22 Ways to Make Your Car More Fuel Efficient

“Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.”

- Peter F. Drucker

Young guy at the gas pumpIt is the nightmare that faces almost every person every week. Filling up your personal car with gas prices on the rise. The cost of running your car has become not only a key economic indicator, but a real-world drain on your resources. Who hasn’t stood at the bowser and watched a good proportion of the weekly pocket money disappear into the tank?

Getting your vehicle, be it petrol or diesel, to go as far as possible on the least amount of fuel is ultimately going to put dollars back in your pocket… but how do you do it? Whether a short trip to the school or office, or a longer road trip to the woods to take in the fall colors, try these driving best practices and you could improve your fuel economy by up to 15%.

1. Set your cruise control to 55 mph.

Cruise control applies the throttle more smoothly, reducing fuel consumption. More than 50 percent of the energy required to move a car is spent overcoming aerodynamic drag (pushing air out of the way). The faster you drive, the more aerodynamic drag increases and fuel economy decreases. Increasing your cruising speed from 65 mph to 75 mph will drive up fuel consumption by about 20 percent. Reducing your speed from 65 mph to 55 mph improves fuel economy by about 10 percent. And try to anticipate changes in traffic flow so you can ease into stops and starts. Driving at a steady pace saves gas.

2. Drive off promptly to prevent wasting fuel.

Don’t leave your engine running when you first start up. Cars these days do not need to be warmed up before you drive them. Drive off straight away if you can, but drive gently until the engine has reached its normal operating temperature. This doesn’t increase fuel efficiency as such, but it does mean your engine is switched on for less time.

3. Use your gears wisely.

Driving in the highest gear possible without laboring the engine is a fuel-efficient way of driving. A vehicle traveling at 37 mph in third gear uses 25 percent more fuel than at the same speed in fifth gear.

4. Neutral is also an option.

Learn how to coast between traffic lights, applying power intermittently, as needed to keep the car rolling with traffic. If you know you need to stop down the road, you can also save a lot of gas by simply lifting your foot off the accelerator and coasting long before you need to stop. What’s the hurry? You’ll only have to sit there at the light anyway. You can reduce the load on your engine at a red light by putting it on neutral as you’re waiting. However, too many shifts between “N” and “D” can cause your transmission to wear out, so avoid using “N” for shorter wait times.

5. Switch off your engine.

There are two schools of thought on this one. Switching your engine off for short periods of time can actually increase fuel consumption, as it requires more fuel to get the engine started. Also your catalytic converter will no longer be running at full temperature and so your car will be less efficient, increasing the amount of pollution you cause. However if you are stopped for more than a few minutes then your car will simply burn less fuel with the engine stopped.

6. Fill up with a lower-octane gasoline.

Sorry to tell you this, but in spite of its name, buying premium gas won’t help you get better gas mileage or performance. Buy the lowest grade or octane of gasoline that is appropriate for your car. Unless your car requires premium gasoline, filling up your car with high-octane fuel is a waste of money. That pricey premium fuel won’t boost your car’s fuel economy or performance in the least, so skip it.

If you’re not sure what grade of fuel works best for your car, open up your owner’s manual and take a look. As long as your engine doesn’t knock or ping when you fuel up with regular unleaded, you’re good to drive on this much cheaper gas. Passing on pricey premium gasoline could save you hundreds of dollars a year.

7. Don’t top off.

Don’t bother topping off when filling your car’s gas tank. The gas tank needs room for the gas to expand, particularly on hot summer days when gas warms up and expands. If you continue fueling after the pump shuts off, you also increase the chance of releasing harmful gasoline vapors into the air. And why waste your money paying for gas your car won’t use?

8. Tighten up that gas cap.

Gas will evaporate from your car’s gas tank if it has an escape. Loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council. So be sure to tighten up that gas cap each time you fuel up your car. Also remember that early in the morning and in the late evening are the best times to buy gas. This will mean less evaporation of gasoline as you pump. During these times gasoline is also most dense. Gas pumps measure volume of gasoline, not the density of fuel concentration.

9. Keep your tank above one third full.

If your fuel runs low, the engine might not receive a steady supply of gas (since it will splash around while you’re driving and it might momentarily splash away from the tube that leads gas out of the tank). Not having a steady supply of gas will make your engine less efficient. The benefits of having a full tank will outweigh the drawbacks of having the added weight.

10. Go easy on the air conditioning.

Roll down your car’s windows and let in the summer breeze. Using the gas-hogging air conditioning as sparingly as possible will give your car’s fuel economy a real boost. Air conditioning can drag down your car’s fuel economy by 10 percent to 20 percent.

