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How to Get More From a Tank of Gas
If you own a car, you know how expensive it can be to keep the tank full, and what a dent that can put in your budget. MSN.com has some tips for increasing your mileage and decreasing your spending on gas.
First, check your tire pressure. Underinflated tires can lead to lower gas mileage, wasting up to 0.3 percent for every 1 pound per square inch (PSI) your tire is below the recommended inflation level. You usually can find the appropriate inflation level, in PSI, on the driver’s side door jamb.
Then, check your trunk and take out everything you don’t need to be hauling around. Every 100 pounds of weight can decrease fuel economy by 1 percent. And while you are at it, check your roof. A roof-mounted cargo box can decrease fuel economy by up to 25 percent at highway speeds.
If you like to accelerate quickly from a stop, it will cost you. Getting those RPMs up can really burn through your gas. Instead, accelerate smoothly. Similarly, using the highway as your personal racetrack costs you fuel efficiency – and money. The further you go past 50 miles per hour, the harder your car has to work and the more fuel you’ll burn. This is especially true for cars with more fuel-efficient engines.
There seem to be two types of hot-weather drivers: windows down or air conditioning on. The most fuel-efficient choice, though, depends on how fast you are driving. On residential streets at lower speeds, it’s better on your gas mileage to have your windows down because the A/C puts more stress on the engine, burning more gas. But at highway speeds, lowering windows causes drag, which increases fuel use more than running your air conditioning at those speeds.
You also can improve your fuel efficiency by consolidating errands. Map out the most efficient route for accomplishing several errands in one trip This saves time as well as gas.
If you are waiting for a friend, turn off your car. You can burn a quarter to a half gallon of fuel an hour idling. Some cars even shut off automatically when you brake to a stop. When in doubt, shut off your car. You can always start it back up.
In general, keeping a constant speed is good for fuel efficiency. So if you are driving on the highway over flat land, use your cruise control. If you are driving up in the mountains, though, turn it off. Cruise control burns through gas going over big hills or mountains because your engine has to work extra hard to maintain a constant speed.
Always use the proper oil when you change your oil. Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation. Using the right oil can improve fuel economy by as much as 2 percent.
If you are shopping for a new car, consider fuel efficiency. If you go from a car that gets 15 miles per gallon to one that gets 30 mpg, you can save up to $1,500 annually. And you will be easier on the environment. The savings can be even greater with a hybrid or an electric car. If you do buy a hybrid, avoid braking too hard. More gradual braking takes better advantage of the regenerative braking system, thus adding life to your batteries.
And finally, there is the obvious tip: Don’t drive your car. Walk or take public transportation when you can. Car-pool when possible. You don’t burn any gas if you are not using your car.