ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Personal Finance»
  • Frugal Living

Easy Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage

Updated on March 15, 2017

Sounds legit

Budget Cuts

I wrote this in 2012 when gas prices increased weekly, and sometimes increased throughout the day. At the time I drove a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe which had a 25-gallon gas tank. When gas prices reached $3.50 per gallon, it cost almost $90.00 to fill the tank each week. This became a financial burden to me, and I looked for things to trim from my budget to keep fuel in my tank. I wasn't alone in this, and know people made other personal sacrifices just to fill up their tank. I had friends that gave up cable, others gave up eating out, and still, others that gave up gym memberships trips to the salon and manicures. But the one thing we didn't give up, was driving.

There are many different ways to improve gas mileage, and this can help reduce 'pain at the pump'. One simple way to save money on each tank is to ensure that you fully tighten the gas cap after filling the tank. This will ensure the proper mix of fuel and fumes to help your engine work efficiently.

Pay at the pump

Remember when gas cost less than $1.00 per gallon?
Remember when gas cost less than $1.00 per gallon? | Source

Simple things to save fuel

There are some things that we can do to stretch the mileage of our cars. Some of these things are common sense and some of them are mandated by law, but all of them are easy. Driving slower will improve your miles per gallon. In recent years, highway speeds have increased in Texas and other states. And let's face it, driving across Texas really does take all day, so I take advantage of higher posted speeds. However, once you hit 65 mph the engine begins to work harder and will burn more gas than it will at 55 mph.

Remove extra weight. I drive an SUV with room for eight passengers. However, I rarely have more than five people in my vehicle, so I removed the third-row 60/40 split rear seats. This is not an extraordinary amount of weight, but it can save me money in the long run. If your trunk is full of things you don't need, get rid of it. You only need a few things in the trunk, such as a spare tire, emergency kit, and blankets if you live in a very cold area. A rooftop carrier not only adds weight but also drag. If you're not using it, remove the carrier and stow it in the garage.

If you are part of a transportation pool and you pick up kids from school or take turns driving with coworkers, a simple way to save fuel is to turn off the car. Waiting in line at school for 15-20 minutes with the engine running is costing you money.

Maintaining constant highway speed can be difficult in heavy traffic. However, once you hit the open road, use cruise control. The constant speed will save fuel because you won't be accelerating unnecessarily.

Running Errands

You can save on fuel costs if you consolidate errands. If you know that you need specific groceries for dinner, stop by the store on your way home from work. This will eliminate at least one extra trip. If you run errands on the weekend, map out your route first. I usually start with the errand that is furthest away, because it's the one I usually don't want to do. Driving there first always seems to make the other errands easier. Plus, with each errand, I am one block closer to home.

Living in a city with five million people can impact my drive at any given time. One of the easy things I do to save on frustration is to first check city traffic patterns. We have a real-time traffic map that is managed by Houston Transtar that identifies traffic tie-ups by color patterns. The color green means that traffic is flowing smoothly, at posted speeds.The color yellow indicates slow traffic, and the color red indicates that traffic is moving at speeds less than 20 mph.

Change spark plugs every 30,000 miles

Check your spark plugs if your engine is running rough.
Check your spark plugs if your engine is running rough. | Source

Maintenance

Regular maintenance will not only keep your car running well, it will give you peace of mind about its reliability. Check the pressure in your tires on a regular basis. Under-inflated tires can increase stopping time and cause a reduction in cornering stability because the tire is flatter than it should be. Another danger of under-inflated tires is overheating. This can lead to tread separation and even a blowout. Over-inflated tires have a reduced footprint and less contact with the road because they ride higher. Over-inflated tires can be more easily damaged by road debris than a regularly inflated tire.

Change your oil and filter according to the car manufacturer guidelines. This will keep sludge from building up in the engine, and also reduce wear and tear on other parts. The air filter may not seem like a big deal, but its role is to keep dirt and dust out of the engine. You can have the air filter changed with regular maintenance, or you can do this yourself. Check with your local auto parts store for pricing and availability. If they don't have your model in stock, they can typically get it within 24 hours. Spark plugs don't require the frequency of attention that oil and air filters need. However, they should be replaced every 30,000 miles.

Cleaning fuel injectors can also improve fuel efficiency. This is done by removing them and bathing in an ultrasonic bath, similar to what jewelry is cleaned in. The purpose is to use high-frequency vibration to remove carbon deposits from the fuel injectors. The benefit of cleaning fuel injectors is an improved fuel-air mix which leads to better gas mileage.

Recommendations to Increase Fuel Efficiency

Recommendations
Reality Check
Drive the speed limit
At speeds greater than 60 mph, you will consume an additional $.31 per mile
 
Aggressive driving can decrease mileage by 33%
 
 
Dump the weight
Clean out your trunk
Each additional 100 lbs decreases mph by 2%
Remove extra un-used seats (SUV)
 
Leave the sport equipment at home when not in use
 
 
Stop idling when parked
While waiting to pick up kids from school
 
 
 
 
Maintain your vehicle
Properly inflated tires can save you more than 3% in fuel costs.
 
Worn spark plugs can cause the decrease efficiency in the air-fuel mixture and decrease performance and gas mileage
 
Worn oxygen sensors will use more fuel because the engine needs more oxygen

How have gas prices affected your driving?

See results

Speed Limit Strictly Enforced

Source

Pay Up!

Fuel prices move up and down in cost and can really affect our budget. Proper maintenance on your engine, and better driving habits will help reduce wear and tear on your vehicle, and also save on fuel costs in the long run. If you aren't certain about the frequency of your vehicle's maintenance schedule, refer to the Owner's Guide, or search online using your car's year, make and model.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • lifelovemystery profile image
      Author

      Michelle Orelup 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      @ the girls - unfortunately we truly equate gas prices with those acronyms. I wish I knew he came up with that!

      @ LauraGT Gas prices have continued to increase since I published this hub and it is even harder on my wallet. However, we can be responsible for changing our driving habits. Thanks for stopping by!

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 6 years ago from MA

      Thanks for this important hub! While I know it's hard on people's wallets, I do think the higher gas prices are getting Americans to think about how to conserve, a fantastic outcome!

    • the girls profile image

      Theresa Ventu 6 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Best gas prices I have seen :-) This is so %^#* true! Voted up

    • lifelovemystery profile image
      Author

      Michelle Orelup 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      Vote for Real Change in 2012! Thanks breakfastpop!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      The best thing we can do is get a new president!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)