How to get better gas mileage – Part 1

How to get better gas mileage – Part 1

A person’s home is usually the biggest drain on their bank account.  You have rent/mortgage, home owner’s insurance, gas or oil bills, electricity, water, etc.  These bills add up, and you can bring the prices on a few of them down, but not all.  Most people who are strapped for money or looking to save more look to cut these expenses to free up some money.


Rather than cut back on expenses, cut back on the need for expense.  Let’s take a look at your car.  The costs include payments (if that), auto insurance, maintenance, gas, and normal repairs.  You can get cheaper car insurance by shopping around and being a good driver.  Payments can be renegotiated in some cases for car loans.  Maintenance, gas , and repairs on the other hand, can be brought down with a cheap oil change.   Beyond that, here is our top ten list of ways to get better gas mileage.

Check your air filter

The air filter is one of the easiest parts of the engine to get into. Most cars have a simple intake slot that you can pull the air filter right out of and reinstall very easily.

Try locating your air filter, then just give it a little once over.  If it looks dirty, it may be time to change it.  A clogged or dirty air filter makes your engine work harder to get power into the system.  A really dirty filter can easy cause the car to idly wrongly or stall out.  Very quick and cheap (~$10) fix.

Lose some weight

Well maybe not you, but the car should lose weight.  Do you have a full trunk or stuff piling up in your back seat?  Because of this weight, you have to push farther on the gas pedal to get going.  This makes you use more gas (spend more money).

An extra 100 pounds in your car can diminish your gas efficiency by 2%.  This means you are saving about 3-7 cents per gallon for every 100 pounds you remove from your car.

Roof Rack Effect on MPG

Drop the roof rack!

The roof adds weight in addition to causing more drag on your car.  Auto makers designed your car to be sleek and aerodynamic.  Why are you putting something on your roof that completely ruins all the hard work they put into designing your automobile?  The drag from an EMPTY roof rack can drop MPG by about 12%.  Throw a mountain bike up there and your fuel efficiency tanks out by over 25%.  Bigger bulkier items will kill your fuel efficiency.  Use them when you need it, but take down the rack when not in use!


Check your tire pressure

How about a free tip!  Do you have a tire air pressure gauge?  They are pretty cheap and you can find them at a gas station or around any Walmart oil change station.   Lots of gas stations have the gauge attached to a free, or quarter operated air compressor.  Next time you head to the dreaded gas station, swing around back by the air compressor to check your car’s correct PSI.  You will see the recommended PSI levels on the tire, close to the rim.  Make sure it isn’t too low, but do not over fill it.  Low tire pressure can significantly lessen the MPG of your car.


Get an oil change

There is no need to spend a lot of money on an overpriced oil change.  There are so many competitors in the quick oil change industry that everyone is throwing out great discounted oil changes, but you have to look for the deal.

Keeping your car properly maintained can increase your MPG by 4%.  Let’s put that in dollars and cents for you.

Let’s assume that you get gas for $3.79 a gallon.  If you drive 20,000 miles in a year, and get 25MPG, then you spend $3,032 a year on gas alone.

Now we are going to keep your car properly maintained with oil changes.  Gas prices still are $3.79 (sorry nothing we know of can change that).  Make believe you still drive 20,000 miles a year.  4% better gas mileage thanks to your oil change gets you about 26 MPG.  With our new mileage, you spend $2,915 a year on gas.  That is a savings of $117 a year!  You’ll need 6 oil changes that year.  Use some oil change coupons to get the price down to about $15 per oil change and you’re looking at $90 a year.  You’re still saving money on oil changes!

That’s all for today’s lesson on getting better miles per gallon for your car.  Later this week we’ll be posting part two of our “How to get better gas mileage” series.