10 Simple Steps to Save Gas and Improve Gas Mileage

About this time last year, when the national average price of gasoline was over $4 per gallon, many of us were obsessed with trying to squeeze as many miles as possible out of each tank of gas. 

For a while though, as gas prices fell almost as rapidly as they climbed, many of us seemed to stop caring as much about continuing to conserve gas.  After all, it’s much easier to look the other way when it costs only $20 to fill up when compared to the $45 it cost just six months earlier.

However, with the economy continuing to crumble, the job market getting worse by the day, and money getting tighter for the average family, it seems like now would be a good time to revisit those gas saving tips we tried so hard to learn last spring and summer.

Here are the 10 Simple Ways to Save Gas and Improve Gas Mileage:

  1. Don’t drive if you don’t have to.  I think it goes without saying, but if you don’t drive you don’t use gasoline.  Fairly obvious.  Assuming it’s safe, try walking or riding a bicycle instead.
  2. If you do need a vehicle to get around, try and car pool, ride share or use mass transit.  The less people we have on the road (think of all those commuters who drive by themselves every day) the less gasoline we consume.  
  3. Combine all of your small trips. Frequently turning your car on and off is pretty tough on your gas mileage, and the problem is only made worse when you’re stuck in all the stop and go traffic usually associated with short trips. If you plan ahead and combine all of those short trips and you should see an increase in gas mileage.
  4. Use moderate acceleration. When you’re sitting at a stoplight and the light turns green, remind yourself that you’re not in a drag race.  Don’t floor it and try to get to top speed as quickly as possible! At the same time, don’t go so slowly that your engine is bogged down, because that’s just as bad for your gas mileage.
  5. Try and drive near the speed limit. This is much more a rule of thumb than anything else on this list, mostly due to the fact that the optimal speed for the best gas mileage is going to vary for every make and model.  However, for the most part, the slower you drive the better gas mileage you’re going to get. So, instead of driving 75 or 80 on the highway, go ahead and cut it back closer to the speed limit.
  6. Be a smooth driver – don’t tap your brakes and try to coast whenever possible. Much like using moderate acceleration, being a smooth and consistent driver once you get the vehicle moving will keep you from wasting energy, and help you get much better gas mileage.
  7. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under inflated tires tend to reduce your car’s gas mileage; think of all the extra work you have to put in when you’re riding a bike with flat tires — the same goes for your car’s engine. To get the proper tire pressure, check either your car’s owner’s manual or the side of your tires.
  8. Stop carrying around all that extra weight. According to FuelEconomy.gov, for every extra 100 pounds you carry around in your vehicle, you reduce its gas mileage by up to 2%. Do yourself a favor and get all of the unnecessary items – golf clubs, various sports equipment, etc. – out of your car.
  9. Be aerodynamic by keeping your windows up and sunroof closed. Your car is going to get its best gas mileage when it’s as aerodynamic as possible. Having your windows or sunroof open will increase the drag on your car, thus reducing its gas mileage.
  10. Reduce the amount of time you sit in idle. Here’s another no-brainer: when your car stops moving and your engine is on, your gas mileage is going to drop to zero. Try to plan ahead (especially you commuters) to avoid getting stuck in traffic, using drive thrus, etc.

Since you probably practiced some of these habit in the not so distant past, it’ll be pretty easy for you to pick up where you left off.  For those of you who are new drivers or were slow to get on the gas conservation movement, try to incorporate a couple of these tips over the next few days.  I think you’ll be surprised at both how easy these tips are to follow and how much you’ll end up saving in the long run.

Do you have any other suggestions or tips?  Please feel free to leave a comment below!


  1. These tips are very useful.

    The problem that will arise now that the price has dropped is that people no longer care as much.

    I see people use their cars to nip to the shop when if they had walked it still would have only taken 5 mins.

    Unfortunately this is the attitude of most people.

    I use a lot of your tips already and thank you for the others. I run a business and any saving on fuel is a bonus!

  2. Great tips!

    Here’s another: use the recommended grade of motor oil. Helps only a little but it’s the little things that matter.

  3. Use synthetic oil, change your air filter, change your fuel filter, change oil more often on a car with a lot of mileage, make sure spark plugs are good, and wires that lead to them. instead of waiting at the drive thru for your food, park car and go inside by foot. PEACE PS shut off car if you know you will have to wait more than a minute somewhere.

  4. oh, if your check engine light is on, and you are getting bad mileage, it could be an oxygen sensor or O2 sensor.


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