Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage

With gas already having reached $4.00 a gallon in some areas, everyone is looking for ways to conserve gas.

Whether you are a stay-at-home mother who only drives to do errands locally, or an executive who has an hour commute to work each morning, here is a list of simple things you can do to make your gas get you as far as possible:

Drive Sensibly: Not only is erratic and aggressive driving dangerous for yourself and others on the road, but it wastes gas too! Reckless driving habits such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can decrease gas mileage by up to 33% on highways and 5% on local roadways.

Observe the Speed Limit: Speed limits were put into place to keep drivers safe, but did you know that obeying these posted limits can also help you save gas? While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy level at a different speed, most begin to decrease after 60 mph. Think of it this way: for every 5 mph you travel over 60 mph, you are spending an additional $0.25 per gallon on gas.

Remove Excess Weight: Keeping your vehicle as light as possible is another way to improve gas mileage. An extra 100 pounds inside your vehicle can decrease its gas mileage efficiency by up to 2%. The added weight adds pressure to your tires, requiring more gas to move your vehicle.

Avoid Excess Idling: Not only is excess idling bad for the environment, but it's bad for your gas mileage. When you idle, you are getting zero miles per gallon of gas. What a waste! It's also notable that cars with larger engines typically use more gas when idling than smaller ones.

Use Cruise Control: When it is safe to do so, using the cruise control feature when traveling on the highway or long rural roads can help you save gas. Cruise control helps you maintain a constant speed, thereby reducing the stress on your vehicle and its gears, saving you gas.

Maintain Your Tires: You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% just by keeping your tires properly inflated. Properly inflated tires can distribute the weight of your vehicle most efficiently, requiring less gas. Tires are also safer when properly maintained and can last longer.

Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil: Your gas mileage can improve by 1-2% just for servicing your car with the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. You can find this information inside your owner's manual or by searching your car model online. Does your owner's manual suggest 10W-30 motor oil but you've been using 5W-30? You are cheating your vehicle out of gas efficiency by 1-2%.

Plan Trips Accordingly: Planning to take a trip this summer? Plan your travel time and route to allow you the shortest, most direct path to your destination during the least traffic congestion. Also consider how you are going to pack. Using a roof rack? A loaded roof rack can decrease gas mileage by 5%.