The gas mileage your car gets makes a big difference in how much you spend to drive each year. Economists estimate that you can save $4,480 over five years by driving a car that gets 30 mpg instead of 20 mpg. Whether you're in the market for a new fuel efficient car or not, here are some gas mileage tips to help you save some serious cash.
Driving More Efficiently
Not only does speeding put you at risk for getting pulled over and issued a ticket, it can also lower your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and by five percent in the city. Avoid rapidly accelerating and braking to save around 25 cents more per gallon. If your car is equipped with cruise control, use it, and keep in mind that you start paying more for gas when you exceed 50 mph.
Whenever possible, remove unnecessary weight from your vehicle and only use a cargo box on top when absolutely necessary. Excess weight can reduce your fuel efficiency up to 25 percent on at high speeds on the interstate. Avoid idling, not only to save fuel, but to also decrease your emissions into the environment.
Keeping Up with Maintenance
One of the best ways to improve your gas mileage is to keep your car in great shape. Take your vehicle into a trusted shop to check the engine because a faulty engine or a failed emissions test can drain your fuel tank. Also, make sure that your tires are inflated properly because low air pressure can reduce your gas mileage and are generally less safe.
Planning Your Route
If you can arrange alternate office hours with your boss, try to stagger your work day to avoid rush hour traffic. Not only will you be saving yourself a world of headaches, but also saving money on fuel. If that's simply not an option your boss will consider, take advantage of ride-share programs, bike to work, or take public transportation to the office.
Assessing Your Current Car
To assess the fuel efficiency of your current car, head over to the U.S. Department of Energy's gas mileage website, Fuel Economy and enter your information into the Fuel Cost & Savings Calculator. By simply plugging in an estimate of how much you drive per year, fuel price in your area, and your average MPG, you can find out your total cost during ownership.
Wondering if you should trade in your gas guzzler? Try Edmunds' savings calculator to see if a more fuel efficient car is the best option for your wallet.
Alternative Fuel Car Options
Fortunately, there are lots of great options for fuel efficient vehicles these days. Fuel economy is affected by inevitable forces like traffic and weather, so your best bet is to own a vehicle that doesn't strain your finances. Look into hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles as options for your next set of wheels. Although these vehicles may have a larger price tag up front, make sure to revisit those fuel efficiency calculators to estimate your cost savings over time.