Get better gas mileage - improve your mpg. Tips from

Improve your MPG

More fuel economy tips

The initial page on fuel economy tips proved so useful that suggestions for more tips came in straight away. Here then are the rest of the tip - the 'more than 10' list. In no particular order....

11. Weight is everything.

Clear the junk out of your car. Weight is everything when it comes to fuel economy. Every extra kilo you carry will adversely affect your gas mileage. If your car or van has removable seats that you never use, remove them and keep them in the garage. If you're feeling brave you could get rid of the spare tyre and jack and replace it with a can of tyre-sealing goop. If you're into modding, ditch the factory hood and replace it with a carbon-fibre one instead. If you're über serious, get rid of the glass in the rear side windows and replace them with perspex / lexan. Always think lighter. For that matter, go on a diet....

11b. Weight is everything - your wheels.

Following the 'lighter is better' theme, can you reduce the weight of your wheels? Alloy wheels can weigh less than steel wheels if you choose carefully. As well as increasing your fuel economy, this has the added bonus of giving you more useable power because you're reducing the unsprung weight. That means the engine is wasting less energy just turning the wheels. Be careful though - if the car feels a bit sportier you might be inclined to drive a bit sportier and that goes against tip 1 on the previous page; your right foot is directly connected to your mpg.

12. Block gear changing.

If you've got a manual, you likely already are getting better gas mileage than someone in the equivalent car with an automatic. But you can eak out a few more mpg by block gear changing. This is where you don't necessarily go from 1st to 2nd to 3rd etc. If you're careful (and this requires some experimenting), you can go from 1st to 3rd to 5th and so on. The key is to make sure that you don't go too high up in the rev range in the lower gear, or too low down in the upper gear. Go to high in the lower gear and you're burning petrol for no reason. Go too low in the higher and the engine will labour and suck petrol badly. With newer cars with 6- and 7-speed boxes, block gear changing is much easier than it ever used to be, and for a lot of motorcyclists (myself included), it's the norm. 1-3-5-6.

13. Aftermarket remedies and in-the-tank products - just don't.

fuel scam

Pills, stickers, fuel-line magnetisers, powders, airflow disruptors. Since the dawn of time it seems that there have been aftermarket products that claim massive increases in power and gas mileage. For the most part, they don't work. I've reviewed some of them on my product reviews page and in some cases the fuel economy actually went down with the product in use. Remember the old adage: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. ie. when Uberjuice Industries tells you that you'll get 50% more mpg by simply pouring their food colouring into your tank, don't fall for it.

14. Coast in gear, not in neutral.

If you need to coast while you're driving, don't slip the car into neutral but let it coast in a high gear. Most cars nowadays will shut off the fuel supply to the engine completely if you coast in gear. If you put it in neutral, the engine consumes enough petrol to keep it ticking over. ie. you'll get better fuel economy coasting downhill (for example) in gear.

15. Fit a thermatic fan instead of a belt-driven one.

Fitting an electric (aftermarket) thermatic fan to replace the engine driven fan/viscous coupling fan could help improve gas mileage. It'll be slight - it's arguable whether you'd even be able to measure it, but eliminating the drag caused by the extra belt or viscous coupling and the fan can only help. Ok so most modern cars are equipped with electric fans as standard now but it could benefit older makes or those still being manufactured with belt driven cooling fans.

16. Choose a car with a light-coloured interior.

Air conditioning saps gas mileage and cooling a hot car on a hot day means using the a/c. A car with a lighter coloured interior can be cooler by a degree or two on a hot day so the a/c doesn't have to work quite so hard to remove the heat.

17. Fill up first thing in the morning, not last thing in the afternoon.

This isn't really for gas mileage but to get more petrol for your money. Take advantage of early morning cold by filling up your tank early in the day, while the ground temperature is still cold. The temperature of gasoline, diesel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role in getting the most for your money. Petrol stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps (though loading and storage facilities do, ensuring them greater accuracy). Because the storage tanks are underground, the colder the ground the more dense the petrol. When it gets warmer it expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening your gallon is not exactly a gallon. Petrol pumps don't measure actual volume or density, they assume volume derived from flow-rate. The flow rate doesn't change with temperature but the density of the petrol does. So if the pump is calibrated to deliver an assumed gallon in 10 seconds based on full flow, if the petrol is colder, it will be more dense and you'll get marginally more in that 10 seconds than if you fill up in the afternoon. How much more? If it's 15°C in the morning and 35°C in the afternoon, you'll get about 2.5% more petrol in the morning for the same price.

Last page

Gas Mileage Tips page 1    Gas Mileage Tips page 2