How to Save on Gas Mileage

Whether you drive a minivan, large SUV or a compact car, chances are you’re hoping to pinch a bit more mileage out of each gallon of gasoline. And at today’s high gas prices, a savings of just a few miles per gallon can really help your purse and bank account.

While individually most of the below tips will provide you with a slight bump in miles per gallon (MPG), when used collectively, you’ll see substantially less pain at the gas pump.

  • Keep your vehicle light. Just by removing excess weight from your car could increase your gas mileage by nearly two percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This translates to a whopping equivalent gasoline savings of $0.25 to $0.51 per gallon based on an $3.61 per gallon average fuel price.
  • Park your car in the shade. Did you know that the heat of the summer sun can cause small amounts of fuel in your gas tank to evaporate into thin air? Park your vehicle in the shade if you can’t park it in a garage. Fuel can also evaporate from a loose gas cap, so be sure you tighten it up after pumping gas.
  • Turn off the AC. Fuel economy is affected substantially by air conditioning. Many car air conditioning systems have a setting for economy, which causes unchilled air to circulate. Some cars also have a air “recirculation” center that decreases the amount of outside hot air that needs to be cooled. Either way, both save gas.
  • Drive in a sensible manner. Driving sensibly includes refraining from speeding, avoiding idling, resisting rapid acceleration and foregoing constant breaking. Of course, driving sensibly is a great way to help keep auto insurance costs down.
  • Combine trips. A warm engine uses fuel more efficiently than a cool engine. If possible, combine several shorter trips together.
  • Keep tires at proper air pressure. Low tires can decrease your MPG. According to the Federal Trade Commission, having your tires properly aligned and inflated can increase your miles per gallon by three percent, in addition to prolonging your tire life.
  • Utilize your vehicle’s overdrive gears. Your motor vehicle's engine speed decreases when you drive with overdrive gearing. Not only does this save fuel, but reduces engine wear, says the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, be sure to utilize cruise control (if your car has it) to further save on unnecessary fuel loss.
  • Avoid topping off. While tempting to squeeze in every last drop of gas when pumping, topping off can cause the fuel in a too-full gas tank to splash around within the tank causing gas to seep out. Therefore, when the gas pump nozzle clicks off, it is time to stop pumping.

Not only will these tips help you save money, but conserving fuel is a great eco-conscious way to help you contribute to protecting the environment.