On days when air conditioning is a must, first try cooling your car the old fashioned way — rolling down the windows, opening the vents, peeling back the sunroof. You’d be amazed how much hot air you can clear out of your car just by opening up for awhile.

Flipping on the air conditioning full blast as soon as you hop into a hot car is a big waste of gas and money.

11. Air off, windows down at highway speeds.

Keep in mind, though, that at highway speeds, driving with your windows open drastically reduces your fuel efficiency, far more so than putting the air conditioning on. Yes, the air conditioning uses more gas, but with the decrease in drag and airflow obstruction, you’re probably just about breaking even. And you’ll have a quieter, more comfortable ride with a lot less stress.

12. Use the trunk.

A loaded-down roof rack cuts fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. But clear the trunk after a trip — and clean out your backseat. An extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent. Smaller cars are affected more when they carry extra weight because the reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight. So, if you’ve been putting off cleaning out your trunk or emptying your roof carrier, there is no time like the present. Sure, maybe your garage will be more cluttered, but your gas mileage will increase.

13. Avoid rush hour.

Not only is stop-and-go traffic stressful and annoying, it’s bad for your car’s gas mileage. So avoid driving at rush hour whenever you can. Stagger your work hours so you can time your weekday commuting at less busy times of the day.

14. Use your garage for your car.

Got a garage? Clear it out and make room for your car. Parking in your garage will help your car stay warm in winter and cool in summer, and you won’t have to depend as much on your gas-guzzling air-conditioning or defroster when you drive.

15. Go for the shade.

The hot summer sun that makes the inside of your car feel like a sauna also zaps fuel from your gas tank. If you let your car bake in the sun there’s going to be a greater amount of evaporative emissions that take place than if you park in the shade.

So park your car in the shade of a building or tree whenever possible. And buy a good windshield shade. A windshield shade blocks sunlight and helps to keep heat out of the inside of your car.

16. Don’t circle in a parking lot, and keep well away from the store fronts.

Look for a spot in the empty half of the parking lot. Many people spend significant time idling and creeping, waiting for a “close spot” to open up.

17. Tires effect fuel efficiency.

It is estimated that about 50 percent of tires on the road are under inflated. Aside from increasing the rate of wear, this wastes fuel and decreased your fuel efficiency. Check your tire pressures every fortnight. Worn tires will also decrease fuel efficiency (and your safety!), so check the tread regularly. If you are replacing tires then consider some of the newer “Eco” tires that are designed specifically to increase fuel efficiency.

18. Keep your engine in tune.

Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can boost gas mileage by about 4 percent. So be sure to give your car regular tune-ups. You’ll also want to watch out for worn spark plugs. A misfiring spark plug can reduce a car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.

19. Replace air filters.

Keep a close eye on your engine’s air filter. When the engine air filter clogs with dirt, dust and bugs, it causes your engine to work harder and your car becomes less fuel-efficient. Replacing a clogged air filter could improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent and save you 15 cents a gallon. It’s a good idea to have your engine air filter checked at each oil change. The Car Care Council recommends changing your car’s air and oil filters every three months or 3,000 miles or as specified in your owner’s manual.

20. Use the right oil.

You can improve your car’s gas mileage by 1 percent to 2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Opt for motor oil with the words “energy conserving” on the API performance label. This oil contains friction-reducing additives.

21. Maintain a log.

Maintain a log over time of how many miles you go (the main odometer) and how much gas you put in (from the gas pump, including fractions). Put it in a spreadsheet. It will keep you focused, and other methods are inaccurate; you will never know for sure if you’re saving fuel, wasting fuel or just seeing errors from gas pumps that stop pumping at different points, or fractions of miles being dropped off your “trip” odometer when you reset it.

22. Leave the car at home!

Probably the best way to decrease the amount of petrol you burn, is to leave the car and home, and take a bike, bus, or train, or to walk. A quarter of all car journeys in USA are less than two miles long, and walking or cycling are cheap and clean alternatives, and healthy too!

As gas prices continue to climb, increasing the fuel mileage is the best way to protect your pocket book. So give these tips a try and spend less money on gas by increasing your car’s fuel efficiency.

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50 Comments

  • andrew says:

    Sorry dude, but your tips have some errors in them. It is a downright myth that open windows at highway speeds have any drag effect on a car.
    check this out.

    there are also several other good places to check… this has even been featured on the show braniac.

    • Cel says:

      Not exactly a myth, it really depends on the car.. My car actually gets a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency when not using the AC because the AC puts a significant drain on the motor. If you look at the Example from Mythbuster were using Huge SUVs with Big engines where the AC had little effect.. With my 87hp little car the AC has a big effect on efficiency.. With all due respect to the the Show Mythbusters It really is more for entertainment and they don’t really put a lot of thought into there experimentation..

