How to Improve Your Gas Mileage and Save Money on Fuel

Does it ever feel like you spend nearly all of your time inserting your credit card into a gas pump and pumping fuel? If you feel that way, besides wasting time, you are wasting a lot of money as well. Getting a handle on this costly relationship with your local gas station pumps can be achieved by improving your gas mileage. Below, we have provided you with 25 tips to help improve the fuel economy of your car as well as save you some money on fuel.

25 Tips to Improve Gas Mileage


1. Find the Best Deals on Fuel

Lowering the price of what you pay for fuel is the beginning point of saving money on fuel. Though it might only be a few cents that you save, that savings adds up over the span of several tanks of gas. Wholesale outlets like Sam’s Club and Costco tend to have lower prices. In addition, some grocery store chains give you a discount on your fill-up in relation to how much you spend on groceries. You can sometimes save up enough points go get a free tank of gas each month.

What to do:

Keep your eyes open for lowest prices and discounts along your common routes, take advantage of points and discount offers, and search the web or use apps that provide the locations for lower gas prices.



2. Fuel-Up in the Morning

Gas stations store their fuel in underground tanks where it stays cooler, but as the day passes, the ground becomes warmer. It is a known fact that petroleum molecules expand as the temperature rises. That expansion of petroleum molecules makes a gallon of gas less dense with every degree the temperature rises. Consequently, if you fuel up when the fuel is warmer, then you will put less fuel in your gas tank than if you fuel up when the temperature is lower.

What to do:

Rather than fueling up in the afternoon or evening, try to leave for work 15 to 20 minutes earlier when your fuel gauge is approaching the low point so that you can stop and refuel in the morning.



3. Don’t Top-Off Your Tank

Just about everybody does it. The pump clicks off automatically and then you keep tapping the handle to squeeze a little bit more fuel into your tank to top it off. Some people do it to round of the gallons and some people do it to round off the price. Regardless of why you do it, it really isn’t a good idea. Topping off your tank wastes fuel and you pay the same price for the fuel you waste as you do for the fuel your car uses.

What to do:

Trust the auto-shutoff at the pump and don’t top off your tank.



4. Use the Right Fuel for Your Car

Though higher octane fuel makes some motors run more efficiently, the same can’t be said for all motors. Auto manufacturers test the various types and sizes of motors they put in their cars extensively in order to determine which fuel type, or level of octane makes the motor perform with the most efficiency. Running your car with the fuel that is rated for your specific automobile will make it run more efficiently and provide you with better fuel economy.

What to do:

Only use the fuel that your automobile is rated to use.



5. Purchase Gas on Wednesdays

Although it won’t always be true, especially around holidays, gas tends to be at its lowest price on Wednesdays. There isn’t any set rule for this, but is something that statistical data bears out. You can certainly test the statistics yourself to see if it is true at the stations nearest you. In addition, filling up on a Wednesday might allow you to avoid longer lines at the pump.

What to do:

Fuel up on Wednesday mornings to take advantage of this statistical savings.



6. Keep Your Gas-Cap Fully Sealed

Gas-caps are designed with rubber seals that prevent air from entering into the gas tank. Over time, these seals wear down and allow air to enter into your gas tank. The air is passed on through your fuel lines and into your engine. This additional air causes your engine to burn more fuel. Most modern models of automobiles have a sensor built into the gas-cap that warns you when its integrity has been compromised and you need to replace it.

What to do:

Pay attention to the seal on your gas tank to make sure that it seals properly each time you fill up and check to make sure that the rubber gaskets are not cracked or broken down.



7. Watch the Weight

If you have ever been overweight or have walked carrying something heavy, you know how much more effort you have to put into walking. Your car works in the very same way. With more weight, the motor in your car or truck has to work harder to carry the extra load. Your automobile comes with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This is the maximum amount of weight that your vehicle is designed to carry. Pushing your vehicle to carry weight above that limit will make your motor work harder and reduce fuel efficiency.

What to do:

Don’t overload the GVWR of your automobile and take care to stay below this limit to get the best fuel economy.



8. Inflate Your Tires Properly

One of the easiest and most important contributors to the smooth and efficient operation of your vehicle has to do with the pressure in your tires. When the inflation pressure in your tires is too low, it not only causes a quicker breakdown of your tires but also creates more friction. Your motor has to work harder to overcome this added friction and that decreases your fuel economy. Keeping your tires properly inflated is something that is easy to check and very easy to correct as well.

What to do:

Check the pressure in your tires every time you refuel your car and inflate them to the proper levels.



9. Reduce Drag

Automobiles are designed to be aerodynamic, which means that the contours of the body’s design have been optimized for air to flow over the vehicle with the least amount of drag possible. When you add on luggage carriers, storage compartments or other accessories that break up this optimized design, you create drag. Drag causes your engine to have to work harder in order to perform at the level you expect from it. A harder working engine burns more fuel.

