how to improve gas mileage and save money on gas

are you looking for ways to improve gas mileage? these tips will help you increase your car's fuel efficiency and also reduce your carbon footprint.

how to improve gas mileage

worried about the current state of your wallet? as gas prices continue to rise rapidly, it’s more important than ever to know how to improve your gas mileage and save money on gas.

keeping the engine maintained and serviced is a vital step to improving fuel efficiency. there are also some small modifications you can make to boost gas mileage. every step taken to improve engine efficiency helps you get more miles from the fuel. 

today, we review ten simple steps you can take today. with a few adjustments, you should see better gas mileage immediately.

1. reduce your speed

reduce speed car

you don’t need to drive like a grandma to save fuel. while you don’t want to be the slowest person on the highway, there’s no reason to race either.

if you cut your speed by 5 mph, you can save up to 7 percent of fuel. so, instead of hitting the highway at 65 mph, consider scaling it back to 60 mph instead. 

in addition to reducing your speed, watch the acceleration too. trying to beat your 0-60 mph time will only waste fuel and make you look arrogant too. 

2. stay off the brake

push brake pedal

are you the type of person that rests your left foot on the brake out of habit? if so, it’s time to learn a new way of driving.

not only can this bad practice lead to premature brake wear, but it’s terrible for the fuel economy. put your left foot on the floor and get back to one foot driving to save some fuel. 

3. don’t idle unnecessarily

cars idle

when your car is running but not moving, you are getting 0 mpg. there’s nothing worse than this to diminish the fuel economy rating. fuel continues to be used, even though you aren’t making any progress.

if you are waiting for someone, roll the windows down and turn off the engine. it might even do you some good to enjoy the fresh air. with a modern vehicle, your engine might be equipped with the stop-start technology that does this for you when activated. 

4. reduce vehicle load

trash in trunk

if you are carrying an excessive amount of junk in your trunk space or truck bed, it’s time to lighten the load. for every 100 pounds of cargo you carry, you can expect the fuel economy to be reduced by 1- to 2-percent.

only carry what’s needed in your vehicle to ensure maximum fuel efficiency. you can also make sure the kids carry all of their gear inside with them after getting home from school. 

5. get a wheel alignment

wheel alignment

as you hit road imperfections and potholes with your vehicle, the wheels become misaligned. to keep the car driving straight on the road, more effort is required, thereby reducing the fuel economy.

if the steering wheel is off-center or the car is pulling to one side, it’s time for a wheel alignment. not only will this simple step improve gas mileage, but it also reduces wear to the tires and suspension components. 

related: average wheel alignment cost (front, rear & 4-wheel)

6. check tire pressure

check car tire pressure

many cars are driving down the road with the wrong amount of air pressure in them. this affects the amount of fuel the car uses and leads to premature tire wear. 

if your tires are underinflated by just 7.5 pounds, you could experience a 2.8-percent drop in mileage. with a tire gauge, it’s easy to see how much pressure is in the tire. you should check them at least once a month and fill them up as needed. 

related: how to find the correct tire pressure for your car

7. replace a broken gas cap

car gas cap

if the gas cap on your vehicle is missing or broken, you might not think it’s a big deal. this small part can make a big difference in the fuel economy.

not only are you allowing fumes to escape that harm the environment, but you are losing valuable driving miles. additionally, a broken gas cap can cause the check engine light to come on. 

8. service engine

service car

for your engine to run its best, you must follow all of the recommended service suggestions outlined in the owner’s manual. regular oil changes, spark plug replacement and air filter cleaning should all be a part of your regular routine.

if you have some mechanical knowledge, many of the basic maintenance tasks can be done in your home garage. it’s also important to make sure you use the recommended parts outlined by the manufacturer, including the right oil viscosity. 

9. reduce drag

roof rack

auto manufacturers work hard to ensure the vehicles are aerodynamic when they leave the factory. to maintain superior fuel economy numbers, the vehicle needs to cut through the air as smoothly as possible.

after you purchase the car, you install roof storage boxes and bike racks on the top, plus open all of the windows and sunroof. all of these steps increase drag, which reduces fuel efficiency. the harder the engine has to work to maintain speed, the more fuel the vehicle uses. remove external holders when you aren’t using them and opt for air conditioning instead. 

10. choose a better route

car navigation

modern navigation systems let you choose the path based on fuel efficiency. even if the new route adds a minute or two to your daily commute, the savings could quickly add up.

additionally, you want to avoid traveling on rough roads or down dirt paths. the additional wheel bounce requires more energy from the vehicle. not only is the ride uncomfortable, but you will have to apply some additional throttle, thereby wasting gas. 

consider the car you’re driving

while all of these steps will help you maximize the fuel economy in your vehicle, they won’t change what the car is capable of. you can only get out of the vehicle what it was intended for.

to get better fuel efficiency overall, you might consider what type of vehicle you are driving. modern gas- and diesel-powered cars have come a long way, with many models providing superior fuel efficiency.

you can also do a change in your car’s software to improve the gas mileage, but this is not legal in many states and it can also cause issues with your warranty or insurance.

however, you might also think about upgrading to a hybrid or electric car if you want to save money on fuel. while there are different types of hybrid and electric vehicles, the main goal with all of them is to create more efficiency.