Tips to Save Gas and MoneyWith gas prices hovering around the $4 mark—and with no relief in sight—most North Texans are looking for ways to get the most out of their gas mileage. Some tips offered by the U.S. Department of Energy may help relieve some of the pain at the pump.
Drive sensibly: Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving also is safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
Observe the speed limit: While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer.
Remove excess weight: Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Avoid excessive idling: Idling cars get zero miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. (Note: The NTTA’s conversion to cashless tolling was designed to reduce idling on area toll roads.)
Use cruise control: Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
Use overdrive gears: When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed slows. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
Keep your engine properly tuned: Repairing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. Repairing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.
Keep tires properly inflated: You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every pound per square inch drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is usually found on a sticker in the driver's side door jamb or the glove box and in your owner's manual.
Use the recommended grade of motor oil: You can improve your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1 to 1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" or the American Petroleum Institute performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Commuting: Stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours. Drive your most fuel-efficient vehicle. Consider telecommuting (working from home) if your employer permits it. Take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car if you take turns driving with other commuters.
Find more fuel-saving tips at www.fueleconomy.gov.