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Find Extra Mileage in Your Gas: Tips That Make “cents”

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You may be among the majority who grumble and curse every time you pull up to the gas station and see the prices. While many manufacturers have made tremendous strides in developing more fuel efficient vehicles, it still hurts to pay $50-$100 per tank. With the current surge in pricing, you may even be considering scaling your vehicle down from the guzzling truck, SUV or high-performance luxury car that you drive now.

Before trading in your favorite ride for an “econo-box,” consider these gas mileage maximization tips. Not only will you conserve fuel, but you will also have more cash in your pocket.

Go Easy and Steady

A lead foot does not help you cut fuel consumption. It does not pay to drive aggressively by using rapid acceleration. All you end up doing is reaching another red light or causing an accident. For each 5 miles per hour you go over a 60 miles per hour limit, you might as well put an extra 20 cents onto each gallon that you plan to buy at your next stop.

Multiple stops and starts also use up gas quickly. Sometimes, it cannot be helped, especially when you are stuck in rush hour traffic. On regular streets, a slow, steady pace will help you stay in synch with the traffic light patterns, so that you can cruise through many green lights before hitting a red one.

Use a light and even touch on the accelerator. This might even have a beneficial side effect by reducing your irritability and stress. Why not get to your next planned stop calmly and with more gas? Also, if your vehicle has cruise control, use it on longer trips to maintain a constant speed.

It’s Not Just You….It’s the Vehicle

From a tune-up to tire inflation, the condition of the nuts and bolts of your vehicle also play a major role in fuel conservation. When it comes to filters, belts, and hoses, stick to the maintenance schedule suggested by the manufacturer. Also remember to get regular oil changes.

Under-inflated tires can cause more drag on the road. The extra resistance causes more gas to be used up than is necessary. Be sure to check tire pressure regularly when the tires are cold by using a dial model gauge. You also need to be on the lookout for poor alignment because this can cause increased friction as well as irregular and rapid tread wear – both of which waste fuel.

Busy is Better

You may dread that line at the pump because you are short on time, but selecting a busy station will not leave you short on gas. This is because you are more likely to get a better quality gas – less water, rust, and other impurities – then you would at a slow station with no cars. This is because busy gas stations get their tanks refilled more frequently, so there is not much opportunity for sediment to build up.

Keeping on Top of Gas Consumption

A log is essential for tracking fuel economy and for pinpointing changes in usage. It is recommended that you continue using this log on a year-round basis because, as seasons and temperatures change, fuel usage varies as well. Reviewing this log may also alert you to other problems with your vehicle that need to be addressed, so you can optimize performance levels and fuel consumption.

There are resources available to help you with understanding the numbers you record in your log. Some companies offer detailed fuel consumption statistics compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Using this information, you can compare and contrast your fuel economy to not only the big numbers on your vehicle's window sticker, but you can also look at this information in terms of other users that maintain information for similar vehicles.

Lighten Up!

Get that junk out of your trunk. Excess weight causes the vehicle to have to work harder, thereby using up more fuel. The EPA has reported that every extra hundred pounds on your vehicle reduces fuel consumption by 2 percent on every mile per gallon. Be sure to also remove snow and slush from the vehicle’s top, trunk and hood as well as from its wheel wells. While smaller vehicles tend to be affected more adversely in terms of fuel waste, it is better to use this as a rule of thumb for any vehicle.

Other Beneficial Advice

There are other easy tips that can help you cut your gas usage:

  • Stop pumping gas when the tank shuts off. Do not overfill it.
  • Do not leave your vehicle idling. It is better to turn it off and start it again when you are ready to start moving.
  • Consider utilizing your overdrive gears if you have them because this slows your engine speed, saving gas and engine wear.
  • Map out your short trips. Plan the best route for running errands so that you do not drive any farther than absolutely necessary.
  • Do not believe the hype that premium gas should be used on your vehicle. Low grades can be used on most cars unless the owner’s manual calls for higher octane choices. These are usually for luxury or performance cars. Otherwise, you can opt for the grade that does not lead to engine knocking and still maintain good mileage and a fuller wallet.
  • Consider using gas additives as an excellent money saver. They come in the form of a pill, powder, or liquid that can be added to your gas tank before you fill up. The benefits include cleaner fuel system and combustion chamber, which directly helps cut down on emissions that harm the environment.
  • Turn off your air conditioner and roll down the windows when traveling on short trips. The horsepower used to run the air conditioner drains your engine’s efficiency and costs a lot in gas.
  • Drive less and ride a bike, walk, or carpool. Everyone saves this way and some options even get your blood pumping and trim your waistline.

A Worthy Cause

The future does not show any signs of gas prices going any lower; they are only predicted to rise considerably as the world’s oil supply becomes further squeezed and natural resources are depleted.

By adopting any combination of the aforementioned gas mileage tips, you should be able to rapidly realize significant improvements in your vehicle’s fuel economy. It pays to start making these changes now because you will also be doing your share to help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing the sustainability of the environment.


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