The Top 10 Easiest Ways to Save Gas

With the recent drop in oil and gas prices, I’m sure many of us have forgotten the good driving habits we learned when we were paying $1 more a gallon of gas.  It’s amazing how quickly we forget to pay attention to our gas mileage when our gas bill is cut by a third. 

Now that the summer’s ridiculously high gas prices are pretty much right around the corner, I figured it was time for a refresher course on the best/easiest ways for you to either not use gas or get better gas mileage when you do have to drive.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Easiest Ways for You to Save Gas and Get Better Gas Mileage:

  1. Don’t drive if you don’t have to.  This one comes first because it’s simply the most obvious; if you don’t drive you’re going to save gas.  If you can get away with walking or riding a bike to get where you need to go, by all means, do it.
  2. If you do have to drive, try and car pool, ride share or mass transit.  If you can get a whole bunch of people packed into a car or a bus, the total amount of gas used is going to be a lot less than if everyone took their own cars.  Plus, if you can get someone else to drive, you’re going to save your own money!
  3. Combine all of your small trips. Continuously starting and turning off your car is pretty tough on your gas mileage, not to mention all of the stop and go driving associated with short trips. Go ahead and combine all of those short trips and you should see an increase in gas mileage.
  4. Use moderate acceleration. When the light turns green or it’s your turn to go, don’t floor it and try to get to top speed as quickly as possible. That being said 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 one is a bit tricky because a car’s optimal gas mileage is going to vary by make and model, but for the most part, the slower you drive the better gas mileage you’re going to get. So, instead of driving 75 on the highway, go ahead and cut it back to 55 or 60.
  6. Be a smooth driver – don’t tap your brakes and coast when possible. Much like using moderate acceleration, being a smooth and consistent driver once you’re moving will help you significantly improve your gas mileage.
  7. Make sure you have the proper tire pressure. Under inflated tires tend to reduce your car’s gas mileage. To get the proper tire pressure, check either your car’s owner’s manual or the side of your tires.
  8. Get rid of all the extra weight. For every extra 100 pounds you carry around in your car, you’re going to reduce your car’s gas mileage by up to 2%. That means you need to get all of the unnecessary items – golf clubs, CD cases, various sports equipment – out of your car.
  9. Be as aerodynamic as possible – keep windows up and sunroof closed. Obviously, your car’s going to get its best gas mileage when it’s as aerodynamic as possible. Having your windows open will increase the drag on your car, thus reducing its gas mileage.
  10. Reduce the amount of time you sit in idle. Surprise, surprise, when your car stops moving when your engine is running it’s gas mileage drops to zero. Avoid getting stuck in traffic, using drive thrus, etc., and only drive if you’re going to keep moving.

If you can incorporate some of these into your driving habits (or get reacquainted with them if you’ve forgotten), you’ll definitely see a nice increase in your gas mileage and a corresponding savings at the pump.  It’s better to learn these habits now while gas is relatively “cheap” because there’s no telling how high prices are going to get this summer.

So, do yourself a favor and bookmark this page, email it to yourself and all of your friends.

Comments

  1. this has got to be the biggest load of crap i have ever seen!

    • you’re the biggest load of crap! every little thing helps. You probably don’t even own a car and have to call your friends for rides everywhere like a loser!

  2. Why do you say that?

  3. Sometimes I almost have to wonder how much these little things really do help. But, at this point I might consider anything if it will help.

  4. Thanks for the comment. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to increase your gas mileage by 40% by doing this stuff (unless of course, you’re simply a terrible driver/gas waster) however, it certainly isn’t unrealistic to expect to up your fuel economy by 10%.

    If you spend $1,000 annually on gas, a 10% increase in gas mileage will net you $100 cash, which all things considered is a pretty good savings.

  5. I’ve been experimenting with fuel economy:

    http://davidjottings.blogspot.com/

    (NB – the consumption refers to UK gallons!)

  6. ItalysBadBoy says

    This is actually a pretty good list. The only thing I can see missing is to have your car running at it’s best, tuneups and balanced wheels, alignment, etc. etc. This would at least be my number 10 on this list.

    Personally I keep my tires at the maximum listed on the tire sidewalk, but I could see where people wouldn’t want to list that tip. You increase cabin noise and you lose some handling qualities.

    Finally what seems to be missing from all these types of list is the tip to check your mpg every tank.

    IBB

  7. Brian Carr says

    Thanks for the comment. You’re right, making sure your car is kept in good condition is certainly a great way to maintain peak gas mileage.

    In terms of tires; I’m very leery of recommending anything other than the tire and tire pressure recommended by the car’s manufacturer.

    Your last point about checking your gas mileage each tank is a great idea and is something I will write about in the future.

  8. Another tip that can be useful is coasting whenever possible. Might not be too useful in an automatic transmission, but in my manual Scion xB I went from around 31 to 36mpg by adding just that to my routine.

    Say a light just turned red a block away. I’ll pop into neutral and start coasting, slowly losing speed as I approach. Other cars might zip past me just to hit their brakes at the light, while I either gently brake to stop or even better, coast through the intersection a few seconds after the light turns green and never need to brake.

    Depending on how aerodynamic the car is, you can coast quite a bit. The engine uses minimal fuel at idle, so you save that way. You just have to counter with driver safety and the additional wear on the clutch if you take it to the extreme.

    As to the tire pressure, your tires should have the maximum safe pressure listed on the side. If you choose to inflate above the norm (which is well below this number), always drive around for a while to get the tires heated up first. If you inflate to near max when cold, just driving around will then heat it up and exceed a safe level. Once warm you can inflate them a bit higher and lower your rolling resistance/traction. But you also lower your traction in a bad way, you will have less grip in turns and when stopping.

    • This is an excellent tip. You can save a substantial amount of gas by accelerating and decelerating gently rather than going from Zero to 60 in a few seconds, or slamming on the brakes to meet a stop or red light. In fact, by doing so, you’re actually damaging your car – or at the very least wearing out brake pads much quicker than you would if you drove mindful of starting and stopping gradually.

  9. this helped, with my driver ed hw. thnks

  10. Nice article. But most of the solutions given are either very inconvenient or not doable at all!

    Taking care of all these things totally takes the pleasure and convenience out of driving a car. 🙁

    Why not walk instead? 🙂

  11. Walking is for quadrupeds. If I must walk to get someplace, I’d just as soon stay home.
    Checking gas mileage every tank is a fabulous idea! I have found my milage to vary as much as 3 mpg depending on where I fill up. No more Valero or Citgo!

  12. Hey, when are we going to hear something about natural gas conversions? No one in the northeast is doing them, but they HAVE to be done to get us off gasoline. Natural gas will run in gas or diesel engines with little modification and milage improves as the cost of driving falls, so who out there is qualified and willing to do this for the rest of us? Needs to happen soon!

  13. KAREEM Idris says

    What a nice way!

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