How to Improve the MPG on a Car

1.

Remove ski or bike racks or car carriers when not in use. These accessories add wind resistance which will decrease your car's efficiency. Avoid carrying items on the top of your car when possible. The reduction of aerodynamics adds to your fuel costs. Place items in the trunk or backseat instead.

2.

Perform regular maintenance on your car. Change the oil every 3,000 miles. Replace the air filter when it becomes dirty. Change the spark plugs when they become worn.

3.

Check your tire pressure. Under-inflated tires create drag that can reduce your gas mileage. Properly inflated tires are not only safer, they will increase your mileage by more than 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

4.

Avoid sudden acceleration and aggressive driving. In addition to the gas savings, you will be much safer and avoid accidents, which can reduce your insurance premium.

5.

Drive the speed limit. Your mileage decreases significantly when driving over 60 mpgr. The U.S. Department of Energy states that, "You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas."

6.

Clean out your trunk. Extra weight in your car can decrease your mileage by 2 percent. If the trunk of your car is serving as a storage space for extra tires or junk, remove these items and store them elsewhere.

7.

Use the cruise control. This helps you maintain an even speed, which will increase your mileage.

8.

Plan trips to combine errands. Driving with a warm engine is more fuel efficient than making several short trips with a cold engine. Think ahead and plan your route so that you do not back-track. This will reduce the number of miles you drive.

9.

Avoid traffic jams. Idling reduces gas mileage and is not good for the environment. Avoid rush-hour driving and plan your route to detour around areas with heavy traffic.

Tips and Warnings

  • For even more fuel savings, car pool to work. You can save 50 percent on your fuel bill by carpooling with one other person. Even more savings are possible with additional carpool participants.Consider telecommuting to work. This will save you money on gas, minimize your vehicle's impact on the environment and save wear and tear on your car.
  • Be wary of products or additives that claim to add fuel efficiency. Consumer Reports notes that they have yet to find products that improve fuel efficiency. They advise, "Don't waste your money. They don't work." The Environmental Protection Agency also has a list of devices and products that they have tested.
  • For many people, a significant portion of personal income goes toward fuel for transportation. You can add money to your pocketbook by decreasing the amount you spend at the gas pump. Another benefit of greater fuel efficiency is the smaller environmental impact you have when driving your car.