Quick tips for better fuel efficiency

April 14, 2014 12:00 AM

One of the worries at the top of motorists' minds is the cost of gas. Drivers are constantly looking for ways to spend less money at the pump, especially during spring, when the prices tend to rise. Fortunately, there are many ways to do so by simply keeping up with vehicle maintenance measures and adopting smarter habits. Not only will you be saving cash by boosting your car's fuel efficiency, but you'll also be helping to protect the environment.

Here are a few small efforts that can make a big difference in your wallet.

  • There are many reasons to ensure your tires are adequately inflated, but NerdWallet explained that it's very important for fuel efficiency. When tires don't have enough pressure, your car has to expend more energy to move on the road. According to The Car Care Council, you can boost your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent if your tires are well inflated.
  • Since it's time for spring cleaning anyway, you might as well get rid of the junk in your car. The U.S. Department of Energy reported that eliminating 100 pounds from your vehicle can lower your MPG by up to 2 percent. While you're at it, take any unnecessary cargo off your roof, as increased wind resistance causes decreased fuel economy. In fact, the source noted that driving with a large, blunt roof-top cargo box on your vehicle's roof can lower your fuel economy by 2 to 8 percent in the city, and by up to 17 percent on the highway or up to 25 percent at Interstate speeds.
  • Don't forget to schedule regular tune-ups. The Car Care Council noted that doing so can improve your car's gas mileage by nearly 4 percent.
  • Now that the temperatures are rising, you're definitely going to be tempted to crank your air conditioner. NerdWallet warned that it's a best to just open the windows under 40? mph as you can save a substantial amount of gas - but over that speed, you're better off turning on the AC unit to avoid increasing drag. These efforts can offer an efficiency boost of about 2 percent.
  • It's also a good idea to install new air filters if yours are clogged. The Car Care Council pointed out that replacing them will not only translate to better fuel economy, but can also offer improved acceleration.
  • If you notice a major issue, make sure to take your car to a professional as soon as possible. According to www.fueleconomy.gov, fixing a problem like a malfunctioning oxygen sensor can improve gas mileage by up to 40 percent.

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