Gas costs can be a drain on your wallet – especially if you have a long commute.
Here are 10 ways to help improve your car’s fuel efficiency and save you money.
1. Check the pressure
Check your tire pressure at least once a month. Under-inflated tires burn more fuel. If tires are 8 pounds underinflated, rolling resistance of the tires increases by 5 percent. That added friction results in the engine pumping harder to push the car, and more gas being sucked out of your tank.
2. Get what you paid for
When you are filling up, keep the hose in the tank until after the pump shuts off and make sure you allow all the fuel to pour out of the nozzle. As much as a quarter of a cup can pour from the hose. That’ll be what gets you to the next pump when the needle is on E.
3. Use your cruise
When you can, use cruise control. Keeping your vehicle’s speed consistent can save you up to 6 per cent in fuel consumption on the highway.
4. Clean your battery
Corroded battery cables cause the alternator to work harder, which means you’re using more gas. Have them cleaned with each engine check-up.
5. Keep it moving
An idling car consumes half-a-gallon to one gallon of gas per hour and pumps needless CO2 into the atmosphere. The modern engine will consume less fuel turning off and re-starting than idling for extended periods.
To effectively warm an engine, simply start the engine, wait for 20 seconds, (this builds the oil pressure,) and drive away.
6. Change the filter
Change the air filter at least the set number of times outlined in the owners manual, more if you drive in dusty conditions. If you live in an area that gets a lot of pollen, this can also clog up your filter.
7. Check the sensor
If your car was built since the mid-1980s, it more than likely has an oxygen sensor in its exhaust system. It should be replaced just as you would spark plugs, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
This little device trims the fuel delivery and has a profound effect on fuel economy in the process.
8. Drive smoothly
With a light touch on the throttle and avoiding heavy braking, you can reduce both fuel consumption and wear and tear. Research suggests driving techniques can influence fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
9. Lighten your load
It doesn’t seem like much, but thinking about what you have in the car (and on the car) can make a big difference.
If you do not need something, do not pack it. Remove roof racks if not needed – they create extra wind drag. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces a typical car’s fuel economy by 1 to 2 per cent. Carrying excess weight wastes gas.
10. Choose the right octane gas for your car
Check the owner’s manual to find out what octane your engine needs. Octane ratings measure gasoline’s ability to resist engine knock. But the higher the octane, the higher the price.
Only about 6 percent of cars sold need premium gas. Still, premium gas accounts for about 10 per cent of all gas sold. Resist the urge to buy higher octane gas for “premium” performance.