How to get more than 25% better MPG
How would you like to cut your gas bill by 25%? Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to do. Take a look at the suggestions we obtained from the service staff at Patrick Volvo of Schaumburg, IL, a full-service Volvo dealer. Incorporate these tips into your automotive life and you could easily cut your monthly gasoline bill by 25% or more.
Inflate your tires to the proper level – Perhaps the number one gas waster is driving on underinflated tires. According to AAA, more than one-quarter of vehicles on the road are driving on tires that are not inflated to the proper level. This really wastes gas because when a tire is underinflated, it doesn’t roll as easy. Here’s the official stat: An under-inflation of 7.5 pounds (which is not uncommon) causes a loss of 5% in fuel efficiency.
Don’t drive as fast – This is another major fuel saver: For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by a full 7%. This is especially true for vehicles that have large, frontal surfaces such as vans and trucks. Here’s how easy it is to do: instead of driving at 65 MPH on the highway, scale it back to 55 and you’ll instantly be increasing your gas mileage. For those that have a hard time doing this, use your cruise control!
Tighten your gas cap – Believe it or not, a loose gas cap can cost you money due to evaporation of gasoline from your tank! According to one report, this could rob you of 20 gallons of gas a year!
Check your air filter – According to the AAA nearly one quarter of the cars on the road need an air filter replacement. Dirty air filters prevent air from flowing easily into an engine and can reduce a car’s gas mileage by up to 10%. If your air filter has been changed in a while, consider changing it. On most cars you can do it yourself.
Make one trip – It’s simply amazing how few drivers do this. It is possible to save a great deal of money by simply combining a pile of errands into a small number of trips. Think about it, if you are driving somewhere and you are doing a pile of errands, try to combine it all into one. Try it and reap the savings!
Is your CEL on – When your Check Engine Light goes on, it is often because you need an O2 sensor or your Mass Airflow Sensor (MAS). Unfortunately, this really trashes your gas mileage, sometimes up to 20-30%. O2 sensors and MAS sensors aren’t inexpensive items, typically $100-$200 installed but they pay for themselves quickly with increased fuel efficiency.
Are your tires aligned – Poor alignment not only causes tires to wear out more quickly (which can be a major expense on its own) but it also forces your engine to work harder. According to the AAA, aligning your car’s tires can save up to 10% in gas mileage.
Use the lowest octane gas – Don’t use a higher octane gas than what your car requires. Higher octane gas is only required for higher compression engines and it can be a lot more expensive than standard gas; sometimes up to 50 cents more! Check your owner’s manual for the grade of gas that you should be using and stick with that.
Don’t idle – Besides causing air pollution, idling wastes gas. If stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine, and, unless it is very cold out, don’t bother to “warm up” your car before driving.
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