1. Get the Lead Out.
If you’re like us, you carry things in your trunk you might have forgotten about. A set of weights for that workout session you went to last month. Or, on top of the car, maybe there’s a bike rack you almost never use. All of that adds up.
2. Inflate Your Tires.
When tires are underinflated, you use more gas — about .4 percent more for every pound of pressure you’re below the manufacturer’s recommendation. Check your owners’ manual for the ideal pressure and check your tire pressure regularly. Some cars can show you your PSI right on the dash — you may have that setting. If not, try an inexpensive gauge you can get at any auto parts place.
3. Drive Sensibly.
The harder you accelerate, the more fuel your car consumes. Coasting to a stop when you see a red light ahead also helps save gas. And gas mileage is just another reason to adhere to local speed limits — most vehicles are made to operate most efficiently between 30 and 50 miles an hour.
4. Use Your Air Conditioning Less.
Air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by up to 20%. While it may be an absolute necessity on a 120–degree day in Scottsdale (or a 95 percent humidity day in Hatfield, PA) on nicer days, try using the flow–through option when you’re on the highway. When you do use air–conditioning, the re–circulate option might be a good alternative.
5. Use Your Cruise Control More.
Varying speeds up and down can increase your fuel use drastically. A study found that accelerating and slowing 10 miles an hour every 18 seconds on the highway upped fuel use by a whopping 20%.
6. Track Your Fuel Consumption.
Trying to better your MPG is a fun game, and it keeps you conscious of how efficiently you’re driving. Gas receipts give you the fuel you pump down to the hundredth of a gallon, and if you write down the odometer reading every time you stop for gas, it’s easy to calculate your actual mileage by dividing gallons into miles with your cell phone calculator.
7. Use the Oil the Car Manufacturer Recommends.
If you’re someone who changes your own oil, be conscious of the grade you’re using. Using the exact oil grade specified by the manufacturer will reduce inefficiency.
8. Keep Your Car Serviced Regularly.
Improper tuning can rob you of 4% of your gas mileage, and a clogged air filter can retard mileage even more.