Stillwater, Oklahoma — Slow down.
Improving your car’s gas mileage is really that that simple.Taking it easy is the key to saving money at the pump, says Michael Calkins, manager of AAA’s approved auto-repair operation based in Lake Mary, Fla. “Altering your driving habits is the key. Accelerate gently and anticipate traffic flow to minimize stopping and starting.”
For the best gas mileage, combine a more-intuitive approach to driving with the following tips from AAA, the EPA, the FTC and Consumer Reports magazine:
• Leave your aggressive self at home. So-called jackrabbit driving – rapid acceleration and hard braking – can lower a car’s mileage 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets.
• Don’t be in a hurry. Fuel economy usually starts to decrease rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. According to the EPA, you can increase your mileage by 7 to 23 percent just by slowing down.
• Lighten up. Clean out your car. Every extra 100 pounds can reduce your mileage by up to 2 percent. Have a roof rack? Even a ski rack makes your car less aerodynamic, which in turn, negatively affects its fuel economy. A Consumer Reports test showed that carrying a large Thule Cascade car-top carrier reduced a vehicle’s gas mileage dramatically.
• Watch idling time. A car gets zero mpg when it’s idling. If you choose the drive-thru, turn off your engine while you wait for your order.
• Use your engine wisely. Engaging the cruise control and shifting up into the overdrive gear on a car’s transmission can save gas.
• Take care of your car. Does it need a tune-up? According to the EPA, fixing a car that needs a tune-up or has failed an emissions test can improve gas mileage by up to 4 percent. Fixing a more serious problem (such as a faulty oxygen sensor) can result in improvements as great as 40 percent.