Home > Ask Gary > ASK GARY: How Can I Get Better Gas Mileage?

ASK GARY: How Can I Get Better Gas Mileage?


Of course, the easiest way is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle like the Toyota Prius, which has been chosen as the number-one green car for the seventh year in a row by Consumer Reports.  According to the publication, “It’s still the most fuel-efficient car in our Ratings, getting 44 mpg overall.” (April 2011, Consumer Reports “Top Picks,” http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/cr-recommended/top-picks/overview/top-picks-ov.htm)

Despite the recent drop in gas prices, the cost at the pump still continues to be a concern for most of us, especially as we enter the 4th of July and summer vacation season. Even if you’re not in the market for a new vehicle, there are still ways to improve your gas mileage.  Here are some tips for saving at the pump:

  • Avoid hitting the brakes hard, if possible.  When you’re in traffic, avoid driving closely behind the car ahead of you, which may cause you to hit the brakes suddenly.  Instead, it is safer and uses less gas, if you keep your distance and moderate your speed, as much as possible, by coming off the accelerator.
  • Drive slower. Faster speeds not only result in more accidents, but also use more gas.
  • Use cruise control on highways when possible. By keeping the speed of your vehicle constant, you will avoid acceleration and minimize gas usage.
  • Choose your route with gas mileage in mind. If possible, avoid routes with many traffic lights and frequent stops.
  • Check the air in your tires. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Underinflated tires make your vehicle work harder and use more gas.  The tire pressure required for your vehicle can be typically found in the owner’s manual as well as on the driver’s side door jamb or glove box.
  • Reduce the weight. Don’t carry unnecessary weight in your vehicle, especially on top.
  • Use gas with the right octane rating. Follow the manufacturer’s octane recommendation for your vehicle, which can be found in the owner’s manual. Using the proper octane allows gasoline to burn cleaner, improves fuel economy, and enables your vehicle to perform better.
  • Check that you’re using the correct oil – To avoid wasting gas, use the right grade of motor oil for your vehicle.  Synthetic oil can also help you reduce fuel consumption.

These tips will not only save you money at the pump, but they’ll also allow you to operate your vehicle more optimally, and help the environment, as well.  

As you head out on the roads for the 4th of July and summer vacation, have happy and safe travels!

–          Gary

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