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How To Increase Your Gas Mileage Without Gimmicks,

by Shane Wallace, ASE certified auto mechanic.

gas saver "Pain" More At The Pump? Here Are Some Ways To Save Gas

Here are some easy ways to get better fuel mileage from any vehicle.

With gas prices at an all time high people are scrambling to find ways to get better gas mileage. The best of course, if you can afford it, is to trade up (or down) however you see it, to a more fuel efficient car such as as the Toyota Prius which gets nearly 50mpg. Since fuel prices will only keep rising your decision will be a wise one over the long term. It does not always make financial sense to trade in a car that is paid for one that gets better mileage, only to now have a high car payment. Situations where it may make sense include trading for an equal value auto, say perhaps a truck that gets 15 miles per gallon and is worth $5000 for a small car worth the same amount that gets 25 miles per gallon. On a forty mile per day commute you may be spending $11 a day at $4.00 per gallon with the truck and $6.40 dollars per day with the car. For a 20 day work month that means a savings of about $100.

If trading cars is not an option you can save a fair amount of gas by keeping your tires inflated. Most car tires require between 32 and 35 psi. Some larger truck tires can require up to 80 psi so check the fine print on the side of the tire sidewall. Having the proper tire pressure can increase fuel mileage and save both fuel and tire wear.

Don't idle your car or truck for a long time before leaving for work. There is really no good reason. Today's cars with automatic chokes will run fine down the road until they warm up. You can just put on a jacket if it is cold and go or roll down the windows to let the hot air out instead of letting your car run for climate's sake.


Best Way To Save Gas. Turn It Off

It is a myth that cars need a lot of gas to get started and that it is better to leave the engine running. Fuel injected engines do not require much fuel to start and it is better to shut them off if you are going to be parked for more that a couple of minutes. Your car's starter was built to function thousands of times and it it won't wear it out. Same goes for modern diesel engines, contrary to what most diesel owners believe, except for very cold days when it is better to leave the engine running for stops of less than ten minutes.

Easy Does It To Get Better Fuel Mileage

Don't jackrabbit start at stop signs and red lights. Accelerate evenly and smoothly. If you have a standard transmission shift when you need to, not when you feel like a race car driver.  The same goes when you are going to have to stop up ahead. You want to take your foot off the gas as soon as possible and coast on up to where you are going to stop instead of using the brakes..

Can You Save Gas By Turning The Air Conditioner Off?

When it is hot enough that you need to run the air conditioner it is actually better to go ahead and run it rather than suffer and drive with the windows rolled down, at least at highway speeds over 40 mph, since open windows create drag on the car. In this case running the AC is actually more fuel efficient.

Tune It Up and Air Up Tires For Better Fuel Economy                ways to save gas

Most cars nowadays can't really be "tuned up" like in the past but you can get your distributor cap and rotor and spark plugs changed and if you have not had this done in 30,000 miles it would definitely be a good idea. A full fuel injector cleaning may help as well if the car is older and never had it done before. Run a bottle of Chevron Techroline every month or so. Use a water dispersant such as a Heat once or twice a year. This removes water that accumulates in your tank. It is better to keep your fuel tank full. This prevents water vapor from the air from condensing in your tank and keeping a full tank of gas helps keep in-tank fuel pumps cool. You can ruin your in-tank fuel pump by overheating it if you run your car low on gas. I know because I replace one or two a week for this reason.

Tire numbers and what they mean. saving gas. Recommended tire pressure is usually in fine print, below the larger numbers.

Keeping your tires properly inflated can save ten percent or more on fuel mileage. To know how much pressure your tires require see the tiny raised print on the sidewall of your tire and don't exceed this pressure.

Get Rid Of Excess Junk In The Trunk For Better Fuel Economy

Take off any roof racks that are removable since they create wind resistance and remove excess junk from the trunk and inside of the car. Especially pickup trucks which may be carrying around several hundred pounds of dead weight. If you own a pickup consider adding a bed cover or taligate net to reduce wind drag. Fold in trailer towing mirrors when not towing a trailer.

To Save Money On Gas, Plan Your Trip

Try to plan your trips to take the shortest route with the least amount of turns and hills. Use a program like Mapquest to map out the shortest route or the one that will avoid idling in traffic.  Try and accomplish multiple errands at once and work out a carpool agreement with neighbors for rides to work and for picking up kids. This can save you time as well as money.

Don't Buy Premium Gas And Save Money

Unless you own a Ferrari, in which case you don't care how much gas costs, you probably don't need premium gas. In fact premium gas in most cars is too rich and much of it is being wasted out the tailpipe.

Check For Low Gas Prices

There are sites on the internet that are updated daily with the lowest price gas. Try and buy it from discount stores such as Wal Mart using one of their debit cards. You can save a few cents per gallon by buying a gift card with cash or credit and using it outside at the pump. Try for a list of the stations with the lowest gas prices in your area.

Avoid Gadgets That Claim To Increase Fuel Mileage


Finally when trying to save gas, avoid  so called fuel saving gadgets. Most don't work. If you don't believe me and must try one, keep all the paperwork and receipt. If you buy it at the local auto parts store they might take it back but chances are if you buy it on the internet you will spend weeks trying to get your money back, often to no avail. It there were miracle devices the car companies would put them on. Some people swear by miracle oils such as Amsoil which claim to reduce friction and also by K&N air filters which let more air in to the engine.

There is one exception  as far as gadgets go and that is the use of programmers for diesel engines. Users of diesel engines in Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet trucks have for years been installing "programmers" which optimize the way diesel is burned in the cylinders as well as shifting patterns. Users of these programmers, made by Edge, the  "Juice", Bully Dog and Hypertech can set their diesel programmer for high performance, towing or economy. I personally use an Edge Juice on my 2004 Chevrolet Duramax and it does work.  In the economy mode you an expect at least one to two miles per gallon improvement but since they cost in the $500 range I would advise that you only buy one for a new truck since the payback can be a while and the units are made for a specific engine and cannot be swapped to a newer model. Programmers for gasoline models will not save as much as ones for diesel engines.

Ease Off The Gas To Get Better Fuel Mileage

The biggest single fuel saving technique you can use is to drive slower, accelerate slower and drive less. You will save 20 percent more gas by slowing down from 75 to 60, and save a speeding ticket perhaps as well.




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