Gas Mileage Tips

Category: Auto

High prices at the gas pump continue to put the squeeze on family budgets, recent fluctuations not withstanding. It seems like $3 per gallon gas is here to stay. While there’s no magic pill or bolt-on gizmo that will magically turn your gas guzzling car or truck into a 50 mile per gallon (MPG) wonder, there are a number of things that can help you to cut down on the amount you spend on fuel each month...

Boost Your MPG and Save Money on Gas

gas prices

I asked my friend Dan Gray to share some tips along these lines, since he's done extensive research into various makes, models and mileage. He's also created a nifty tool (see links below) to help you compare the gas mileage efficiency of many cars.

Dan tells me that any given car or truck can achieve at least slightly better gas mileage, even without that silver bullet. Much of this comes down to keeping your vehicle running at optimum efficiency and driving smart. It’s one thing if you can trade your gas guzzler in for a car with the best gas mileage, but until you can, these tips can help ease that pain, just a bit ...

    gas pump
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Under inflated tires increase rolling resistance and decrease gas mileage. An insufficient amount of air pressure will also lead to sloppy handling. Buy a quality air pressure gauge, keep it in your glove box, and look for those friendly service stations that still provide “free air” ... rather than those that seek to sell it.

  • Change your air filter regularly. A clogged air filter will decrease the efficiency of your engine. Changing most air filters should only take ten minutes or so, and require only a screw driver. If you’re not comfortable with performing this simple procedure, consult a kindly shade tree mechanic.

  • Avoid unnecessary trips. While you can’t call in sick at work with the excuse that you’re not coming in because you need to save gas, you can cut down on your driving by taking care of your errands on the way home from work. Plan out your week whenever possible to avoid backtracking.

  • Consider carpooling. Although it may have fallen out of favor since the days of the real gas crisis, sharing a commute with a friend or two (or three) is a fantastic way to dramatically slash the amount of gas you’re all using. Yes, it’s true ... most of today’s kids have no clue about the true origins of the diamond commuter lane.

  • Quit Idling and get out of the drive through lanes. If you’re sitting outside the convenience store with your engine running, you’re wasting gas ... unless it’s below zero. Park your car and run into the bank, rather than burn gas waiting in line. If you have to use the drive through, consider shutting off your engine when you pull up to the teller window (when you know the teller will take more than a minute or two to get their job done).

  • Drive sensibly. You don’t need to mash down on the accelerator pedal every time you pull away from the stop light. Think about slowing well in advance of the intersection. The less time you spend with your feet into the throttle and brakes, the better chance you’ll see an improvement in gas mileage. You don't have to go slow, just smooth.

Ready for a new car or truck? Use the handy gas mileage calculator at to calculate how much you can save by trading in your gas guzzler for a fuel-efficient vehicle. Then you can look for a SUV with the best mileage or perhaps a mini van with good MPGs.

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Most recent comments on "Gas Mileage Tips"

Posted by:

11 Aug 2007

Americans should note that Europeans and other pay US$7 or more per gallon, not merely "more". The resulting carefree use of gasoline is one of the reasons Americans emit 20 tons of greenhouse gas per person per year, while other developed countries use half that and developing countries even less (China 3 tons, Indians 2 tons).

EDITOR'S NOTE: Interesting, but transportation accounts for only 25% of carbon dioxide emissions. And remember the reason that you pay $7-$8 per gallon... it's not market forces, it's government policy. So there are tradeoffs involved.

Posted by:

Richard Loftis
11 Aug 2007

Check your vehicle's MPG with different octane levels. If you can get 10% better gas mileage with a higher octane that only costs 4% more, then that will save gallons & money. (Higher octane is a better buy the higher gas prices rise.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Perhaps, but some new cars recommend AGAINST using higher octane fuels. Even so, If your SUV can take 94 octane (6.9% higher than 87 octane) and the price is 20-25 cents more per gallon, you may not come out ahead.

Posted by:

Victor Bowman
11 Aug 2007

I use Microsoft Media Center to record programs that I can not watch in real time, Some of these programs I would like to save. I have Media Center set to begin recording a few minutes before and end a few minutes after because often they are not on time. Is there a program I can buy where I can edit these recordings before burning them to a DVD?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I like Sony Vegas Movie Studio. But I think you can also use Windows Movie Maker, which is free.

Posted by:

12 Aug 2007

Another valuable resource is to use to check gas prices in your given location. The site is a portal to local and regional gas stations all over the country. It has been extremely valuable in locating the cheapest gas in my immediate area.

Posted by:

13 Aug 2007

1. I bought a small motorcycle for $400 and am having great fun commuting to work on it. I get 85+ mpg and my life is more fun. I take the back roads and added about 7 minutes each way to my trip. The insurance is under $100/year and the mini van gets driven on weekends and when I really need it so it gets a a lot less wear and will last longer. I'm saving about $50 a month on gas.

2. Octane is the rating of how poorly the gas will burn, or how hot it has to be before it ignites. High performance engines have high compression which will pre-ignite (ping/knock) with low octane fuel. Pinging and knocking are really bad for an engine. It's best to go with what the manufacture recommends for your engine and if you get pinging or knocking to get a tune up. So long as you are not pinging and knocking upping the octane actually lowers the power the engine produces. It's possible to get better mileage with high octane, but it would mean that the engine really needs a tune-up.

Posted by:

18 May 2008

GasDandy is an easy-to-use tool that tracks a vehicle’s mileage and maintenance information, providing data that can be used for both business and personal purposes. By making these figures readily available, the program also gives the consumer the opportunity to save money and to proactively identify problems that can shorten the life of their vehicle(s). Download a free trial version of GasDandy today at

Posted by:

31 Mar 2023


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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Gas Mileage Tips (Posted: 5 Jul 2007)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved