Getting better gas mileage depends on many things, including the type of car you have and how fast you cruise around (looking at you, speed demon!). There are dozens of ways to improve your fuel economy, reduce your footprint, and save money whether your ride is new or vintage.
Preventative maintenance can improve your fuel economy in a dramatic way.
- Fat tires: Keep your tires fat and happy by maintaining the proper pressure. How happy will this make you? The EPA says you can improve gas mileage by 3% with properly inflated tires, enough for a free tank of gas per year. Bonus: it makes your tires last longer and safety improves with properly inflated tires.
- Tune it up: Basic tuning can improve your costs by about 4% a year, and bigger fixes make a bigger difference: replacement of a faulty oxygen sensor can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.
- The right stuff: Choosing the right oil and fuel for your car can improve fuel economy by 1-2% each year.
Head back to basics and learn to drive better to reduce your emissions and save money. Here are some ways to make your drive time cleaner and greener:
- Slow it down: It might not be as fun as speeding around town, but the US Department of Energy says that every 5 mph over 50 mph can lower gas mileage by 7% or more.
- Anticipate traffic flow: Choosing slower, steadier driving (for both town and highway routes) reduces the need to accelerate and brake quickly, which helps you anticipate danger too — because the greenest car is the one that doesn’t need to be replaced!
- Smooth and steady: If you have a manual transmission, listen to the revving of the engine and be sure to shift at the right time (not too soon or too late, both of which increase fuel use). If driving an automatic, make sure the RPMs don’t rev too high by choosing slower accelerations.
- Don’t idle: Forget that old school rule about warming up your car in the winter, it’s just not true. Be sure to turn your car off when you’re stopped for more than a minute — no need to burn fuel while your friend is fetching your latte.
- Too much junk in your trunk: Aside from safety items like jumper cables and a spare tire, who needs to carry around extra baggage? Not you, green machine!