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Tips to get better gas mileage

March 9, 2011 |  8:55 am

Here are some easy ways to stretch more mileage from your vehicle from auto information companies TrueCar.com and AutoMD.com:

  • Drive smoother:  Be gentle with your gas pedal and your brakes. There's no reason to speed up to a red light just to slam on the brakes. Aggressive driving will lower your gas mileage.   
  • Slow down: Most vehicles get the best fuel efficiency between 45 and 55 miles per hour. Driving more than 60 mph can cut fuel efficiency 7% to 23%. Getprev   
  • Reduce idling: Turn off your engine if you're waiting for more than 20 seconds. Idling wastes more gas than turning off your engine and restarting it.
  • Use lower grade fuel: Regular unleaded fuel won't hurt most vehicles even if premium unleaded fuel is required. Unless your engine starts to knock or ping when using a lower-grade fuel, stick to regular.  
  • Remove excess weight: An extra 100 pounds sitting in the trunk or back seat can reduce fuel economy by as much as 2%.
  • Turn on the ventilator and turn off the air conditioning: The most efficient way to cool your car is with the air that comes in through your flow-through ventilator. Air conditioning or open windows (because of the drag) make your vehicle less fuel-efficient. Driving fast with the windows open can burn more fuel than the air conditioner.
  • Replace or tighten the gas cap: Fuel evaporates through gas caps with broken or weak seals, potentially reducing your efficiency by 2%.  
  • Keep the tires inflated: Tires that are not properly inflated have a higher rolling resistance, which reduces efficiency. Keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve gas mileage by up to 3.3%.
  • Change the oil: Energy-conserving or synthetic motor oil can reduce engine friction, improving efficiency by as much as 2%.
  • Replace the spark plugs: Misfiring spark plugs can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%

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-- Jerry Hirsch
Twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: A gas station in Los Angeles. Credit: Reuters

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