Gas prices have now topped $4 per gallon for regular gasoline, forcing consumers to cut back on usage or think of other ways to reduce the pain at the pump. The Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA) offers some tips on how to improve fuel economy and, surprisingly, it doesn’t include changing your car’s oil every 3000 miles. Good thing too — most cars today can go for as long as 7500 miles between oil changes.
So, what does AOCA recommend? Some of the usual tips but also good reasons behind them:
Oil Changes — Regularly changing your oil will add many miles to your engine. Changing your engine oil according to your car manufacturer’s
recommendation in your owner’s manual will help lubricate the engine,
minimize friction and carry away excessive heat, all of which will
lead to greater fuel efficiency.
Use the Right Grade — Make sure that you are using the right grade of motor oil for your vehicle. This is usually printed on the oil cap or in your owner’s manual.
Drive Sensibly — Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage up to 33 percent at highway speeds and up to 5 percent around town.
Observe the Speed Limit — While every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed, gas mileage usually decreases at speeds above 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon of gas.
Air Filter — Filters are a crucial part of regular vehicle maintenance and act as the ‘vehicle’s lung’. Dirty air filters make it harder for the engine to breathe. If the flow is restricted by a clogged air filter, the fuel economy and vehicle performance will suffer. Replacing a clogged air filter can increase your mileage by up to 10 percent.
Tires — Under-inflated tires affect your mileage by increasing resistance and making it more difficult for the engine to move the car along the road. For every 1-psi you are under the optimal rate, you lose 0.4 percent of your miles per gallon. The average person can improve mileage by approximately 3.3 percent by inflating their tires to the proper psi for their vehicle.
Remove Excess Weight — Avoid keeping unneeded items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your fuel economy 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 — When your vehicle is idling, you are getting 0 miles to the gallon.
Use Cruise Control — By using cruise control on the highway you will be maintaining a constant speed and saving gas.
Secure Gas Cap — Make sure your gas cap is on and not loose or damaged. 147 million gallons of gas vaporize every year due to these conditions.
Gas prices are expected to continue to rise, but you can realize improved fuel economy by changing your driving habits and keeping up with maintenance.
See Also — Hypermiling Defined!
Source: Automotive Oil Change Association