With gas prices soaring and the summer travel season nearly upon us, it’s the perfect time to talk about gas mileage. First off, for the newbies, we’ll explain what it is and how it’s figured out. Then, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to increase your mileage and keep you away from the pump for as long as possible. Let’s go (but let’s accelerate gradually and then coast down a hill)!
How Do They Figure out Gas Mileage?
For those of you new to the road, gas mileage is a number that tells you approximately how far your car will travel using one gallon of gas. Automakers determine their own miles per gallon (MPG) and then submit their results to the Environmental Protection Agency to confirm the mileage ratings. Most vehicles will have two ratings, one for “city” mileage and one for “highway” mileage. The city rating is commonly lower because of the rigors of urban driving, which we’ll get to in a minute.
So How Can I Get More Mileage out of my Car?
There are mountains of different variables that affect your vehicle’s gas mileage. We’ll cover the main factors, but things like your vehicle’s past driving history, the octane rating of your gas, and road conditions can affect your MPG. So if you’re squeezing out every last penny, each little bit counts. Otherwise, here are the major factors to consider when you’re concerned with gas mileage.
Assess Your Driving Style
Barring major mechanical issues, how you drive is the single biggest contributor to your gas mileage. Aggressive acceleration, hard braking, and even speeding will really eat into your mileage numbers. If you’re driving in town, try to gently accelerate from stops and avoid hard braking and turns. Try to anticipate your moves while driving and pay attention to traffic to avoid surprises that might lead to hard braking. On highways, slowing down will make a huge difference in your fuel economy. In some cases cruising at 65 instead of 75 saved almost 7 MPG. We understand that slowing 10 miles an hour on a speedy interstate may not be reasonable. But even slowing a few miles an hour will pay off at the pump down the line.
Limit the A/C
This can be a tough one, especially in the summer months. But during hot weather, a vehicle’s air conditioner is thought to burn anywhere from 1 to 4 MPG. Some strict gas mileage watchers will only use the A/C if the car is moving over 45 miles an hour. Otherwise, it’s windows down. Obviously, this is not for everyone, but paying closer attention to A/C usage can buy you some miles in the long run.
Check the Junk in Your Trunk
To put it simply, it takes more work for your vehicle to haul more stuff around. And the harder your engine has to work, the more fuel it will use. Be sure to clean out your vehicle, and your vehicle’s storage areas regularly.
An idling engine (meaning your engine is running, but you’re not moving) is a gas mileage killer. Things like heavy traffic, parking lots, and warming up your car in cold months are the targets here. We understand that some idling is unavoidable. But tricks like planning ahead to avoid traffic, parking farther away to avoid waiting in a parking lot, or letting your car warm while you drive will save you money and time!
Watch Those Tires
Keeping your tires properly inflated and wheels aligned is an easy and often overlooked way to optimize your mileage. Underinflated and misaligned tires and wheels create more friction with the road causing your vehicle’s engine to have to work just that little bit harder to keep it moving. Additionally, this will also extend the life of your tires, saving you money in two different ways!
If you’re still looking for more ways to reduce that gas bill, check out this article about “hypermilers”. Drivers who take every single step they can to save every single penny while driving. While some of their measures seem extreme, they still provide some good advice for the rest of us.
If you have any other questions about your vehicle’s gas mileage or need the best collision, glass, or dent repair in Nebraska visit our website! Or stop by any of our six Eustis Body Shop locations throughout the state.