The holidays are nearly here, and if it feels like you blinked and most of 2019 has flown by, you’re certainly not alone. Whatever and however you’re spending the holidays, one thing is probably for certain: you’re likely going to have to travel somewhere. Whether it’s a multi-state road trip or you’re just going a few miles to a family or friend’s place, there are several things you can do to increase your mileage without drastic changes to your life or driving style. Here are just a few of them that could help you this holiday season and on.
Slow Down a Bit!
Did you know that one of the single greatest fuel losses in the United States simply comes from driving too fast? In fact, for the average driver, driving just ten miles per hour faster increases your fuel consumption by two miles per gallon. That’s 30 miles over the course of a single 15-gallon tank. For some people, 30 miles could mean easily getting an extra day of driving in before needing to refuel. Over the course of an entire year, that could mean a pretty substantial savings.
Pay particularly close attention to how you accelerate as well. Acceleration is when most cars consume the most energy, and is when your engine burns through the most gas.
Drive Outside Heavy Traffic Times Whenever Possible
Nobody likes sitting in rush hour traffic. Neither does your engine. While you may be sitting on the highway going nowhere fast, what is going somewhere is the fuel in your tank—it’s still being fed into your engine in order to keep it running while at idle. Fuel-burning while you go nowhere means your miles per gallon numbers will drop rather quickly.
Instead, if you have some flexibility on when you can travel, consider coordinating your drive to avoid peak traffic times. Staying out of heavy urban areas during morning or evening rush hours will mean a faster drive, a less stressful experience, better gas mileage, and less wear and tear on your car as well. Consider leaving extra early in the morning or delaying your departure until the early afternoon.
Avoid Unnecessary Engine Idle
The typical measurement of fuel efficiency is “miles per gallon,” however this system has a flaw to it: your engine still burns fuel even when your car isn’t rolling. Simply having the engine on and running will burn fuel, and that means you won’t get nearly as far on a tank of gas. If you’re going to be waiting somewhere for a while, shut the engine off while doing so. You won’t burn fuel with your engine off and you’ll find that you’re actually getting quite a bit further on each tank of gas.
Keep Up to Date on Your Car’s Maintenance
Finally, keeping your car well-maintained is a great way to preserve your fuel economy and get further while spending less on fuel. Here are a few valuable maintenance tips which all have a direct impact on how much gas your car burns on an average trip:
- Change your oil periodically and your engine will be in better health, which means it’ll need less fuel to produce power. Follow your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule found in your owner’s manual.
- Clean your fuel system: Over time, impurities in your fuel will build up and create residues that can gunk up and clog fuel injectors. Improper fuel consumption not only reduces power in your car but could also cause premature catalytic converter failure.
- Keep your tires inflated: According to the US Department of Energy, tires which are just one pound under recommended PSI levels can lower your gas mileage by 0.4%. That may not seem like much, but at around five to six PSI, that’s roughly a half-mile per gallon. Over the course of a full 15-gallon tank, that’s a difference of around seven miles. That’s a pretty substantial amount of gas to waste in addition to the added wear and tear on your tires themselves.
- Check and change your air filter: Improper airflow reduces fuel efficiency. The number one reason for poor airflow to your engine is a clogged or dirty air filter. Check your air filter every time you change your oil and consider changing it roughly every 10,000 miles or so.
About Christian Brothers Automotive
For over 30 years, Christian Brothers Automotive has been the name you can trust for all your maintenance and upkeep needs. We make it our mission to help keep your car running at its best, and that includes at its most fuel-efficient as well. Each of our auto repair shops are staffed with certified technicians who can service all makes and models of vehicles, and we offer comfortable waiting areas and even courtesy shuttles to get you where you need to go! We want to change the way you think about car care, and we go to great lengths to do that.
Need your car maintained before a long road trip this holiday season? Pick up the phone and call your local Christian Brothers Automotive to book your service today.