Get Better Gas Mileage and Save Money: Five Easy Tips


Gas Prices Are Always Creeping Higher

No one but the “Big Oil” barons likes the high price of gas; everyone else likes to save money. Outside of trading in your current car for a hybrid or full-electric vehicle, which not many can afford to do, what else is left?

There are quite a few things that can help improve your mileage and keep more of your dollars in your own wallet.

1. Keep Your Car Tuned Up

A car or truck in good running order uses less gas, and uses the gas it does consume more efficiently.

If your engine is missing, if the timing is off, if the oil is dirty, if your coolant is low and the engine is running hot, those are all things that will siphon money out of your pocket.

Don’t forget to check the transmission fluid as well. If it’s low or dirty, that will affect your mileage as well. Anything from the engine out to the exhaust: the drive train as it’s called, has the potential to rob you of cash if not kept in good working order.

"Tune up" means something a bit different than it used to before the age of electronic computer-controlled engines, as the video below explains, but the principles remain the same.

(Note that this video seems to be aimed at service professionals, given that it seems to put some emphasis on making money for the shop. That aside, it's nonetheless in easy-to-understand terms.)

What is Meant by "Tune-Up"?

2. Tire Pressure is Important

Checking the air pressure in the tires is a simple task that can be done in less than 10 minutes, and is a major factor in improving MPG.

If your tires are low on air, even a little bit, they cause more drag as you roll along, and that reduces your gas mileage more than you might think.

More isn’t necessarily better, however; over-inflated tires will wear out sooner, and can be dangerous. Remember: heat causes things to expand, including air, so a tire that is over-inflated can blow out due to this expansion. Heat buildup is not only from daytime temperatures, but also from the friction of the road as you drive along.

Be sure to check the manufacturer specifications for your car to get the proper inflation. Often, the proper inflation can be found on a sticker on the inside edge of the driver’s door. Keep in mind that this applies only to the tires that came with the car, or same-type replacements. If you change to a different type or size of tire, ask the tire store about the correct inflation pressure for those tires.

Joes Racing 32307 (0-60) PSI Tire Pressure Gauge
Joes Racing 32307 (0-60) PSI Tire Pressure Gauge

Tire pressure gauge with hose extension; easiest to use if valve stem is at an awkward angle to reach.


When checking your tire pressure, it is best to do so in the cool of the morning, or late evening, after the tires have cooled. This way, you will not get a false reading indicating a higher pressure than when the tires are cold.

A simple tire gauge is easy to use, and not expensive. If you do not know how to check the pressure yourself, or are physically unable to do so, most tire shops will check and adjust your pressure for free. In fact, this is probably your best option, if you really want to save money. In these days of self-service gas stations, very few still offer air; those that do are inclined to charge money, and there is no help; you do it all yourself.

How to Check Tire Pressure

3. Don’t Play Race Cars

It sounds obvious, but bears repeating: don’t speed. Stay at the posted speed limits. The faster you go, the faster you burn through your fuel. It’s simple physics. Judging from all the people you see on the road disregarding the speed limits, I often wonder if they have a wealthy relative to buy their gas for them.

Indy Cars get less than 2 miles per gallon at the speeds they travel; you won’t come close to those speeds on public roads, but the principle holds.

The other reasons for not speeding are on the safety side of the fence; I’ll not belabor the point further than this gentle reminder: more fatal crashes happen at high speeds.

4. You’re Not on a Drag Strip

When starting up from a stop light or stop sign, accelerate evenly and slowly, getting up to speed gradually. You don’t need to ‘beat the other guy off the line.’ It’s not a drag race. Such “jack-rabbit” starts radically reduce your gas mileage by causing a huge surge of fuel to be pulled in to get you going.

Top-fuel dragsters use up nearly 23 gallons of fuel just to start up, stage, do their ‘burnouts’ and run the 1/4 mile. That’s a pretty sorry figure; you don’t want to use up fuel that fast. Again, on public roads, you won’t be doing those things (at least I hope not!), yet again, the same principles apply; tromping on the accelerator at every start equals poor MPG.

Many roads with signals are set for a certain speed; go too fast, and you'll hit every red light. Every time you need to stop and start again, you use extra gas anyway, so try to match the exact speed limit (traffic permitting), and you'll increase your mileage. How often do you see people stomping on the gas to get the jump on every one else, only to end up at the very next red light? I see it a lot, and I wouldn't want their gas bill!

(The video below is not a 'top fuel' car, but a stock car; however, the same principles apply.)

