So, there you are, cruising down the highway when your gas light blinks on. You could’ve sworn you just filled the tank, too. Most cars have a reserve of about 2.5 gallons, so, rest easy, you’ve got enough to make it to the nearest station, but in a pinch, it might be necessary to make those last dribbles of gasoline stretch.
Whether you’re looking to reduce the pump’s effect on your wallet, your effect on the environment, or your car’s effect on your ability to make it to work on time, there are a few simple tips you can follow to improve your fuel economy.
Watch Your Lead Foot!
One of the best ways to cut your fuel costs is to cut your speed. Especially when traveling long stretches of open road like highways and freeways, driving faster increases the amount of gas used. Using cruise control to maintain a constant speed keeps your car from wasting fuel and, hopefully, keeps you from getting a speeding ticket.
Beyond being safer, ditching aggressive driving habits like hard breaking and punching the acceleration can improve your MPG. Try to speed and slow smoothly by matching traffic and maintaining a good distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road.
Check Your Gas Cap
It may seem obvious, but gas caps are often left open or abandoned at the pump, causing fuel to evaporate and allowing contaminates into the tank. Finding a replacement gas cap at your local auto shop isn’t difficult or too expensive (usually less than $20), but it can be harder to tell when a cap is loose or improperly sealed. If your “Check Engine” light is on, or you can smell gas coming from your vehicle, that could be a sign of a faulty cap.
While you may dread the coming winter, the good news is you won’t be using gas by running your AC. The bad news is cold weather generally decreases your fuel economy more than hot weather. To save on fuel in the winter, experts recommend not warming up your car for more than 30 seconds. We know: no one likes to get into a cold car in the dead of a Minnesota winter, but driving will actually make the engine warm up faster. Just make sure your defroster is working!
Keep up with Car Maintenance
Keeping your car running smoothly will save you money—not only at the pump but in the general long term as well. Since tire pressure drops in colder temperatures pay close attention to your wheels during the winter; under-inflated tires can lower your MPG and cause serious dangers on the road. Running your car on a dirty air filter can also decrease your fuel economy, as can using the wrong type of oil, since it forces your engine to work harder.
Unsure of the status of your air filter? Don’t know the right type of oil for your car? Ask the experts at Advanced Repair. We’re happy to help.