Thathas fallen to $4.13 a gallon – down from $4.82 a month ago. However, there are still ways to make your gas tank last a little longer (and , to). While there are some tricks that can help, there are a few myths to steer clear of.
From not using the air conditioning while driving, to switching off the car completely at traffic lights, to changing the air filter more frequently, we explain what works and what doesn’t.
We share some tips to save fuel while driving and myths to avoid. Also here.
Fuel economy myths that really don’t help
Skip these suggestions – they don’t really work and can waste your time and money.
Don’t buy a device that is marketed to help fuel efficiency: Often referred to as fuel savers, these devices are installed in your engine and advertise fuel savings. But we don’t recommend them. “People should be wary of any device that promises to increase fuel efficiency,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, told CNET. Some can bypass emissions and may be illegal.
Do not change your air filter more often than recommended: While a dirty air filter can cause problems in other areas of your vehicle, it won’t change your gas mileage.
Do not schedule more frequent oil changes: It’s a common myth that your car’s gas mileage suffers when it’s time for an oil change. While it’s best to keep up with the maintenance of your car to avoid future problems, don’t expect your gas mileage to improve.
However, your mileage can improve by 1% to 2% if you use the brand of engine oil recommended by the manufacturer.
Now that you know what won’t work, here are some tips that can improve your mileage.
Slow and steady wins the race
Rapid acceleration burns gas faster than driving at a slower, more steady pace. Being able to maintain a steady speed will help you save on gas. People who are constantly rushing and hitting the gas pedal tend to use more gas due to rapid acceleration, De Haan explained.
“If people accelerated more slowly and avoided speeding through a red light, it would help them burn gas and use energy,” he said.
Vehicles are most efficient when driving between 55 and 60 miles per hour – anything above that starts to reduce a car’s efficiency. “Slow down and drive 60 instead of 70,” said De Haan.
If possible, use cruise control
The easiest way to keep a constant speed? cruise control. It’s an easy way to maintain a steady speed instead of slowing down and accelerating to get back to 55mph. It is best to use cruise control when driving on a flat road without stops, e.g. B. on a highway.
“Cruise control is much more effective than a human at maintaining speed and can help save fuel,” De Haan said.
Avoid idling: Park your car at red lights and other long stops
If you’re stopped at a busy red light that usually takes a few minutes to get through, or if you’re stopped and wait outside your children’s school, Argonne National Laboratory recommends turning off your car if it waits 10 seconds is idle or longer.
The government agency says even turning off your car for just 10 seconds can save you fuel and reduce carbon emissions.
However, the advice is not the same for diesel vehicles. De Haan says that engines run on compression, so shutting down your diesel vehicle while idling may not be as beneficial.
Know when to use the air conditioner and when to open the windows
Turning off the air conditioning in the car can save fuel, but not in all driving situations. If the air conditioning is on while the vehicle is already running, it won’t put undue stress on your engine and you won’t use gas much faster. But when your car is idling, running the air conditioner can put more strain on the engine and require more gasoline to help it work harder, De Haan said.
Is driving with the windows open a more fuel efficient alternative? Not always, especially on freeways or at higher speeds. This can actually use more gas, according to Schaefer Autobody Centers, because it increases wind resistance, or “drag”. This in turn slows down your car and requires more fuel to drive.
It’s usually best to leave the windows open when driving on city streets where you may be idling more often, or on roads with lower speed limits. Otherwise, using the air conditioner is the best option.
Take luggage racks out of your car when not in use
If you drive a vehicle with detachable top racks, De Haan recommends removing them when not in use. This can improve your car’s aerodynamics, much like rolling up your windows.
This logic applies to larger luggage racks, for example, but bike and ski racks can generally be left on your vehicle.
Keep your tires properly inflated
Making sure your tires are properly inflated can also help with your car’s fuel economy. The US Department of Energy says you can improve your gas mileage by 3% (although the average is 0.6%) by keeping your tires properly inflated. Your gas mileage can decrease by approximately 0.2% for every 1 pound per square inch of air bled. For example, if your tires are designed to be ventilated up to 36 PSI and they sit at 30 PSI, your gas mileage could decrease by as much as 1.2%.
When barometric pressure drops below 25 PSI, there can be an increase in friction, which forces your engine to work harder, resulting in fewer miles per gallon, De Haan said. Most engines will warn you if one of your tires is too low. (The warning light looks like closed brackets with an exclamation mark between them and a squiggly line underneath.)
Before you air your tires, check the manufacturer’s specifications in your owner’s manual or the door sticker in your car to see how high the air pressure needs to be. If you can’t find either, you can visit a site like TirePressure.com for an answer.
Combine your rides when running errands
If you have multiple errands to run on opposite sides of town, plan it so you don’t end up traveling back and forth. For example, if the post office is next to the coffee shop but the post office isn’t open yet, make that your last stop instead of having to drive back to that area.
If you have errands to run in places that aren’t nearby, it’s best to try to do it all in one trip. Your car’s engine is more efficient when it’s warmed up, which can save you some gas. It also prevents you from driving extra miles by taking trips on different days.
Expect traffic lights if possible
Hitting multiple lights in a row can wreak havoc on your gas mileage, especially if you’re idling at each light. Your car is still burning fuel while you are being stopped and you are not driving any gas mileage during this time.
While it is best to try to time traffic lights to green to avoid stopping, this is not always possible. If you see that the light has already turned amber or red, slow down and drive to the light instead of pressing the accelerator and then braking hard when you get there. This can help you save a little gas.
Does the automatic start-stop system increase your mileage?
Many newer cars come with stop-start technology that activates automatically when you come to a complete stop and press the accelerator. These systems automatically turn off the engine when the car is completely stopped – your air conditioning and other electronics continue to work. As soon as you step on the gas pedal, the engine starts again immediately.
Vehicles with this automated system see up to a 7% improvement in fuel economy, according to the AAA. If your car is equipped with this function, you already save fuel without having to do anything about it.
You can find more money-saving tips herenow and . Here are some too .