Burning up Gallons Going Nowhere

typical modern gas pumps
typical modern gas pumps | Source

5. Cool It

As we’ve seen before, heat causes things to expand, and this includes gasoline. So the final tip is this: do not fill your tank in the heat of the day, because the gas will expand, and in effect, cause a false reading on the pump. You’ll actually get less gas than you really paid for. Fill up early in the day, or late in the evening. Let the gas expand in your tank, not in theirs or as it comes up through the pump.

Also, while pumping gas, do not lock the handle setting to the fastest flow. This will cause the gas to foam up a bit, again giving you less than a complete fill, meaning another trip to the gas station sooner than later.

Take it slow; pump it without using the locking tab, and you’ll do your budget a favor.

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Comments 23 comments

Vickiw 2 years ago

This is a great Hub! I really enjoyed your tips, particularly the fill up info. I had never thought about that! Actually, your hub is just full of great information for every day car use. I have a hybrid, and that is a good money saver too.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, Vickiw,

Thanks very much--I'm glad you found this article useful. First commenter award to you! ;-)

This is kind of a re-write of an earlier such Hub, and I thought it could stand updating and some additions.

We won't be in the market for any new cars for the rest of our lives, given our fixed income, so we need to make the most of our budget on the slightly older car we have. I'm glad you like your hybrid--we need to get off the dependence on will be a long, slow process, I fear, given how much money and political clout is tied up in that industry...

Vickiw 2 years ago

I do love the hybrid. There is so little maintenance to do on it. I had an all-wheel Subaru for years, and finally got sick of the maintenance expense, although it was a great car. Now, there is so little involved, the difference saves a huge amount of cash. The hybrid has travelled through snow and mountain passes with success.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Great, useful tips. Number 5 is new to me, but it makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

epbooks profile image

epbooks 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

These are fantastic tips and I'm very happy that I do follow all of them!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ MsDora--I'm pleased I was able to provide some new information. Thanks so much for stopping by; I'm glad you liked the article.

@ epbooks--Thank you very much for your support, and thank you for being a responsible, careful driver; another reason for following these tips is to help reduce emissions. ;-)

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 2 years ago from USA

You've provided great ideas to save money on gas. With gas prices being what they are, the more we can do to save the better!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, Millionaire Tips-

Thanks very much; I'm glad you liked the article, and I appreciate the nice comment.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

Especially as we head into spring and summer with gas prices still so high, these are good solid tips. I especially like #5. I'd hate to not get everything I'm paying for.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, FlourishAnyway--

Oh, I so agree. We get little enough value for our hard-won money as it is. ;-) I'm glad you found the article useful; thanks much for your comment.

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Helpful tips to save gas and sounds worthy try.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, DDE, I'm glad you found the article helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

ologsinquito profile image

ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

You just reminded me that my car does need a tune up. Thanks for a great article.

Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 2 years ago from Georgia

Great tips - I did not know that it's better to get gas early or later in the day. I'm going to try to remember that one for sure. Sharing this one, as I'm sure many folks can use these tips.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ ologsinquito--LOL..Well, I'm delighted I was able to provide a memory jog and useful information. Thanks for stopping by!

@ Crystal Tatum--I'm glad I was able to give you some useful new information. Thanks for the share!

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

I am going to show my son this! lol! he passed his test a week ago! I can't drive so its double dutch to me as we say! LOL! great hub lizzy!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Nell!

Congrats to your son, and I hope he heeds the advice. Of course, if he doesn't you can always take away his keys... ;-) Thanks much for stopping by and commenting!

WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 2 years ago

I knew about the tire pressure but I have to try some of these other ideas. Every little bit helps these days, eh? Great advice in this hub, very useful. Voted up!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there Wiccan Sage!

Every little bit helps, indeed, with the gas companies getting every more greedy by the day. I'm most pleased you found some things to take away, and I think you for the vote!

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

Useful information that we all need to learn and remind ourselves of periodically. My husband will find this hub interesting on many levels--thanks.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, RTalloni,

Thanks very much. I'm pleased to have been able to provide something useful, and I'm glad your husband will enjoy it as well.

truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

It always so painful to spend all that money putting gas in my car every single week. Whatever can be done to save money on gas is a good thing. I didn't know about the fast flow foaming up. So, thanks for the information!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, truthfornow,

I agree--they keep raising the prices for no better reason than plain old-fashioned greed! I'm glad you found the article useful and that I was able to provide new information for you. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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