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Ten Tips for Better Fuel Efficiency

Toyota 4Runner is Great for Summer TripsToyota 4Runner is Great for Summer Trips

Summer is officially here. Along with warmer days summer typically sees rising gas prices and occasionally even shortages as stations convert to “summer grade” aimed at reducing emissions. This is the time of year to do what you can to get the most efficiency possible from whatever automobile you’re driving. These tips with help make every drop count.

    1. Drive sensibly – Rapid acceleration and speeding uses more gas and taking turns too fast increases the wear and tear on the vehicle. Coasting to a stop also saves gas over hard stops.
    2. Avoid Idling when parked – Idling uses up to a half gallon of fuel per hour so if you are going to be stopped for a while turn off the engine and roll down the windows instead of letting the engine run.
    3. Use cruise control for consistent speed and fuel usage.
    4. Use air conditioning at freeway speeds – aerodynamic drag increases with speed so driving with the windows open and A/C off to save gas only works at lower speeds. At freeway speeds the drag reduces fuel efficiency more than the A/C does.
    5. Don’t weigh down your car – Driving around with extra stuff in your car can reduce gas mileage. Just 100 extra pounds can impact your fuel efficiency by as much as two percent and even more for smaller vehicles.
    6. Use roof racks only when needed – the extra drag from bikes, boards, luggage, etc. can reduce fuel efficiency up to 5% so stash those items at your destination if possible and drive without them.
    7. Combine trips to reduce driving – planning out stops ahead of time can lower the amount of “back-and-forth” to lower the total mileage of your errands. Experts say you should make the longest trip first to warm up the engine for better efficiency. Also try to make as few left turns as possible to reduce idling time waiting for the turns.
    8. Carpool when possible and take advantage of HOV lanes.
    9. Keep tires properly inflated – underinflated tires reduce gas mileage and don’t last as long. Check the sticker in the glove box or door jamb for the proper inflation pressure and invest in a digital pressure gauge.
    10. Use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil – check your owner’s manual for the recommended grade of oil and improve mileage by up to 2%.

Bonus tip – Drive a more efficient vehicle. Check out our post on High MPG cars for rising gas prices for a great list of vehicles with great fuel efficiency. Many of these even qualify for special savings programs.