Surprising Ways To Get Better Gas Mileage
While gas prices are (finally) going down, we’re all still feeling the recent pinch at the pump. While fuel prices are down even slightly, it’s a good time to talk about how we can get better gas mileage and minimize the time — and amount — we have to spend at the pumps. With that in mind, here are some great — and maybe surprising — ways to get better gas mileage.
Your tires are one of the key ways to improve your gas mileage. Keep your tires inflated to the level that’s recommended in your car’s owner’s manual. Haven’t checked your tire pressure in a while? It’s probably low, and tires with low air pressure can make your engine work harder. When your engine works harder, it eats more fuel. And don’t over-inflate your tires to compensate, either. Over-inflation causes premature wear and tear on your tires, and that affects fuel economy, too. If you’re really serious about fuel consumption, consider buying tires that are more fuel-efficient. Those types of tires — which contain specific compounds designed to give you better fuel economy — are designed so that the tire makes less contact with the roadway as you drive. Less contact means less friction, which means more fuel efficiency.
What a Drag
Another key to helping extend your gas mileage: Don’t haul cargo on your roof if you can help it. Sure, those luggage racks and carriers look great, and they do serve a purpose. But if you’ve got the room in your interior cargo space or trunk, put your items inside. Hauling cargo on the roof of your vehicle increases wind resistance, which affects your fuel efficiency. Especially if you’re driving on the Interstate at speed, a rooftop cargo box can drag your fuel economy down by as much as 25 percent.
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Know Your Limits
Drive the speed limit. It’s safer anyway, and your vehicle will save gas. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every five miles per hour you drive over 50, it’s like paying 30 cents extra for a gallon of gas. There are, of course, times you have to drive at higher speeds — keeping with the flow of traffic on an Interstate with a 70-mph speed limit comes to mind — but if you can settle in at 55 miles per hour, you’re going to save yourself some gas mileage and money.
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