  • Ririan says:

    andrew, actually, this was covered in a later episode, when it was re-revisited. I believe it was a representative from Toyota that corrected them on this – that basically the test was done at too low a speed for aerodynamics to play a part at all, and that it’s better to roll down the windows up to about 45 MPH, and roll up the windows and turn on the AC above 45 MPH.

    Episodes like this one are proof that the Mythbusters methodology is in fact fairly scientific. Their methods are just rigorous enough for most of the myths they test, and results are subject to peer review (namely, viewers, of whom many are scientists).

  • Chris says:

    #2 is wrong. “Modern engines” are exactly the same fundamentally as ones in the 50s. If you want a long lasting engine, it better be warmed up. When oil is outside of its heat-range (cold or hot), it isn’t lubricating properly. Meaning your engine will not last as long, far offsetting the price of fuel with major overhaul costs.

  • John says:

    By the way, the cruise control thing is only partly right. Perhaps on flat surfaces the cruise control handles the throttle more smoothly, but it works not at all on hills. Leave the cruise control on and you’ll hit a hill, your speed will drop and, halfway up, the cruise control will downshift and stomp on the accelerator to get you back up to speed. Much better to handle it manually, and give it a bit more speed at the bottom of the hill and cruise up it. Unfortunately, this requires anticipation, something that cruise control doesn’t have (yet).

  • “The faster you drive, the more aerodynamic drag increases and fuel economy decreases. Increasing your cruising speed from 65 mph to 75 mph will drive up fuel consumption by about 20 percent. Reducing your speed from 65 mph to 55 mph improves fuel economy by about 10 percent.”

    Actually, the gearing of your car affects economy at speed much more than the speed at which you drive.

    For example, I have a VW, which has a very ‘long’ top gear. In this type of car, you’re more efficient at 70 than 55, due to the way the gearing interacts with the torque and horsepower peaks. The only time I get over 40mpg is when I’m doing long stretches on the freeway at ~70mph.

    Some cars (Jeep Wranglers and other off-roaders, for example) have very ‘short’ top ends, which means that they’re really most efficient at below-highway speeds (~45mph or so).

    Another tip you should add to your list is ‘Buy a manual transmission’ since, properly driven, they eliminate the 5%-10% power loss that a standard automatic transmission causes.

  • gasweeny says:

    Actually, the greatest error here is the statement regarding higher octance fuel. This varies highly from car to car, but, you *WILL* get more power out of higher octance fuels in any card with OBD-II or newer, and, a smaller increase in mileage. Chances are the higher performance your car is to start the greater the difference will be, but, it is not “just marketing” to rip us off. The problem is that you will not be getting an increase in performance equal to the increase in cost, that is where the “ripoff” is. Club racers don’t use 110 octane fuel just so they can spend $5/gallon to brag about to their friends. Unless you are running the Atkinson cycle in your hybrid, (Prius, Ford Escape, others), if your car was made in the last 5 years (10 even?) there will be a difference in performance and mileage. If you are running an Atkinson cycle engine, using a higher octane fuel will actually do nothing. Of note also — there is some talk of higher sulfur content in higher octane fuels — reason enough not to use them if that’s true.

  • Michael says:

    Keeping your tank full?
    With the feed from the tank near the bottom of a gas tank and a fuel pump supplying a constant pressure moving the gas, I sincerely doubt that interrupting gas flow from sloshing is a problem. It could be a problem with lawn mowers, go carts and even motorcycles, but it is immediately evident when you have interrupted flow by the engines behavior.

    I routinely drive my car with a 16 gal tank down to the 1 or 2 gal mark, and I have never experienced any variation of power, and any variation that a driver can’t detect is unlikely to be significant. On the other hand I can easily feel when my tires are low or the power drain from putting on the AC.

    It would be a good idea to post what your sources are for this info.

  • Martin says:

    Another thing I remember reading was that shifting into neutral while slowing down doesn’t help with fuel economy, it does the opposite. Gas is needed to keep the engine idling, and while it’s in gear cars momentum keeps it running.

  • shawn says:

    1. Is extremely bad advice. If the speed limit is 55 then yes drive at 55. If the speed limit is 70 drive at 70. It is unsafe to drive 15 mph below the limit, not to mention that you are causing traffic slowdowns which keeps cars on the road longer. Why 55 by the way? Wouldn’t 45 be more fuel efficient than 55? Do be a proactive rather than a reactive driver as the tip suggests.