What to do:

Avoid adding on accessories to your car that will disrupt the airflow and contours of your car’s aerodynamic design if you hope to maintain better fuel economy.



10. Use the Right Motor Oil

Just like auto manufacturers test fuel types, they also test motor oil types to see which ones make their motor functions at its optimum level of efficiency. The user or operator manual of your vehicle will typically have a section dedicated to a list of motor oils that are recommended for the car as well as alternatives during certain conditions or whenever the recommended types are not available. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines when you purchase motor oil and making certain that the right motor oil is put into your car when you take it in for an oil change will help you get the most efficiency out of your car’s engine.

What to do:

Read and follow the recommended motor oil types included in the operator’s manual of your vehicle and be sure to pass this information along to whoever changes your oil.



11. Avoid After-Market Enhancement Gizmos

Those who manufacture and sell after-market enhancement gizmos and gimmicks are in the business of making money, so they will certainly promise all sort of performance improvements and benefits that will be gained from adding their product to your car. Though these products might operate well in theory, their real-world affect on the performance of your automobile might be a completely different story. Unless the manufacturer truly endorses the use of these after-market products in your specific make and model, it is best to stay away from these gizmos and gimmicks if you want to maintain better fuel efficiency.

What to do:

Do not add after-market enhancements unless they are endorsed by the vehicle manufacturer to work in the specific make and model of your car.



12. Consider Remapping ECU

Back in the day, you could adjust the performance and efficiency of your motor by adjusting the carburetor. Today, cars are equipped with an engine control unit (ECU) computer. This unit is what is used to give your car a tune-up and to fine-tune the motor of your automobile. Your engine is probably set to control the level of exhaust emissions, but it can be tweaked to provide better fuel economy as well. Be aware that remapping might cause your automobile to be under the proper emissions standards and can be expensive.

What to do:

You can have your ECU remapped to help gain better fuel efficiency, but be aware of its drawbacks, which might not be very cost effective in the long-run.



13. Keep Your Fuel Injectors Clean

Many heart attacks are caused by the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels of the heart. This buildup chokes off the flow of blood and overworks the demands of your heart for more blood to pump. Carbon buildup, carbon deposits and other debris in your fuel tank and fuel line can eventually clog and limit the efficiency of your fuel injectors in the very same way.

This clogging limits fuel efficiency and can eventually lead to a pretty serious breakdown of your engine. Keeping your fuel injectors clean by using fuel injector cleaner in your car’s fuel tank a few times a year can help prevent this buildup. In addition, an occasional ultra-sonic cleaning of your car’s fuel injectors can also help improve their performance and the overall performance of your car.

What to do:

Keep your fuel injectors clean by adding fuel injector cleaner to a tank of fuel after each oil change. Consider ultrasonic cleaning on a periodic basis as well.



14. Replace Air Filter Regularly

If you have ever used a vacuum cleaner, then you are aware at how an obstruction in the hose can cause the vacuum suction to decrease dramatically. Obstructions in your air filter have the same effect on the performance of your car. If you car cannot suck in enough air for a proper fuel/air mixture, it burns a richer mixture with a great deal more fuel than is necessary. Consequently, with a dirty air filter, you burn more fuel with every piston stroke. Allow your engine to breathe and maintain a better fuel/air mixture by changing your air filter on a regular basis.

What to do:

Clean or change your air filter along with every oil change in order to get the very best performance out of your car’s engine.



15. Equip Your Car with Electric, Thermatic Fan

The cooling fan on older cars was belt driven off of the crankshaft, but modern cars tend to be equipped with an electric, thermatic fan which runs off of your car’s electrical system. The old belt driven style of fan creates drag on your engine and takes away a portion of its performance. If you have a newer model car, it is probably already equipped with the electric, thermatic fan, but if it is not, you can gain some fuel efficiency by changing to this type of fan and ditching the belt driven style.

What to do:

Replace your old belt-driven, cooling fan with an electric, thermatic fan that runs off of the electrical system instead of creating drag on your motor’s crankshaft.



16. Choose Your Wheels Carefully

A flashy set of wheels or rims might add some style and elegance to your car, but the wrong ones can kill fuel economy. Choosing lighter weight alloy wheels and rims can make a difference when it comes to saving on weight and increasing fuel economy. However, if you use these lighter weight rims and then upsize them to larger rims, you will add that weight right back in or even increase it defeating the purpose of lightening the load.

What to do:

Choose lighter weight allow wheels and rims, but limit any size increases to avoid adding back or increasing the weight.



17. Avoid Prolonged Idling

You need to be aware that running your engine on idle uses up between ½ gallon and 1 full gallon of fuel every hour. The temptation, especially on cold mornings, is to start your car and allow it to idle for 10 to 15 minutes to allow it to warm up. By doing this, you could be wasting up to a quart of gas daily. In colder climates, either keep your car inside so it can start warmer or equip it with an engine block heater that you can plug in every night. This make your car start easier, give your engine longer life and allow you to start your car and be on your way within a few minutes.

