Improving Fuel Efficiency

empty gas tank

When you take a moment to think about it, some of our major decisions center around our vehicles. When the price of oil is up, we tend to cut back on our travel or seek to consolidate trips as much as possible. When the price is down, we travel more and don’t think much about it; that being said, we still want to save as much money as possible.

Additionally, when it comes to purchasing a new car, we look at the estimated miles per gallon. For many of us, the higher the mileage per gallon for city and highway driving, the better we feel about purchasing the vehicle. Of course, other factors come into play when deciding to purchase a car, but mileage definitely is a consideration.

In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency worked with the Department of Transportation to come up with aggressive fuel efficiency standards for automakers; the first set of standards required automakers to produce cars that had a highway average of 35.5 miles per gallon (MPG) by 2016, which then will escalate to 55 miles per gallon by 2025.

Until we hit that golden 55 MPG, what can you do right now to improve your car’s fuel efficiency?  Here are our top three tips:

Tip #1:      Drive Responsibly.  Obey the speed limit signs. Stop putting the pedal to the metal, and give yourself enough distance between your car and the car in front of you in order to avoid constant braking.   Above 65mph your fuel efficiency starts to drop off (as much as 15%).

Tip #2:      Avoid carrying heavy items on the roof of your car to avoid an aerodynamic drag – you can save up to 15% in highway driving.

Tip #3:      Check your tire pressure. Low tire pressure will increase the resistance of the tire on the road, which reduces your fuel efficiency. Making sure that your tire pressure is good should be part of your regular maintenance. One way to remember is to check it whenever you get gas.

Tip #4:      Schedule regular tune-ups, including replacing your spark plugs at regular intervals. Changing your air filter is also important for fuel efficiency, so look to change it yearly.