    5. Is sort of false, but by omission. It is true that you car uses more fuel starting up than idling, but even if you car idles for a minute or two it is still using less fuel. The bigger point is that the most wear on your engine occurs when you start the car. Engines are far more expensive than the few pennies of gas you probably aren’t saving anyway if you turn your car off and then start it again 5 minutes later.

    Most of the other ones are great (though a few of them won’t save you more than a penny or two per tank), especially the last one. If you can carpool or walk that will save a real amount of gas and money.

  • Don’t Buy a Big SUV.

    Why do most Americans feel obliged to buy really big cars?

    The best one is to cycle to work. Much quicker for getting around Oxford.

  • Mike says:

    2. In the winter, cars most definitely need to be warmed up. If you start it up and take off, there’s a pretty good chance that when the hot air meets the cold engine block, you’re going to crack the block. This means a new engine, which will put you back at least a couple grand.

    4. Don’t use neutral unless your engine is off. When you put a car in neutral, it is not connected to the transmission. This means it can idle at a much higher RPM. Obviously this only holds true for those driving automatics, because you have to disengage the clutch with a standard transmission, otherwise you’ll kill it.

    6. Higher octane fuel does give you better performance. Since premium gas is more volatile than regular gas, more of it burns when inside the cylinder. As such, there’s more power with each stroke of the pistons.

    9. Most gas tanks are designed with an indentation where the fuel line connects to the bottom of the tank. This ensures that there’s always fuel ready to be pumped into the line. Even if it’s sloshing about inside the tank, some of it is filling up that indentation.

    14. The defroster uses absolutely no fuel to run. It takes heat that’s already coming off of the engine and blowing it into your car. The fan that moves it into the car is always running. If anything using defrost is more efficient because you’re getting the hot air away from the engine.

    Something to add though, would be for truck owners to leave their tailgate up. Having it down or having a net only decreases your fuel efficiency. When the tailgate is up, the airflow doesn’t even go into the bed because a cushion of air is created inside the bed. If you’ve ever ridden in the back of a truck, you’ll notice that as soon as you duck down into the bed, there’s nothing blowing around. By leaving the tailgate down, you don’t get a cushion of air, and the airflow is pressing down into the bed causing more friction.

  • ben says:

    most of your points would suit the general driver, i use neutral for coasting sometimes and other times when my speed is ok or i need to slow down or maintain speed i leave the car in gear with no accelerator application the feul injectors switch off, and your using no gas!!!
    i go slow towards the crest of a hill and fast down hill, surely that makes the most sense, seens you dont have to work against gravity!

  • rick says:

    mike, don’t know what you are talking about with higher engine rpms in neutral for an automatic.. try it, the car always has higher rpms when in drive.

    • mark says:

      what a bunch of stupid know it alls. this is the most amusing bunch of bs i’ve ever read. it was a guide for the general public not for refinery experts and a bunch of would be mechanics. get a life!!!!!

  • Andrew says:

    First of i just want to say Martin and Ben you guys are idiots. Martin putting you car into neutral take stress of your car witch therefore is better on your car like your tans and uses a little less gas not much but a little. Ben if your car is running it is using gas it uses gas the hole time it is on in tell you turn i off so it is using gas. i think for the most part all the stuff above is true. How much gas you car uses is mainly on how you drive it and if you keep it tune up.

  • ASE Dave says:

    ok, saying premium doesn’t increase your cars performance is ridiculous and it may be have a higher price but it also comes with a stronger resist to knockback and that is what the octane rating is and it does perform the cars overall performance also

  • dime says:

    well myth busters once told me that it was more fuel efficient to stop the car then start iot again to sacve gas bbut THIS tells me otherwise i am apauled by this work of art.

  • Aaron says:

    Shifting into neutral while you slow down is beneficial. But you don’t want to stay in neutral once you reach a stopped position because your vehicle WILL idle faster when in neutral. I notice that on my commute people just drive 75 from one bottle neck to another at which point they have to slow down dramatically. I stay at a constant 60 in the slow lane. And trust me I’m not a hazard and am a lot safer (and efficient) than the guy going 75 weaving in and out of traffic. And as for the comments about high octane fuel. I don’t think the higher “perfomance” or power of an engine using that fuel is in question. What was stated was that using higher octane fuel in an engine not designed for it will not noticably increase your mileage.

