5 Ways to Improve Your Car’s Gas Mileage to Save Money at the Pump

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Photo by Chanikarn Thongsupa

Aloha Hawaiʻi! Trying to save money on gas is a tall order, but you can do more to ease the strain on your wallet than by just searching for the closest cheap fuel station. There’s a few easy things you can do to improve the gas mileage of your vehicle that will keep your visits to the station further apart, and save you money! Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds, follow these 5 steps to stave off those runs to the nearest station.


Photo by Aphiwat Chuangchoem

Check the pressure in your tires

One of the easiest steps you can take to improve your fuel mileage is to check the air pressure in your tires. Having low air in your tires increases the surface area of rubber from your tire touching the road as well as the amount of gas your car needs to propel forward. You can find the recommended PSI for your tires inside your car door or in your manual–don’t use the PSI listed on your tire, that’s the maximum allowed PSI and inflating to that amount is not recommended. You can normally fill your tires at a gas station near you.


Photo by Sara Garnica

Remove your unused car rack

Have you ever seen one of those car commercials that shows the car in a wind tunnel? It looks slick, right? If you saw the same car with a rack or other cargo attached you’d see the air lines go in all sorts of screwy directions! That’s because adding racks and cargo to the roof of your car can cause a lot of wind drag, badly reducing the efficiency on your gas mileage. If you’re in-between camping and other trips, and aren’t using the rack, considering removing it to improve your fuel efficiency! The effect of removing your racks on your car should be noticeable after they’ve been taken down.


Photo by Hassan Ouajbir

Ease down on the gas

It’s so easy to get in the habit of pushing the speedometer higher and higher, but in addition to being safer, (and legal!) you can save on gas if you stay under the speed limit. After your car reaches 45 mph, loss in fuel efficiency increases. According to fueleconomy.gov, it’s safe to assume that for each 5 mph you drive over 50 is like paying an extra 18 cents per gallon for gas! In addition to the loss per gallon in overall speed, you lose more fuel efficiency when slowing and accelerating rapidly. Aggressive driving and speeding is a quick way to empty your fuel tank. Ease off the pedal and relax, which is easy to do because you’re saving money!


Photo by Peter Pryharski

Letting your engine idle wastes gasoline

If you’re like me then you’ve heard about the enormous amount of fuel it takes for NASA’s rockets to make the launch from ground level to outer-space, and have made the questionable connection that this somehow applies on a much smaller scale to any vehicle. The truth is that it only takes about ten seconds worth of travel out of your gas tank to start most cars, so letting you car idle instead of just turning it off and on again is definitely wasting your fuel. You don’t need to go so far as to turn it off and on at red lights (although some hardcore fuel-savers do!) but if you’re waiting in the parking lot for your friend who swears it will only be a 30 second in-and-out visit to the store, then turning the engine off is your best bet to improve your fuel savings.


Photo by Julie B

This one only involves pushing a button!

Okay so you’re going the speed limit and you’ve cut back on the idling, your tires have been inflated (or deflated) to the correct PSI, and you even took down your kayak rack that you haven’t touched in six months, and is currently sitting serenely in the garage where it can’t do any more harm to your mileage… What else can you do? The answer is simple and easy, all you have to do is push the cruise control. If you’re like most drivers when you’re on the highway and manually maintaining a speed of 45mph, you’re constantly making micro-adjustments to your speed, slowing down a little, speeding back up, speeding up too much and braking, etc. All these subtle changes in your speed affect your gas mileage. If you maintain a constant speed with minimal changes by utilizing your cruise control you’ll save a lot of fuel.


Photo from Archive

Every little bit helps

I hope these fuel saving tips help ease the strain on your wallet and your gas tank! If after all these steps if you’re still on the lookout for a cheap solution for gasoline, think about signing up for one of Big Island Energy Company’s free memberships, in Kailua-Kona or Hilo! You can visit our membership page here or speak to us in person. Mahalo nui loa for reading! 


About the Author:

Julie is Big Island Energy's Social Media and SEO Specialist.
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