Super-expensive gas is here to stay. Drivers are in a scramble over how to afford their morning commute. They’re resorting to a number of solutions, some the result of fuel economy technology in the form of hybrid vehicles, others steering for quick-fix gadgets carrying a high price tag and dubious claims.
Don’t downgrade from your favorite ride into a sub-compact clown car! Stay away from fuel saving gimmicks, too. There are simple ways to save gas, increase gas mileage and stick it back to the greedy barons stealing your spending cash.
Improving Air Flow
A great place to start when looking to increase gas mileage is with your vehicle’s air filter. It is by far the easiest performance upgrade around, and the quickest way to increase gas mileage.
If you’re still lugging around town with a disposable paper air filter, you must toss it in favor of a performance air filter. A disposable paper air filter is incredibly restrictive to airflow, a restriction which essentially chokes your engine. Compare this to a performance air filter which uses either cotton or foam filtration material. Air flows much easier through these performance air filter materials which puts plenty of oxygen into your engine for burning fuel. With the extra air on hand, your engine’s computer responds by using less fuel per air part.
But wait – there’s more. The bountiful airflow puts extra horsepower at the pedal for your driving pleasure. Not to mention the cleaner air volumes now entering your engine, which contribute to overall vehicle condition. Be careful, though. Overusing the power boost provided by a performance air filter will negate any mileage improvements.
Ever feel like something is holding your truck back? Surprisingly, it’s probably your tailgate. Passing air rushes over your truck’s cab and flows directly into your open bed. With nowhere else to go, the turbulent air crashes into your tailgate – catching your truck like a trout that swallowed the hook.
Adding a tonneau cover to your otherwise exposed truck bed provides a tight surface for airflow to blow right past. Without a drag-prone tailgate to slow your truck down, you can see an average gas mileage improvement of 5% to 10% immediately.
If you’d rather not get a tonneau cover, or need full uncovered bed access at all times, consider an air-flow tailgate. drag is reduced immensely, thanks to a mesh or louvered design that allows turbulent air in your truck bed to slip right through the gate.
Though studies show the gas mileage improvement is not as dramatic as adding a tonneau cover to your ride, air flow tailgates will show an immediate gas mileage improvement that exceeds unsafe driving with the stock tailgate down.
Tire Pressure Effects
If you’re getting worse gas mileage than usual, check your tire pressure. If your tires are under-inflated, your vehicle has to work that much harder to spin them. The friction caused by these flabby tires could be sucking your gas mileage by 2mpg or more. Not to mention the premature tread wear that will cost you serious cash down the road.
Check your pressure with a digital tire gauge for the best possible accuracy. The recommended pressure for your tires is usually given on a label inside your door well. If they’re low, fill them up at most any corner service station and check the pressure again with the digital tire gauge. Under-inflation can have cash-swallowing consequences, but over-inflation is just as bad for your wallet.
Sharpen Your Shop Skills
The overall health of your car contributes greatly to the gas mileage you’ll see throughout its life. Follow the regular maintenance schedule for oil changes, tune-ups and inspections. Don’t keep driving your vehicle if something is blatantly screwed up! Get the problem fixed, and it’s less likely to drain your gas tank.