  • Derek says:

    Ok, it would take me a long time to correct everyone who is wrong, so I will only hit the major ones…

    1) Premium fuel DOES NOT give you better gas mileage. Premium fuel has a higher octane, and therefore is less likely to knock. Knocking is when fuel autoignites before it is supposed to because of higher compression in engines. You should always buy the cheapest grade you can before your engine starts to knock, this will save you tons of money and will be more than worth it in the long run. The reason race car drivers use 110 octane is because they usually run higher compression ratios to get more power, so they need the higher octane so the fuel does not ignite early. Also, premium fuel used to have additives to prevent wear in the engine, so it might have been worth the money, but now the govt. mandates the additives be added to all grades of gas. This information is FACT, as I work at a Petroleum refinery and know my stuff.

    Also, Higher octane gasoline will give you more power, BUT ONLY IF YOUR ENGINE HAS A COMPRESSION THAT MATCHES THE NEED FOR THAT OCTANE. If you are using 110 octane in a Honda engine that will run 89 without knocking, your are pouring your money down the drain. Your engine, not being high compression, will not make use of the high octane!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octane_rating

    The guy who talked about OBD-II was right, but the gas mileage increase will not be worth the price if you want to save money.

    So, read the owners manual, if your Honda says 89 is good, use 89. If your Porsche says to use 92, use 92. There is a reason they give you manuals.

    2) This one was not in the article, but should have been BECAUSE IT IS THE EASIEST WAY TO GET BETTER MILEAGE. (the guy who wrote it obviously does not do much research). FIND A GAS STATION THAT SELLS 100% GASOLINE. Most gas stations these days use a 90% gasoline 10% Ethanol mix because its cheaper for the gas station to get and they can charge you the same price. I have done the calculations myself, and on a 30mpg vehicle, you will only get about 27mpg with a 10% ethanol blend. (this varies with vehicle) Ethanol does not have as much stored energy as gasoline, and you will get less gas mileage. (don’t even get me started on the HUGE problems with ethanol).

    3) Your car will get the best gas mileage when your car is warmed up. Running your engine cold means that your oil is cold and will not perform as well. You should always let your car idle for at least 15 seconds before taking off like a bat out of hell. Most engine wear takes place when the car is first started as it takes time for the oil to reach all parts of the engine. (this will vary depending on the viscosity of oil you use).

    For everyone who thinks they know what they are talking about, please go out and read before you post. People who don’t know anything about this subject will read your incorrect crap and the world will become MORE STUPIDER.

    • Hawk says:

      Dereck , just because you worked at a petrol refinery does not make you an expert. You have some good points. but you have to learn that ‘stupider” is not even a word. The man had his good points. Now go back to work and STFU.

  • Devin says:

    hey Derek,
    Great Information, but lighten up a little bit

  • fred figueroa says:

    Well, well… how about checking your tire pressure to be sure it`s on the dot every time you go to ^^filler up^^
    it won`t take you more time.. then filling you car`s tank:
    an not least check your wheel aligment every three months..
    just to make sure your car is in “track“ if not pay the bill!

  • alex says:

    derek is completely right. everyone else, and especially ben who doesn’t know wtf theyre talking about should shut the hell up! seriously.

  • The comment about engines being the same as 50 years ago is true. The real difference is the oil. In the 50,s and 60,s the oil did not have the additives like they do today. You probably notice that engines last 200K to 300K today as compared 30K to 40K in the 60s. The better oil quality is the reason. Years ago you would warm up the engine to allow the metal in the cylinders to expand and thus have less friction and wear. Today oils have so many additives to prevent this from happining. Zinc is used in oils to provide a protective film that prevents the metal to metal contact until the oil is circulating propperly. Additives like this is the major reason engines last so much longer today. So crank your car, drive and save gas, your engine will be protected by the oil additives.

  • juice says:

    oh wow, this is almost amusing. Thtanks for the info peeps and the laughter.

  • jib says:

    yo whats with the personal loans bit. Like WTF?
    Hey i’m goin to go out on a limb here and ask what sort of modifications could be made to a current car (catalytic converter and fuel injectors) to make it run more efficiently. I bet the wonderful derek who works in the fuel industry would know.

  • i can not believe for the life of me how anyone in thier right mind could come on any forum and call someone else an idiot but cant even spell themselves…not sticking up for anyone here just want to rain on your idiot parade…thanx for the time and always consider spellcheck almost all new pc have this…thats a fact!

  • Walt says:

    There is some good information on this article, however I must pick apart the myths/misinformation.

    1–The most efficient speed depends on the vehicle. The gear ratio, size of engine, and configuration of engine all affect fuel economy and speeds. Engine efficiency depends on engine loads. A smaller engine that has to work harder than a larger engine in the same application can use more fuel. Smaller engines do not gurantee better fuel efficiency if they must work harder than a larger engine. Also an engine’s efficiency depends on how it is broke in. An engine that ran around town for the first 50K miles of its life probably won’t return the same efficiency as an engine that ran at 80 mph for it’s entire life on the highway.

