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How to Improve Fuel Economy and Save Gas

Updated on February 20, 2015

Gas may be pretty inexpensive right now compared to a few months ago, but experts predict that this won't last for long. Pretty soon, gas prices will be sky high again so it's good to be prepared on some of the ways you can improve your car's fuel economy. There are some really simple ways you can do to save gas and improve your fuel economy.

Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated

We've all driven behind that one car on the road with tires that look like the air is rapidly deflating at an alarming rate. Don't be that guy! Proper tire inflation actually improves your gas mileage by 3.3%. Not only are you saving money, but you can ensure the safety of any of your passengers as well.

Visit the Body Shop

Cars occasionally need some TLC and proper maintenance to keep it functioning well. A much needed tune-up can improve gas mileage by 4%. Even fixing broken parts like an oxygen sensor can improve the mileage by a whopping 40%. If your gas tank looks like it becomes empty almost as soon as you fill it up, perhaps you should have the body shop check out any possible broken parts to save money in the long run.

Get an Oil Change

Most people don't know how to do their own oil change, but that's what the professionals are for. Make sure you follow the professional recommendation from the manufacturer to get the right grade for your vehicle. You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2% from proper oil change. It may not seem like much, but it could be the make or break from getting stuck on the side of the road with no gas or making to the gas station in time.

Check your Air Filter

A dirty or old air filter is quite a gas guzzler. Make sure you air filter is clean and that could save you 10% on gas. Air filters are inexpensive to replace, helping you save both time and money.

Put the Right Gas in Your Car

Your owner's manual will be able to tell you which octane gas your car needs. If your car requires premium gasoline, then make sure to fill it up with premium. It's not worth it to save a bit of change temporarily because getting a lower octane gasoline will damage your car in the long run. However, if your car doesn't require premium octane, there's no point in buying premium. It will do nothing to improve your gas mileage and costs way more. Just put in whatever octane gasoline your owner's manual recommends to save both time and money.

Drive Safely

We've all encountered those aggressive drivers on the road, where their driving is a danger to everyone out there. These people tailgate other cars, leaving only a few inches of distance. Others change lanes and cut other drivers off, forcing everyone to slam on their brakes. Not surprisingly, this kind of driving is terrible to maintain a good gas mileage and for good reason. The constant braking and accelerating, as well as sudden lane changes can do a number to gas efficiency.

Driving the right way on the road is both safe and great for your gas mileage. Aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage about 33% on the highway and 5% on city streets. To help everyone out, make sure your headlamps are turned on at night and you properly signal when you need to make a lane change. When you obey the law, you also save a ton of money as well.

Lighten the Load

The heavier your car is, the most gas it uses. If you've got all sorts of unnecessary load in your car, take it out! You don't need 5 pairs of work boots in the trunk and that huge box of tools either. If you can lighten the load as much as possible and leaving only the necessities, you can definitely get better gas mileage to save you more money. Keep only the things you need in the car and take about an hour every month or so to clean out your car.

Don't Idle the Car

Idling uses about a half gallon of fuel per hour. If you have to wait for someone or have some time to kill, then it's better to restart your car when you need to. Of course, if the weather is extreme and you have to use the air conditioning or the heater, you can as well. However, if it's not necessary, try to not idle your car for too long. You actually use up less fuel when you restart your car.

Try to Avoid Rush Hour

For many of us, there's no choice but to drive during rush hour for the commute to and from work. Everyone who has had to drive during rush hour knows the frustration of driving in bumper to bumper traffic for endless hours at a time. Not only is that extremely infuriating, but the stop and go traffic completely ruins your car's fuel economy. If you aren't commuting to work, try to center your trip before or after the rush hour period. That lessens the number of cars on the highway as well as preserves your fuel economy as well.

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