We’ve all seen the late night infomercials that promise to sell us a magical device that will improve gas mileage by up to 40% but how many of these things actually do anything all? After all, people have been selling “snake oil” products like these since the dawn of time. I love to talk about conserving energy and natural resources here at www.BooneyLiving.com so let’s talk about getting better gas mileage from your car today.
Today I’m in the mood to cut through the BS and show you how to save gas using some tips that have been tired and tested. Follow along and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two that you can apply to your vehicles or driving habits that will help you get better gas mileage.
How To Calculate Gas Mileage For Your Vehicle
Before you’ll know if any of these tips actually work to help your car get better gas mileage, you’ll need to know how to figure gas mileage. If the very thought of doing math sends shivers up your spine, relax because figuring out your gas mileage is really pretty easy. Just follow these simple steps.
- Fill your gas tank up all the way and make a note of the odometer reading on your dash. If you have a trip odometer, reset it to zero when you fill up.
- Drive until your tank is almost empty.
- Fill your gas tank all the way up again and make a note of exactly how many gallons it took to fill your tank up.
- Make a note of your current odometer reading and subtract the current reading from the reading that you took the last time you filled up with gas. This will tell you how many miles you drove on that tank of gas. If you’re going off of the trip odometer, make a note of what it’s reading is now. This will also tell you how many miles you drove on that tank.
- Divide the number of miles that you drove on the tank of gas by how many gallons it took to fill the tank all the way up this time. For example, if you were able to drive 500 miles on your most recent tank of gas and it took 25 gallons to fill the tank all the way back up, you got 20 miles per gallon (500 miles / 25 gallons = 20 MPG)
See, didn’t I tell you that it would be easy? Now, the next time you are on a road trip, you can ask your friends if they know how to figure out gas mileage and when they tell you that they don’t, you can show them how and look like a genius.
How To Calculate Gas Expense For A Trip
After you know how many miles per gallon your vehicle gets, it’s easy to figure out how much you should expect to spend on gas if your are planning to take a road trip. All you have to do is divide the cost of one gallon of gas by how many miles your car gets per gallon. For example, if the price of gas is $4.00 per gallon and your car gets 20 MPG, it will cost you $0.16 cents for every mile that you travel ($4.00 per gallon / 20 MPG = $0.16).
If you expect to drive 1000 miles on your trip, you can estimate your gas expense by multiplying the total miles that you plan on driving by how much it costs to drive your car for one mile. If we use the figures above, the gas for your road trip would cost you approximately $160 (1000 miles x $0.16 cost to drive one mile = $160).
This is assuming that every place you stop to gas up charges $4.00 per gallon and you always get 20 miles per gallon on your trip. In reality, you’ll pay different prices for gas at each gas station and your fuel mileage will vary depending on your driving condition. This formula will, however, help to “estimate” what your gas expenses will be for the trip.
How to Get Better Fuel Mileage By Keeping Your Vehicle’s Tires Properly Inflated
This is probably one of the easiest ways to get better gas mileage from your car but it’s also one of the most neglected. Most people don’t think about their tires unless they have a problem like a blow out or a flat. The way people treat their tires reminds me of how they tie their shoes. Unless their laces become untied, they don’t tend to think about them at all during the day.
If your tires are under-inflated, there will be more rolling resistance on them which means that your vehicle’s engine will have to work harder. Think about the last time you had to push your car when it ran out of gas. This is never any fun even on a level asphalt road but imagine trying to push your car through sand on the beach. As I’m sure you can imagine, it would be much more difficult and require a lot more of your energy.
The softer the surface is the harder it will be to push your car and the lower the air pressure in your car’s tires is, the harder your engine will have to work to move your car along.
How To Increase MPG by Only Using The Recommended Tires On Your Vehicle
If you’re thinking about changing the tires on your truck to oversized tires with aggressive off road tread, think again. Making this kind of a change will cause your engine to have to work harder and ultimately burn more fuel. As a matter of fact, something as simple as switching from tires with street tread to tires with off road tread can dramatically increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
How to Increase Fuel Economy By Replacing Your Vehicle’s Air Filter Regularly
This is another “out of site, out of mind” thing that people often neglect. Keep in mind that your vehicle requires fresh, clean air in order to mix with the fuel and combust properly in the engine. The air that is drawn into your engine first passes through an air filter. If the filter is dirty and clogged up, your engine won’t be able to get enough air and this with throw off the air-to-fuel mixture ratio. Basically, more fuel will be going into your engine and less air. Your engine will be doing what is known as “running rich” when this happens.