    2–Give the engine a few seconds to run before taking off. 15 seconds is fine for most situations. This lets the oil pump into all the journals and lubricate the whole engine before loading the bearings. Also this helps in an automatic transmission to lubricate that. In extreme cold, plug your vehicle in!

    3–True but don’t lug your engine. Make sure it is running as slow as possible without overworking it.

    4–If you are coasting and your engine is running over it’s idle speed, a modern engine is not injecting fuel into itself. If you put the transmission in neutral when coasting the engine is burning more fuel than if it were in gear. This is not true for an engine with a carburettor, only fuel injection.

    5–The rule of thumb is 2 minutes. A startup uses as much fuel as idling for 2 minutes with no load.

    6–All higher octane gasoline indicates is harder to detonate (spontaneously combust). If your engine has a higher compression ratio, use a little higher gasoline grade. Experiment with different grades of gas though, as some engines have anti-knock systems and a cheaper grade of gas will cause the engine to retard timing giving a loss of efficiency. Use the lowest grade of gas that will return the best fuel economy. Premium gasoline has just as many BTU’s in it as Regular gas.

    7–Leave room for expansion. However your vehicle will use all the fuel in the tank. A modern engine uses a system to capture fuel vapors and burn them through the engine so you will not lose the fuel. Do be sure to make sure the fuel cap is sealed though. If not, you can get that pesky check engine light to come on.

    8–True about the gas cap. Fuel does not change volume as it is stored in underground tanks and the temperature change in those tanks is minute—less than a degree in a day–which will not affect volume. Fuel stored in above ground tanks could change volume but not noticeably.

    9– A car has a fuel pump mounted in a sump in the fuel tank. This is kept cool by the gasoline surrounding it, so it does help to prolong fuel pump life by keeping your vehicle above half tank, but fuel level does not affect fuel economy.

    10 & 11. The rule of thumb for a/c is if it is above 45 mph, use the a/c. Below 45 mph, roll down the windows. A modern a/c unit uses much less power than the older models from yesteryears.

    12–Good info.

    13–Ditto

    14–True. A defroster in a car uses the air conditioner compressor to dry the air, so it is the same as running the a/c in the summer. However, use the defroster and burn the fuel if you need as this only makes you a safer driver if you can see. The safety is worth the extra few dollars of fuel consumed per year.

    15–Although the advice is good, the reasoning is wrong. Sunlight is always hard on a car. It works the a/c harder to cool the vehicle as well, however you do not use/lose more fuel due to evaporation. See #7.

    16–Good info.

    17–Good info. However be sure that the tires you put on your vehicle will be safe for all situations you plan to drive in. They tend to be a less aggressive tread desigh, giving poorer traction on less than ideal road conditions.

    18–Can not stress enough. Keep your car maintained!

    19–True enough, but every 3K for an air filter seems excessive. Check it there, but 10-15K is probably more realistic. This is shorter if you drive in extremely dirty conditions.

    20–Good info. I might also suggest synthetics. I have had excellent luck with Amsoil. Also, synthetics have longer change intervals. 25K & up for some! Synthetics come in thinner viscosities as well. Fewer oil changes means less waste oil to handle. Easier on evironment!

    21–Good information

    22–Excellent advice if you can do it!

  • Jon says:

    The most fuel efficient speed for ANY car is the speed at which the torque converter locks-up in the highest gear of the transmission. This speed in my 99 Honda Accord V-6 was 65mph, in my wife’s 01 Toyota Camry 4cyc was around 57mph, however in my father’s Ford pickup is about 47mph. You can find out what speed is right for your vehicle by finding out what the “stall speed” or “lock up” speed is for the torque converter in you car and using a tachometer to bring your engine revs to just above (50-75 RPM) this speed and reading your speedometer. The other way is to get your car in its top gear around 2000rpm and take your foot off the gas pedal and see what happens, if your cars tachometer drops to or below 1000 rpm the torque converter hasn’t locked up yet, if the tach stays at 2000 rpm the torque converter has locked and you need to let the car slow down until it unlocks(engine will drop to idle speed) and the speed just above the unlock point will be your cars most fuel efficient speed.

  • Chris says:

    Correction… higher octane fuel is NOT more volotile, it simply combusts at a higher temperature. The reason it’s used most, is in higher compression engines, whether naturally asperated (like a corvette), super, or turbo charged to keep it from detonating prematurely. And using your defroster cycles your a/c to project dry air onto the inside of your windshield to defeat fogging. Your a/c compressor is not on as steady as if you were to turn on your air, but it does cycle none-the-less.

