Did you know that the average American spends more than $2,000 per year on gas? The old days of $5.00/gallon petrol might be behind us – for most people at least – but driving can still be downright expensive. When you're forced to fill up the tank every couple of days, it may prevent you from spending money on other things. The good news is that you can often improve a vehicle's gas mileage by following some simple steps.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Driving on underinflated tires can take its toll on a vehicle's gas mileage, forcing the engine to burn more fuel just to get from point A to point B. According to some statistics, nearly half of all cars on the road have underinflated tires, resulting in an additional 5-10% gas usage. You can check to see if your tires are properly inflated by using a basic PSI gauge. Place the bottom of the gauge against the valve stem and it should force the tip to poke out. Check the length of the gauge's tip to determine your tire's pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) pressure.
Related Reading: How to Check Your Tire's Air Pressure
Change The Air Filter
When was the last time you changed your car's air filter? Driving with a dirty air filter may seem harmless enough, but it can lower your vehicle's gas mileage. A good rule of thumb is to change it once every 8,000 to 10,000 miles. Most auto shops will gladly replace the air filter for you, but it's easy (and cheap) to do it yourself. Find an air filter that's compatible with your make and model vehicle, pop the hood, find the old filter and replace it!
Reduce Vehicle Weight
Another helpful tip to improve your vehicle's gas mileage is to eliminate any unnecessary weight. Whether it's old sports equipment, textbooks, your dirty gym clothes, etc., remove any and all items from your car that you don't need.
Take a Different Route
Granted, this isn't necessarily a modification, but it can still save you gas. Many people assume the route with the shortest distance will use the least amount of fuel. In some cases, this is true, but other times it's not. If you're forced to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, you'll be burning gas while getting nowhere. Try searching for different routes to reduce your trip time and reduce your vehicle's gas usage.
Roll The Windows Up
As long as your car has air conditioning, there's really no point in driving with the windows down. Studies have shown that vehicles get better gas mileage when the windows are rolled up. This is due the fact that they are more aerodynamic, cutting through the air with greater ease.
photo by: Upupa4me