With gas prices on the way up again, we thought it was time to revisit some tips and techniques to help conserve fuel, improve fuel economy and stretch your dollar at the gas pump.
Check the Spark Plugs More Often
Manufacturers claim their platinum spark plugs last 100,000 miles, but certain operating conditions can cause them to foul at 75,000 miles. Spark plugs are relatively inexpensive and (depending on the vehicle) easy to replace.
Limit Driving Time
- Carpooling – Is there a better way to save at the pump?
- Combine trips – Combining several shorter trips into one longer trip will save fuel and time.
- Walk between stops – When possible, park in a central location and walk to your destinations.
- Park in the first spot available – Driving around the lot looking for a ‘better’ spot uses more fuel.
Find good gas prices
- Don’t be brand conscious – There isn’t a significant enough difference in fuel to justify brand loyalty, so buy wherever you get the best price.
- Technology – There are numerous smart-phone apps and websites designed to help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area. Take advantage of them!
- Holiday hi-jinks – Keep in mind, gas prices typically begin to increase 2-3 days before a holiday, so plan your fill-ups accordingly.
Take care of your car
A properly maintained vehicle runs more efficiently resulting in better mileage.
Fill up efficiently
- Plan to fill up when fuel level is at a 1/4 tank.
- When pumping gas, fill the tank full.
- Don’t top off between fills.
Keep tires properly inflated
This is best done when the tires are cold (have not been driven on more than a mile or so) — it is proper for them to have a few psi higher pressure after extensive driving, but filling them hot should generally be avoided unless they are very low. Excessive pressure adds very little efficiency and can cause bad handling and uneven tire wear.
While idling, your car gets exactly 0 miles per gallon, and starting the car uses the same amount as idling for 6 seconds. Park your car and go into the restaurant rather than idling in the drive-through. Idling with the air conditioning on also uses extra fuel. Avoid over accelerating & braking driving conditions.
Plan your trips in advance
Good planning can help conserve fuel. Consider alternative routes that bypass traffic lights and known high-traffic or congested areas. Schedule trips and errands when traffic is lighter.
Use a GPS system
Use a global positioning system (GPS) to help you navigate and find the fastest and shortest distance to your destination. Avoiding hills and stops will increase your gas mileage.
Drive at a consistent speed
Avoid quick acceleration and hard braking. Cruise control will keep you at a constant speed, except when going up and down hills.
If approaching a red light, see if you can slow down enough to avoid having to actually stop (because you reach the light after it is green). Speeding up from 5 or 10 miles per hour will be easier on the gas than starting from full stop.
Maintain a safe following distance
Don’t stick to the bumper of the car directly in front of you. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap. This also gives you a lot more room to play with when you are timing traffic signals.
Take off slowly from a full stop
This is one adjustment that will have dramatic effects on your gas mileage; don’t tear off from a stoplight or stop sign!
Use A/C only on the highway
A/C – when used a lot – uses up to 8% of the fuel in the tank. When weather permits, use the A/C in “vent” mode, lower the windows, or both. Open windows increase in drag which reduces fuel efficiency, but not as much as the A/C.
Park in the shade
Gasoline actually evaporates right out of your tank, and it does so faster when you park directly in the sun – winter or summer. Parking in the shade also keeps it cooler inside, and you will need less A/C to cool off when you get back in. If there is no shade available, park so that your gas tank (the actual tank under the car, not the valve to fill it) is facing away from the direct sun. Also, today’s fuel systems are supposed to be airtight. Your gas cap should have a seal in it. Make sure that the seal is keeping the fumes in and outside air out.
We hope these tips will help you start saving money at the pump!
Motorcars Ltd can perform a BG Fuel Service which will greatly increase your gas milage and performace you can click on one of these Houston area locations – Houston Central or Houston Midtown and we would be happy to help you.