1.) Drive smoothly — Avoid heavy acceleration or braking. Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gasoline mileage by 5 percent at lower speeds around town and by 33 percent at highway speeds.
2.) Keep your engine well tuned and repair any problems immediately — If your car has failed an emissions test or is noticeably out of tune, repairing the problem could improve your gasoline mileage by 4 percent on average.
3.) Make sure tires are not over- or under-inflated — Proper air pressure cuts down on fuel used while driving. Keeping tires at the correct pressure can improve your gasoline mileage by more than 3 percent.
4.) Minimize vehicle drag — Keep your trunk and back seat clear of unnecessary items that only add weight. Removing excess weight can improve your fuel mileage.
5.) Use the recommended grade of oil in your engine — Following your manufacturer’s motor oil recommendation can improve gasoline mileage by up to 2 percent. Look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to ensure it contains friction-reducing additives, if recommended.
6.) Choose a high-quality gasoline — Top automakers say that carbon deposits can build up on critical engine parts, which can decrease the power, performance and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen recommend using Top Tier Detergent Gasolines to help keep engines clean.
7.) Use cruise control on major roads and in free-flowing traffic — Maintaining a constant speed can improve fuel mileage.
8.) Avoid idling — When you idle, you get zero miles per gallon.
9.) Avoid higher speeds — Fuel mileage usually decreases when driving at speeds over 60 miles per hour.
10.) Plan your outings to avoid separate trips — Combine your errands into one outing to avoid short separate trips. This helps avoid unnecessary cold starts and keeps your car’s engine running warm and more efficiently.
The above was written by Amanda Bowman and was published in the Winter 2014 edition of Vehicle MD.