How to Get the Best Gas Mileage out of Your Car

The days of filling your tank for under $30 bucks are fading like a hometown in the rearview. If cheaper gas is your destination, good luck. You'll most likely be running on fumes by the time you realize there's no going back.

The best thing you can do for the road ahead is be smart when it comes to fuel economy. If you want to squeeze out every last quarter mile from your hard earned money, there are many tips and tools at your disposal. And you may be surprised. Some of these tips will make a huge difference when it comes to saving gas.

Before You Travel

  • Try to purchase your gas at the coolest time of day. Gas is densest at these times, so you'll get more out of the volume.
  • Use your manufacturer's recommended type of motor oil to increase your gas mileage up to 2%.
  • When starting your car, you don't need to run it for more than 45 seconds. After that, you are just wasting fuel.
  • Regular tune ups can save an average of 4%.
  • Replacing a dirty air filter can increase gas mileage up to 10%.
  • Make sure tires are pressurized to the maximum limit provided by the manufacturer.
  • Traveling on deep tire tread dramatically reduces fuel efficiency. Remove unnecessary devices such as snow tires if they aren't needed.
  • Remove excess weight from car that can also reduce gas mileage.
  • When purchasing a new vehicle, look at the vehicle's rated fuel efficiency. Smaller cars are more fuel efficient, especially those with manual transmission.
  • Know the estimated cost of fuel for your trip: visit the Fuel Cost Calculator.

On the Road

  • Don't start and stop your engine multiple times. Idling for one minute consumes the same amount of gas as starting your engine.
  • The faster you travel the more gas you consume. If you travel at 55 mph you will save close to 21% more on your gas mileage versus traveling 10–15 miles over.
  • When you are approaching a hill or incline, make sure to accelerate before you reach the hill to avoid using excess gas to get the same result ON the hill.
  • Avoid driving on rough roads, they can decrease your gas mileage by 30%.
  • Did you know that if you travel at the legal speed limit continuously you increase your chances for hitting green lights? The fewer stoplights and less stopping/slowing the better when it comes to saving fuel.
  • Use cruise control for highway traveling.
  • Cool down automatic transitions by placing them in neutral at long traffic lights or traffic standstills.
  • Avoid reverse driving maneuvers.
  • Having an open sunroof (much like open windows) can increase resistance and use more fuel.
  • Keep windows closed while traveling at high speeds. Having open windows can reduce your gas mileage up to 10%, which can be the same as air conditioning.

And the final and most important gas-saving tip:

  • Watch your acceleration! Slow your acceleration time down to 15 seconds (when going from 0–60 mph) and you can save 30% on your gas mileage. Driving Safety Articles:
This article was written by defensive driving staff writers and reviewed for accuracy by defensive driving instructors. All articles are based on current traffic laws and defensive driving practices. This article is intended for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as legal advice or literal interpretation of any specific traffic law.