5 Ways To Increase Your Gas Mileage

Filling up gas tankWith gas prices fluctuating daily, drivers need to get the most out of every tank. And with simple fuel-saving tips, tricks and maintenance checks, you can learn to stretch your fill-up to the fullest.

  1. Ditch the Clunker

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, fuel efficiency has improved as new, more efficient vehicles were designed over the past 10 years. In fact, domestic light-duty vehicles got an average of 35.5 MPG in 2013 compared to an average of 29.1 MPG in 2003. Choosing a newer, more fuel-efficient vehicle can save you thousands in the long run, both in dollars and minutes spent at the pump.

  1. Save with Safety

Making small safety changes to your daily driving habits adds up in your tank, your wallet and your well-being. Fast acceleration and hard braking lower gas mileage by up to 33% on the highway and 5% in a city, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Keep a lid on aggressive driving and travel with zen-fueled efficiency.

  1. Drop the Excess Weight

Rooftop cargo containers are a great help on family trips. But these space-savers create wind resistance, which makes your car work harder and burn up to 17% more fuel on the highway. Excess weight in the trunk also sucks up fuel unnecessarily at a rate of 1% for every 100 pounds. Leave empty or unused cargo containers at home and clear out clutter for a smoother ride and steeper savings.

  1. Minimize Winter Driving

Did you know your car is less fuel-efficient in cold weather? Warming a car takes a lot of gas and can drain your tank before you even hit the road. Most manufacturers recommend warming your car for just 30 seconds and driving off slowly rather than long, idling warm-ups. Try parking your car in the garage to keep the engine warmer and combine trips and errands in the colder months.

  1. Maintenance: Pay Now, Save Later

Staying up to date on regular vehicle maintenance keeps your car more fuel-efficient. Regular oil and filter changes keep cars running in the fuel-efficient zone. Tires that are properly inflated reduce drag and won’t have your engine working overtime, increasing your gas mileage and lowering carbon emissions.

Fuel, money, or time, GEICO believes in the power of saving. Visit our Saving section on GEICO More for great practical tips and advice.

By Katherine Palbom

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  1. Linda Hall says

    Thank you for posting all of this good information. It just reminded me that I need to get in my car and go fill it up.

  2. Joan Learner says

    How do running the air conditioner or heater affect gas mileage? I have been told that the AC uses a lot of gas, but the heater does not. True?

      • George Wiessner says

        Of course it costs you.
        Anytime you use engine power for things other than power to the wheels it costs.
        Jackrabbit starts and driving full speed to the Stop sign are foolish offenders, not to mention that the brakes have to cope with the wasted energy.

        • George Wiessner says

          The air conditioning compressor takes power to run it and therefore some of the engine power is not available to the drive train.
          The heater is utilizing hot water generated by the engine and is free.
          BUT, who would want to drive in the Texas midday heat without A/C.
          On large V 8 engines This is not so much noticeable, with the smaller 4 cyl. jobs it is a different story.

  3. Louise Goldwyn says

    My! what a lot of information I gathered here with all the tips. Have been driving for 67 years and did not know 50% of your info. Thanks a lot

  4. Charles B. Lincoln says

    I am 75 yrs> old and have seen several gas shortages in my years. A major way to save gas is cutting down on your idling time, as you stated. But in recent years, it has increased. Many people leave the keys in their cars, with car running. The best way to save gas is to remove them. One, among some obvious ones, is that a car thief will not be riding around on your gas and dime.

  5. ProfQuill says

    Always good tips no matter what you drive, but I finally treated myself to a hybrid car, and there are a number of extra ways to maximize MPG using such a drive train.

    This car has displays that will tell me all about how I’m driving, and my current MPG, so it is somewhere between a game and an obsession to maximize my mileage. A hybrid has different modes that affect your efficiency such as regenerative braking, coasting, temperatures inside and out, some things that won’t matter much in a standard gas car.

    So there’s good reason to expand a list of tips to include hybrid driving styles.

  6. Bernadine Coates says

    This should be a Public Service announcement for all. There were several items I was not familiar with, Buying 1. buying gas before 9:am and 2. buying gas in the middle of the week, 3. warning up car in the winter. also I will look into using reward points

    Thanks for the tips

  7. George says

    I almost always buy my gas @ Costco, &
    they only accept a credit card, never cash! So, your advice doesn’t apply!

    • Joy says

      Get a Sam’s Card. It saves you 5 cents off each dollar you spend on gas and their prices are usually lower than other stations in my area; including Costco.

  8. Ken M says

    I agree. I have been slowing down and staying right at the speed limit on a local highway Ibdrive every day to work. Interesting enough I hit every green light also. And every morning there are tons of other drivers that race (55-60, in a 35 mph zone) from stop light to stop light. I stay at 35 mph. And I come to the red light where they are sitting waiting just as it turns green and I do NOT have to even brake. I hit the green and keep going. It amazes me how dumb people are. They are like sheep. On the phone, doing make up etc. I recently purchased a dash Camera from Amazon for $70 and feel so much safer. Now all of these people rushing from light to light talking on cell phones and doing make up are being recorded. I have had three instances in the last three weeks where people have made very stupid mistakes racing from red light red light and almost caused accidents and my dash camera picked up every bit of it. And I will tell you what, I will be the first want to pull over and the SD card to the highway patrol. I have very little tolerance for people doing anything other than paying attention to what they should be doing which is driving.
    So be ware. You never know who else has a camera recording your habit and how you’re driving and what you’re doing. The first week I owned it I record it almost 3 accidents that the camera would’ve told the whole story. One of them was a reckless driver that was clearly trying to get to work fast because he was late. He was weaving in and out of traffic at 70 miles an hour in a 35. Of course eventually lost control of the vehicle And ended up in a ditch. And of course no one wanted to help him. It was sad. People just need to slow down. I have noticed since I myself have started coasting, driving much slower in my older adult life I am getting as many as 45 to 60 miles out of a tank more. So it does pay to slow down. And it does pay To do the speed limit in town.

  9. Ginter Vurlicer says

    Coast to red lights. There is no point in driving at the speed limit until the very last second at a traffic light and hitting the brakes hard. If you coast, you may give the red light a chance to turn green, in which case you do not have to brake at all.

    Braking cause heat to dissipate the momentum of the vehicle. If you keep a respectable distance,. at least two seconds. from the vehicle in front, you can minimize the number of times you use your brakes to slow down. Just remove your foot from the accelerator to slow down when you have a good distance from the vehicle in front. Braking causes global warming, but nobody talks about it.

    Aggressive driving is just stupid. Keeping a one car distance from a vehicle at sixty or above is stupid and leads to multi=collision “accidents” that cause traffic delays for hundreds of other drivers.

    • Stephanie C. says

      Thanks for the helpful info Ginter. I agree. Here in Texas that type of behavior is all too common. I wish some of those people could read your post.

      • Jan says

        Globe warming ? Is fake. it is much cooler than it used to be here. Of course the tips on saving fuel, are true and helpful.