How to Reduce Fuel Consumption


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, - March 7, 2022

With the seemingly ever-rising prices of gasoline due to market conditions and world events, engine fuel consumption is a concern for most drivers on the road these days.

Because the price at the pump is affecting more people every day, many are looking for ways to cut consumption and costs. This article will discuss tips to minimize fuel consumption.

Updated March 7, 2022

Tips to Reduce Fuel Consumption

Here are some tips concerning how you drive, what you have in your car, and maintenance issues that let you get as much bang for every buck you spend on fuel.

  • Drive only when needed. The most impactful way to reduce fuel consumption is to simply drive your car less. Drive your car only when you really need to. If you only need to travel a few blocks, consider walking or even riding a bicycle. Not only will you save money at the pump, but the exercise will also certainly do you some good. Is driving unavoidable? Make a plan to combine trips. You may save both gas and stress in the process.
  • Avoid idling. When you do need to drive your car, make sure you avoid idling whenever possible. When your car is running, but not moving, you're effectively getting 0 miles per gallon. So if your car will remain stationary for more than a minute or so, switch the engine off if it is safe to do so.
  • Accelerate (and brake) steadily. While driving, always apply steady and consistent pressure to your car's accelerator pedal. A heavy foot will always result in reduced gas mileage and poor fuel consumption. Drive a turbocharged car? Try developing a better feel to avoid having the turbo activate unnecessarily.
  • Watch your speed. Try to drive at or near the speed limit. The optimal traveling speed for every make and model vehicle is different. However, the faster you drive, the worse your gas mileage and fuel consumption will be. Drive as fast as you need to in order to maintain a safe driving speed.
  • Coast when possible. Constantly accelerating and braking only wastes fuel and reduces your car's fuel consumption. So, whenever possible, coast and avoid burning excess fuel. This takes a little practice but can be a great way to increase the fuel economy of your vehicle.
  • Use cruise control on the highway. Cruise control means that your car will be going at a constant velocity. Controlling the acceleration reduces the amount of work your engine does, and therefore it uses less gas. Assuming it's safe to do so given driving conditions, consider using cruise control to save gas.
  • Lower the drag on your car. Are you driving around town or on the freeway with a roof box or cargo carrier when you don't have to? It's a sure bet that you're cutting into your fuel economy figures with unnecessary drag. These types of accessories can have a big effect on your car's aerodynamics.
  • Keep the windows closed. Keeping your windows down while driving creates more drag and wind resistance for your automobile. If you're driving at speeds of less than 35 mph, it is usually okay to keep the windows down. However, at higher speeds, you should keep the windows up in order to reduce drag and improve fuel consumption.
  • Minimize air conditioning. There will be times, of course, when summer heat will cause you to use the air conditioning system. However, consider using the AC in moderation when possible. Alternatively, your vehicle's regular fan settings could provide you with ventilation to keep you comfortable.
  • Replace dirty air filters. Dirty air filters force your engine to work much harder than it has to, resulting in worse fuel economy. So, make sure you follow the manufacturer's recommendation for periodically changing out the air filter. A clean air filter allows your engine to perform more efficiently and also helps you save money at the pump.
  • Maintain proper tire inflation. Check your car owner's manual and always ensure your tires are inflated to the proper air pressure level. Improperly inflated tires can reduce your car's fuel economy by up to five percent in some cases. Not sure what pressure to use? Check the plate stamped on your driver's side doorjamb rather than the PSI rating on your tire's sidewall. Your local gas station will likely have an air pump that you can use if you're a paying customer. Consider buying an inexpensive pressure gauge before doing so.
  • Reduce weight in the vehicle. Get rid of any unnecessary items in your car's trunk or other areas of the vehicle. For every 100 pounds of weight in the vehicle, your car's fuel economy decreases by about one or two percent. By making sure your vehicle remains as light as possible, you can improve the fuel consumption of your vehicle and save money on your fuel bill

Maintenance Issues That Cause Bad Gas Mileage

Oftentimes, there are some problems with your car that cause you to have reduced gas mileage. There are five key issues that you can have your mechanic look at in order to fix your mileage problem. These issues stem from:

  • Old spark plugs
  • Clogged air filters
  • Bad oxygen sensors
  • Fuel injection system problems
  • Poor tire condition

These problems as a whole can be the biggest combined reason as to why your car is using up a lot of fuel, while not putting out a far distance. The air filters are most important because clogged air filters can reduce gas mileage by up to 20%. The tires are something easy that you can do yourself, but that will also be the lowest increase at 3-5%. If you implement a lot of these subsequent tips, these percentages add up quickly.

Consider A Newer Hybrid Car or EV

The newest hybrids get impressive fuel economy. For example, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is rated at up to 40 mpg overall, and some electric cars can get over 100 MPGe. EVs with the longest range can offer over 300 miles of driving without a drop of gas and may qualify for a federal tax credit and state plug-in rebates.

Unlike internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EVs and plug-ins are often eligible for manufacturer incentives you can't get otherwise. For example, the Kia Niro EV now offers over $9,000 in lease cash. Depending on the latest car incentives, you may even be able to take advantage of 0% financing when buying.

Top EV, PHEV, and Hybrid Car Deals

The CarsDirect editorial team is dedicated to providing our readers with the latest on new and used cars, expert opinions on which vehicles make the grade, and all the fun stuff in between.

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