hybrid (which is on the lowest possible end, price-wise), consider that studies have shown it can take years before a hybrid saves the buyer enough money to compensate for the more expensive price tag.


Don’t Drive 2 Fast or 2 Furious


All the behaviors that make you feel as if you’re Paul Walker in a Skyline GT-R – aggressive acceleration, speeding and sudden braking – are making your Honda weep. And it’s weeping tears of gasoline. The folks at www.fueleconomy.gov suggest that this kind of driving can cost you 33 percent of your fuel efficiency on the highway and five percent in your city or town. Wasting money to look cool? Granted, it’s probably not the first time for anybody, but this is one change you can make now to keep your wallet fuller and the roads safer for everyone.


Mend Your Weights


You might have heard before that the heavier your car the less fuel efficient it will be. It’s not only true, it’s amendable. In simple scientific terms, the heavier an object the more energy that’s required to propel it forward. Extra weight in your vehicle means the engine has to work that much harder, while every added 100 lbs. in your car can cause a decrease of two percent in gas mileage. To offset this, in every day driving, don’t let heavy equipment or boxes linger in your trunk; remove your bike rack if you’re not using it on a daily basis.


On longer trips you should attempt to pack as lightly as possible, limiting each family member to one suitcase of the smallest size they can manage. Your wife and daughter probably don’t need 10 pairs of shoes each for a week at the beach, right? If you’re staying somewhere that offers washer and dryer amenities, take advantage of that and cut down the number of shirts and shorts in everyone’s suitcases. Keeping your vehicle updated with new parts will save you money and time as well, replacing something as simple as a tail light, will save you time and money.


This post was written and contributed by Edson Farnell. Edson writes about various automotive topics. Many of Edson’s friends refer to him as the Auto Parts Geek.


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