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Let’s say you just bought a brand new car, its mileage in cities and on the highways so great that you can’t wait to spend that extra money elsewhere. But after a couple of weeks of driving, you run out of gas quicker than you thought you would. Here are some fixes that can improve gas mileage.
First things first: a red light turning green doesn’t mean that you were transported from your neighborhood to a dragster race track. Cool off on the acceleration! While rapidly picking up speed may be fun (and it usually is pretty fun) it wastes a lot of fuel. Yet this isn’t just accelerating from a stopped position. This also counts for how fast you are going on a highway. The way engines work in an environment with very particular posted speed limits is that if you drive at the posted limit of 65 mph, rather than 80, you can save as much as 15-20% of fuel. This is largely due to drag, which increases exponentially with each mile per hour over 65.
Speaking of drag: ditch the roof racks or anything that is potentially causing more drag as you drive. Your car is already working as much as you tell it to. Adding that extra drag will only burn up gas and lessen your mileage as it tries to fight through the air. Keeping the car as low to the ground as possible, with nothing impeding its air flow over its top, can save gas.
Check your tires next. Resistance doesn’t just occur at the top and front of your car: it also occurs where the road meets the tires. Keeping your tires air pressure at its proper limit will in turn limit the resistance the tire will meet against the road. You might also consider paying a bit extra the next time you replace your tires with tires that are made with low rolling resistance. Though they do cost a bit extra up front, they will save in you money in the long run.
Finally, there are numerous vehicle-specific fixes that can done to increase mileage. The first has to do with trucks: as Mythbusters has proven, the belief that leaving the tailgate down will save gas is patently FALSE. Put that tailgate up as it lessens the tire to road drag. If you are driving or plan to drive an SUV, try to go with a lighter vehicle: even making sure the inside of your car is clean and isn’t as heavy will save gas!