When an engine is running rich, it is less efficient and will require more frequent maintenance than when it is running the proper mixture of air and fuel.
How to Improve MPG By Keeping Your Vehicle Regularly Maintained
Overtime, your car or truck will need a bit of love if you want to keep its engine running at maximum efficiency. If you neglect the simple things like having regular tune ups done, your engine may still run but it’s won’t run as well as it could an the consequence will be that you’ll get lower fuel mileage.
How To Improve Gas Mileage by Changing Your Driving Habits
Do you have a “need for speed”? If you do, you’re probably using more gas that you have to. It’s a proven fact that slow and smooth acceleration of your vehicle can provide better gas mileage. When you stomp on the pedal and smoke the tires, your engine is using a lot of energy to take the vehicle for being stopped to the speed that you want to travel. As a matter of fact, more fuel is used to bring a vehicle up to highway speeds than is used to maintain these same speeds.
Experts have suggested that drivers imagine that there is a raw egg positioned between their foot and the gas pedal. If you push hard enough for the egg to break, you’re probably accelerating too rapidly and you’ll get better gas mileage if you back off a bit. That is if you are concerned about getting the best gas mileage that you possibly can.
Did you know that more gas is consumed by city drivers than highway drivers on average? This may seem a bit strange because highway divers typically travel at a much higher rate of speed. It might seem like you would go through more gas while driving at these faster speeds on the highway than you would go through while driving around in town but this often isn’t the case.
When you are driving around town, you are constantly going from being stopped to getting your vehicle up to the posted speed limit. The traffic lights, stop signs, and traffic congestion seen in normal city driving means that you’re constantly going to be using more fuel during that acceleration phase after the light turns green. It’s this constant “stop and go” driving that burns through so much gas.
How to Improve Fuel Economy By Turning Off Your Air Conditioner
Do you really need the air in your car to be 62 degrees when it’s only 70 outside? Running your AC can really bog down an engine and cause it to burn through more fuel. If you don’t really need the AC, turn it off and you’ll save money on gas.
The reason your air conditioner causes a car or truck to use more gas is because there is a part called an “air conditioning pump” that is driven by belts that are attached to your engine’s pulley’s. When this pump kicks on, it places an extra load on the engine making it work harder to maintain your desired speed. When the AC is turned off, the pulley on the AC pump spins freely and doesn’t add any resistance to the engine.
The same does not hold true for the heater in your car because the blower motor for the heater is electrically driven and the heat is actually a byproduct of the process of running your engine. Turning your heat down or off will not increase gas mileage in car.
Do You Get Better Gas Mileage With Premium Gas?
It seems logical to many people that you could boost gas mileage by filing up with premium gas but this isn’t necessarily true. If your vehicle is designed to run on premium, you should use it but running premium fuel in a car that is designed to run on regular will not improve your fuel mileage.
Does A Bed Cover Improve Gas Mileage For Trucks?
If you’re wondering how to increase gas mileage on a truck, you really should consider buying a truck bed cover. The reason for this is that as a truck travels forward, air flows over the cab and ends up in the bed of the truck. This causes air turbulence which results in increased drag. This extra drag will make your engine have to work harder to maintain the speed of your vehicle thereby lowering your trucks fuel mileage. Installing a bed cover will improve the overall aerodynamics of your truck and consequently reduce it’s fuel consumption.
I Shared My Tips, Now Share Yours!
Okay, now I’d love to hear any tips that you might have about getting better gas mileage in your vehicles. If you have some tips that you can share with us that will show us how to increase gas mileage in our cars you can do so by leaving a comment in the box that is located below.
On a similar note, I’m actually in the process of doing my own experiment on how to save on gas by testing a gas treatment additive that its maker claims will improve the fuel efficiency in my vehicle. If you want to follow my testing, you should check out this post: Can Adding a Simple Tablet To Your Gas Really Make Your Engine Run Better?