  • Ryan says:

    A lot of you have said silly things. “This and that is how it is,” and you seriously believe that what you’ve said is the only right answer. Hate to break it to you (especially Derek, who uses his god-like powers to give us THE answer.. or seems to think he knows best, anyways,) but your efficiency being increased by doing certain things, such as using regular octane gas, cruising at “55 mph,” only using “100% gasoline,” or turning your engine off if you anticipate waiting “2 minutes” or more don’t apply to ALL vehicles. Different vehicles react differently in each scenario.

    Using regular octane gas is suffice in some vehicles, and provides the best performance. In my former 3.8L ’92 Taurus, the added fuel economy I reached using 92 octane OUTWEIGHED it’s higher cost, and actually saved me money. My current 4.0L ’98 Explorer get’s a fairly consistent 0.3 MPG extra burning 92 octane.. definitely NOT worth paying the extra dollar for. The “sweet spot” (velocity that gives you the best fuel economy) varies from car to car. Using 100% gasoline works in my Explorer. In my co-workers 4.3L (not sure of year) Blazzer, 90 gasoline – 10 ethanol works better. If you have a Prius, I’m sure that you don’t have to wait 2 minutes for it to be worth turning off. That’s just to mention a few faults with some different people have ideas.

    I think the best advice in this article is number 21. You can experiment all you like with your vehicle, but if you don’t log it, how will you know what gives you the best fuel economy. Run Shell Bronze for a couple weeks.. then try Silver for a few more.. then try V-Power (that’s what they’re called in Canada, but I think you Americans might have different names, like “regular,” “added performance,” and “superior performance.) See which gets you best fuel economy, and then calculate your savings to see if it’s worth it. Then try Co-op fuel.. then Mohawk. Try 100% gas. Then try 90gas-10ethanol. Go 55MPH one week… 65 another… and 75 another. Etc, etc. Whatever you do, track it. See what get’s you the best fuel economy for your vehicle.

    Peace,
    Ryan

  • Michael says:

    Leaving your windows down increasing fuel consumption is not a myth. And this whole thing looks like it was written by a kindergarndner.

  • saand says:

    Some of the methods listed on this page are good but some will only work for a few people depending on how they drive.

    See a very comprehensive list of changes you can make to your car to make it more efficient. Almost 70 modifications most have been indepently tested
    http://ecomodder.com/wiki/index.php/Car_MPG_Efficiency_Modifications_Main

    Also a large list of driving techniques that can save fuel, people have gained up to 30% MPG using these.
    http://ecomodder.com/wiki/index.php/Hypermiling_Techniques

  • johny says:

    Um half of u are wrong higher octane will onli increase your fuel bill because your car will still be using the same amount of gas to your RPM so if driving economicly steady acceleration and steady slowing down you will be spending more than if you had regular as you will be using the same amount all you get from premium will be more power (Which we arent looking for we are looking at cheaper fuel costs not 0-60 in a shrter time or enything). so use regular all that premium will mean u use less is a myth by people who dont think in all the factors and dont no what they are talking about.

  • johny says:

    all those that say premium is more fuel effecient are al dumb fuckers!!!!

  • a says:

    pretty shitty. better get some better fucking facts. Most of these are just plain bullshit! Come on, fuckin get your facts straight or leave your ass at home.

  • edan says:

    i know most of what your saying is correct. alot of your readers comments are just plain ignorant! putting the trans in N while sitting is benificial in more ways than one. keeps your automatic from heating up which is the number one killer and it also removes the drag on the motor while its just sitting there. sitting there at idle for 2 mins vs shutting it off and restarting it? common sence. jump in your car and let it idle for 2 mins and you tell me how that can be better than shutting it off! and my favorite, started up a cold engine then riding off can crack a block!? ok if you start the car in 30 deg weather the block will be cold and so will the air, engine will heat up gradually and not a damn thing will happen except you save gas! he did say drive it nicely till its warm right? one thing i want to add, if you drive a manual trans car staying in gear while you coast to a stop is the way to go, not putting it in N. this benifits two fold. you use less brakes and your engine will be run off the cars momentum and not use any/very little gas.

