10. Check The Gas Cap
Potential savings: 2 Cents Per Gallon
An estimated 17% of all vehicles on the road have broken or missing gas caps, which both reduces gas mileage and can be detrimental to the environment by allowing harmful fumes to escape that contribute to smog. It’s also the most common – and cheapest to fix – cause of an illuminated “check engine” light.
9. Get A Front-End Alignment
Potential savings: 28 Cents Per Gallon
Driving over all those potholes created during the winter months can easily throw your vehicle’s wheel alignment out of whack. This can not only cause a car’s tires to wear out more quickly, but it also forces the engine to work harder, which can reduce gas mileage by as much as 10%. If you notice your car pulling to one side or the steering wheel is off-center, take your car in for an alignment, pronto.
8. Pay Attention To Tires
Potential savings: 8 Cents Per Gallon
Sources suggest that over 25 percent of all vehicles on the road have improperly inflated tires, which can both adversely affect a car’s mileage and lead to uneven and/or premature tread wear. Tires that are under-inflated by 7.5 pounds. will trigger a 2.8-percent dip in a vehicle’s mileage. Check the tire pressure often, using a simple tire gauge, as it can vary by an average of one PSI (pound per square inch) with every 10-degree (Fahrenheit) change in air temperature. Have them properly inflated according to the PSI recommended by the automaker (it’s usually noted on a sticker that’s affixed to the driver’s-side door frame).
7. Choose The Right Motor Oil
Potential savings: 5 Cents Per Gallon
Whether you take your vehicle in for oil changes or prefer to do it yourself, be sure the crankcase is filled with the thinnest-viscosity motor oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. For example, if you’re currently running on 5W-30-grade oil, switching to 10W-30 could reduce your vehicle’s fuel consumption by 1-2 percent.
6. Take Time For A Tune Up
Potential savings: 11 Cents Per Gallon
If your vehicle is in need of a tune up, and especially if its failed an emissions test, it’s probably getting around 4 percent fewer mpg than it should.
5. Clean Out The Trunk
Potential savings: 6 Cents Per Gallon
As any automotive engineer will tell you, reducing a vehicle’s weight is the easiest way to boost its fuel economy. To that end, get the junk out of the trunk, as carrying an additional 100 pounds of cargo can increase a vehicle’s energy consumption by 1-2 percent.
4. Turn Off The Engine At Idle
Potential savings (for every two minutes that you don’t sit idling): 2 Cents Per Gallon
One of the best ways to save gas is to simply turn off a car’s engine while waiting at a curb or sitting at an extended stoplight for more than 30 seconds. That’s because an idling car or truck essentially gets zero miles per gallon, and it’s why many of today’s vehicles come with stop/start systems that accomplish this task automatically. And don’t "warm up" your car before driving – it’s unnecessary and it wastes fuel.
3. Keep Your Left Foot Off The Brake Pedal
Potential savings: 99 Cents Per Gallon
Does anybody really drive this way? If so, shame on you. Habitually driving with your left foot resting on the brake pedal can not only wear out a car’s brakes prematurely, it can also reduce gas consumption by as much as 35 percent. Put your foot back on the floor where it belongs.
2. Slow Things Down
Potential savings: 20 Cents Per Gallon
Sure, you don’t want to be one of those motorists who putters at a snail’s pace on the highway, but neither should you be leading the pack. For every five fewer miles per hour you cruise along at highway speed – say, driving at 65 mph instead of 70 – you can cut your vehicle’s fuel consumption by an estimated 7 percent.
1. Drive Smoothly
Potential savings: 54 Cents Per Gallon
Yes, we all enjoy a brisk 0-60 mph launch, braking hard into the apex of a sharp curve and then planting the throttle as the road straightens out, but the truth is that jackrabbit starts suck gas like a toddler with a sippy cup, and assertive braking just wastes the fuel your car uses to get up to speed. Save the stunt driving for the track and keep things smooth on the road by anticipating the movement of traffic and using the brakes as little as possible.
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