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How Can I Get Better Gas Mileage?

I hope everyone has had a safe and happy holiday season. The start of a new year often inspires people to adopt a resolution to change a habit they have or behavior they exhibit. Many of us will receive bills this month that will make us wish we had made our resolutions a little earlier. If you fall into this category, then you may find this article of interest as it offers tips on how to save money by improving your car’s fuel economy.

There are many conditions that can affect a car’s fuel economy. Under-inflated tires cause increased rolling resistance that will reduce fuel mileage by one or two miles per gallon. A dirty air filter chokes off the air and creates a rich mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Old, worn spark plugs cause inefficient combustion, reducing fuel mileage by as much as two miles per gallon. Almost one in five vehicles has a gas cap that is loose, damaged or missing. This allows fuel to evaporate, costing up to two miles per gallon. A worn O2 sensor is unable to compensate for engine malfunctions and can lower fuel mileage as much as three miles per gallon. Your check engine light will come on if your vehicle has a sensor problem. Finally, dirty or substandard engine oil increases engine friction. Clean engine oil can increase fuel mileage up to a half mile per gallon.

Your driving habits also affect your vehicle’s fuel mileage. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets. Allowing your vehicle to run while sitting idle for too long is also wasteful. Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient. Finally, observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.


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