  • Bryan says:

    My goodness people everyone is in ATTACK MODE on this things its suppose to help people theres nothing in here that will harm or cause someone car to get ruined. All of you STFU and take the tips

  • Logan says:

    well first off, premium gas burns slower than regular gas, therefore giving a longer, more cleaner burn. meaning combustion lasts longer creating more force (on the piston)

    secondly 55-70 is a good speed to be the most fuel efficient. depending on the car you drive. if you have a boxy car, even with high gears you really shouldnt run over 60, and no more than 55 if you have lower gears in the same car. if you have a aerodynamic car with high rear gears go 70.

    as far as using neutral goes, go ahead and use it if your in a manual. when your in neutral, the engine uses the same if not less gas because the engine has nothing pulling on it hence the reason the revs increase. if your in an automatic, its probably not worth the wear on your trans because most cars have a high enough stall converter that lets the engine rev lower than if it was at stall speed. basically automatics under around 1500 rpm and down will drop around 300-400 rpms when you let off the gas w/o slowing your car.

    when it comes to taking off slowly, it depends on your rear gears and the type of engine you have in your car. if you have low rear gears, dont be afraid to give it a little extra gas taking off because you will get your speed up quickly enough to save your engine the revs and time like it would if you accelerate slowly. if you have high rear gears, take of slowly and let the vehicle sorta wind out.

    and remember that the best gas recieved doesnt necessarily depend on the rpm but the amount of throttle (under about 2500 rpms). if your in high gear going 30 but the pedal half way to the floor to go that speed, your getting terrible mileage. but if you would shift from say 6th to 4th your rpms would rise BUT you would have to have less throttle, resulting in better gas.

  • Justin says:

    Well honestly these tips are take and go with what works for the individual. I own a rather large truck, which I have to have for my work and I get terrible gas mileage. Before this I drove tiny, manual cars and I loved that most of my money was not spent at the pump. Honestly, none of the tips above were found helpful to me. They were either just a few pennies savings, myths, or common knowledge. The replies below the article gave more solid advice and information in my personnel opinion. Big thing people ………if you own a manual do not wind it to the redline in every gear every-time. This wastes gas and puts harmful wear and tear on your vehicle.

  • Ian says:

    What a load a garbage. I am a mechanic and have worked with cars for years. Some of your points are just plain incorrect or false. What sort of research have you done ?

  • Bob says:

    dont listen to the haters… i thought almost all of them were great.:D

  • Adam says:

    One question everyone seems to have missed…
    With all our technology and brainpower, why haven’t cars improved their mpg since the 1960′s? Fuel prices were so low it almost didn’t matter, but as the prices creep up year after year, the engines don’t get even a fraction more efficient.

    If engine designers were REALLY allowed to give us what they know is technologically & mechanically possible, most cars nowdays could easily manage 100mpg or more, but thanks to certain oil companies whose execs. play golf with the execs. from the car companies, who play golf with the govt. (who in turn receive 90% of all money spent on fuel) it’s no wonder they don’t want anyone to benefit from what they know is possible…

  • Chris says:

    My grandfather worked in the engineering division of Daimler-Chrysler and has told me on more than one occasion that they would design an engine/car concept that would achieve 50mpg+ (first design he knew of was 30 years ago). After being drafted up, the oil companies would pay Chrysler millions to buy the rights to the plans, then burn them.

  • John says:

    I’ve got a question, if your sitting in a parking lot with your car idling is it mroe efficient for an automatic to put it in park or to put it in nuetral with the parking brake,it seems like the second would because the tranny would be seperated from the engine where in park it is still connected and the engine would have to spin the torque converter, also is there anything I can do to a diesel engine to make it more efficient, ill sacrifice power for efficiency

    • mike says:

      the torque converter will spin regardless, as it is directly bolted to the flywheel and it is connected to the transission throught a spline type connector either way it disengages the gears the same only difference is park actually has a pin the locks the gears up

  • All good ideas, BUT THE TWO BEST ideas I’ve found for increasing mpg is with a hho generator & a gasoline vaporizer. A hho generator of course generates hho gas, making the gas combust much more complete.

  • Nelson says:

    Gentleman. Stop it with the childish games. Wanna save on fuel. Demand our governments to do away with oil, fuel burning vehicles altogether and electric cars too. The technology is there,(Electro-magnetic motor) and has been there for decades. But you know who, The oil companies, who own our government politicians( educated thieves, sell-outs) dont want that to happen. Money is what they want. Selling efficient products is to profit what death is to life. So, how about we grow some balls, join together and stop this modern day slavery for once!!! P.S. Bill Gates purchased the international patent to the electro-magnetic motor years ago. But he has done nothing with it. Big Oil is paying him to not do anything with it. No B.S. either, look it up. The time is now. Our environment and most important, our children deserve it.

  • Jonny says:

    Just a question, is there a car part that makes a car more fuel efficient? What makes a car more fuel efficient now compared to a car in the 50′s? Is there a certain way the engine cycles?

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