While gasoline prices have come down from the days of hovering near $4.00 a gallon, it’s still an expensive commodity and a necessity for most vehicles on the road. If you’d like to save some green, modifying your driving habits and properly maintaining your vehicle will get you more miles per gallon and more money left in your wallet. Follow these tips to drive smart and save gas money:
- Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.
- Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.
- Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
- Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multi-purpose trip.
- Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.
- Check the gas cap. Damaged, loose or missing gas caps allow gas to vaporize into the air.
- Replace dirty or clogged air filters to improve gas mileage by as much as 14 percent.
- Replace dirty spark plugs, which can reduce mileage by two miles per gallon.
- Change oil regularly and gain another mile per gallon.
- Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
- Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by 3 percent.
If you neglect routine maintenance, the final price can end up costing more than the maintenance visit might have. Keeping your car running efficiently and adjusting your driving behavior are the best ways to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy and keep more money in your pocket.