The April 2011 issue of AAA’s Horizons newsletter has an article by “The Car Doctor” John Paul that outlined six pitfalls that reduce your fuel efficiency and gas mileage. How many are you guilty of?
- Old spark plugs and filters can reduce your gas efficiency by 5 percent.
- A lit check engine or service engine light means you are wasting gas. Modern cars have computers to monitor engine efficiency, so trust them.
- A faulty coolant or oxygen sensor could reduce your gas efficiency by 25 percent.
- Braking quickly and zipping off like a jack rabbit wastes gas. Watch traffic down the road to anticipate slowdowns.
- A cargo box on your roof’s car can reduce gas mileage by 20 percent. Ski racks and anything else on the roof reduce efficiency, too.
- Remove the junk from your trunk. An extra 100 pounds can cut gas mileage by 2 percent.
Now for the stuff that helps you.
- Keeping your tires properly inflated (look for a psi target on the inside of the driver’s door) can increase gas mileage by 3.3 percent.
- Cars are most efficient on the highway at between 55 and 65 miles per hour. I calculated that driving fast wastes 40 percent more gas.
- Skip the drive through and shut off your car when traffic is not moving for a period of time.
- Only warm up your car for 1-2 minutes as that is plenty of time.
- Think of your car as a bus route when you plan errands. Go efficiently from one stop to the next.
- Avoid paying for premium fuel unless your car requires it. It’s not going to make your car run anymore efficiently.