While motorists don’t have any control over the price of a barrel of crude oil, they can control vehicle maintenance and driving habits that maximize mileage and can reduce their costs at the pump.
Here are some tips offered by AAMCO on how to help improve your fuel efficiency:
— Pump it up. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel economy and are dangerous. Properly inflated tires last longer and can improve your gas mileage by more than 3% per tire. Tires low on air also affect handling and braking, wear more rapidly, and can overheat and blow. Check manufacturers’ recommendations and make sure tires are inflated to the maximum PSI. This is the #1 thing people overlook which can maximize mileage.
— Avoid idling. Idling uses a surprising amount of fuel — more than restarting the engine. If you need to wait in a parked vehicle for more than a minute, switch off the engine. It only takes 10 seconds of fuel to start your car.
— Drive safe and at moderate speeds. Avoid hard braking and jack rabbit starts — it wastes gas. Aggressive driving lowers your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Fuel economy peaks at 55 mph. Driving at 75 mph will cost you an average of six to seven more miles per gallon. Use cruise control on long trips.
— Travel light and check light. Added weight in the car creates a drag on the engine and consumes extra gas. Remove unnecessary items from the trunk and back of the vehicle. Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the “Check Engine” light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
— Travel efficiently. Warm engines run more efficiently than cold ones. Combine short errands into one trip to save gas and time. Travel outside of high-traffic times of the day, if possible. Consider ride sharing or carpooling to split gas costs among multiple passengers.
— Get your vehicle serviced regularly. Routine maintenance will help your car run more efficiently. Regular tune-ups and inspections can identify dirty air filters, low fluid levels, worn shocks and struts, and other conditions that increase wear and tear and reduce fuel economy.
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should include recommended maintenance intervals.