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Know Your Car Section

Tips for Improving Your Gas Mileage

With today’s high gas prices, it’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to make minor modifications that will improve your gas mileage. ASE certified technicians have developed 22 effective tips for reducing the amount of gas you use while driving your vehicle:

Vehicle Tips

  1. Keep your tires properly inflated, and check them frequently. [1]
  2. Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment.
  3. Use the thinnest viscosity oil that your car’s manufacturer recommends (5W-30 for most newer cars.)
  4. Keep your engine in proper mechanical condition.
  5. Keep your engine in tune and make sure the air and fuel filters are clean.
  6. Make sure your brakes are not dragging.
  7. Repair body damage. That crunched front fender adds aerodynamic drag – just ask any racecar driver.
  8. Don’t use premium fuel if your car does not require it (check your owner’s manual); using it is an unnecessary expense.
  9. Don’t waste your money on those late night “as seen on TV” products that are supposed to increase your mileage.

Driving Tips

  1. Avoid excessive warm-up time. Modern engines do not require it.
  2. Don’t idle your engine for long periods. Turn off your engine when you leave the car or have to wait a long time. [2]
  3. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
  4. Keep your speed at 55 miles per hour or less whenever possible. [3]
  5. For newer vehicles with aerodynamic designs, close the windows and turn on the A/C when driving on the freeway.
  6. For older cars with inefficient A/C compressors, use the ventilation system and close the windows, temperature permitting.
  7. Anticipate merging traffic and stoplights – decelerate and accelerate smoothly.
  8. Plan your trips wisely. If you need to go several places, plan a route that allows you to run most or all of your errands in one outing.
  9. Empty the trunk! Extra clothes, overdue library books, tools and the bag of aluminum cans that you have been meaning to take to the recycler all weigh down your car unnecessarily. [4]
  10. Carpool whenever possible or practical.
  11. Listen to radio reports for alternate routes around congested areas.
  12. Drive in the highest gear possible (without lugging the engine).
  13. Try to keep your speed constant. Use cruise control when on long stretches of road.


  • [1] According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Americans could save nearly four million gallons of gasoline each day for every one pound per square inch (psi) of tire under-inflation, compared to the mileage if ALL vehicle tires were kept inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
  • [2] The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for 145 million passenger vehicles idling five minutes per day, they consume approximately four million gallons of gasoline without going anywhere.
  • [3] According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a vehicle loses about one percent in fuel economy for every one mile per hour driven above 55 mph. A passenger car that averages 30 miles per gallon at 55 mph. could typically get 28.5 mpg at 60 mph, 27 mpg at 65 mph. and 25.5 mpg at 70 mph. Remember, however, that for different speeds, the changes in fuel economy will vary by vehicle model.
  • [4] Each 100 pounds of needless weight will cost up to one-half mile per gallon, on the average.