What to do:

If your car is going to be immobile and idling for more than 30 seconds, it is better to turn off the engine and restart if you want better fuel economy for your engine.



18. Use Cruise Control

When you get out on the open road, one of the best devices on your car for achieving optimum fuel economy is the cruise control. Not only does can this help you to avoid a speeding ticket because you slowly increased your speed over the speed limit because of that guy ahead of you, but it helps to average out the small accelerations that are inevitable when it comes to open-road driving. Unless weather conditions are such that having greater control over your speed and braking are necessary, allow you cruise control to maintain an average speed.

What to do:

Get better fuel economy by allowing your cruise control to average out your speed rather than the periodic accelerations that come with manually controlling your speed.



19. Drive In the Highest Possible Gear

Mashing down on the accelerator to get that extra surge of power when climbing a steep hill or passing another car is necessary at times, but it can destroy fuel economy if you do it too often. That extra bit of power comes from your car downshifting the transmission to create more torque, but along with that torque comes a greater consumption of fuel. Driving in the highest possible gear without putting undue stress on your car’s engine will help to improve fuel economy as well.

What to do:

Drive in the highest possible gear and avoid downshifting to get more torque except when it is absolutely necessary.



20. Slow Down

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that higher speeds burn more fuel. The two fuel consumption issues we just discussed are typically related to trying to run at higher speeds. One of the best ways to save fuel is achieved as you accelerate away from a stoplight or stop-sign. Mashing down on the pedal and attempting to test your car’s 0 to 60 rating every time you move forward will use up a great deal of fuel, where easing forward at a slower and steady rate will help save fuel, especially when you are driving inside the city limits and repeating this numerous times during your commute.

What to do:

Drive like you have an egg between your foot and the accelerator pedal. If you press too hard, you will break the egg; your nest egg.



21. Be Sensible About Air Conditioning

When it’s hot, some people like to blast their auto air conditioning at a level that would allow them to hang meat inside their car until the car cools off enough that they can lower the temperature to a comfortable level. Unless you are transporting sides of beef for the local butcher shop, it is best to find a comfortable setting on your car’s thermostat and allow it to do its job.

In addition, studies indicate that it is best to roll down your windows and turn off your air conditioning in stop and go traffic rather than adding that additionally stress and inefficiency to an idling engine. On the other hand, your car can function with greater efficiency with the windows rolled up and the air conditioner turned on when you are out on the highway.

What to do:

Roll your windows down in stop and go traffic and turn off your AC, but roll up those windows and turn on the AC when you’re out on the highway.



22. Organize Your Trips

If you prefer spending a lot of money buying fuel, one of the best ways is to make several trips to run a single errand rather than completing several errands in a single trip. Organizing your trip to get in as many stops along the way without having to double-back or return to the house and leave again. This might take a little extra thought and some communication with others but it will save you money when it comes to using up fuel and higher fuel costs.

What to do:

Work at completing as many errands as possible in a single trip rather than making several trips to complete individual errands.



23. Avoid Stoplights and Stop Signs

Idling and acceleration are two major factors that suck away fuel economy. Stoplights and stop signs are some of the biggest contributors to these two factors, because they involve both. You can save fuel by avoiding or drastically reducing the number of stoplights and stop signs you encounter during your commute. Study and plan out your route so that you avoid them and have more open-road, continuous driving on your commute.

What to do:

Map out routes that reduce the number of stoplights and stop signs you must pass through with each trip in order to save fuel wastes from idling and accelerating.



24. Don’t Drive Out of Your Way for Cheaper Gas

You know how it works. Your best friend or cousin Jerry calls from across town and says that he ran across a gas station that always sells gas for five cents per gallon less than any other station in town. Even though you have to drive well out of your way to get to that cheaper fuel, you are a regular customer because you value saving that five cents per gallon. The problem is that you probably spent what you saved or even spent more than you saved by driving out of your way to buy that cheaper gas.

What to do:

If you find discount gas along your regular routes, by all means, use them, but don’t spend fuel to go out of your way to save fuel; that’s just crazy.



25. Alter Commute Times

Besides stoplights and stop signs, the biggest waste of fuel tends to come along with stop and go traffic during rush hour. Many companies and employers have programs to help reduce traffic by altering the times when various commuters enter or leave work. This not only allows you to avoid the frustration of rush hour traffic, but also increases fuel economy. If your company does not provide such a program, consider leaving early for work or leaving work later in order to avoid heavier traffic times.

What to do:

Alter your commuting times in order to avoid both the frustration and fuel wasting stop and go traffic of a rush hour commute.




Efficient fuel consumption by your engine is the most effective way to improve fuel economy and your overall gas mileage. By following the 25 tips we outlines above, you can save money on fuel through better economy as well as by spending less whenever you purchase fuel. Take advantage of these tips and put an end to those all too frequent meetings with the credit card machine at your local gas station.

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