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January 28, 2014

Beat the EPA Rating: Tips to Optimize a Vehicle’s Gas Mileage

For the last few years, the rising cost of fuel has remained one of the country’s most discussed topics. With the price of fuel being unlikely to decrease anytime soon, it is essential that car owners take the necessary steps to obtain the best possible fuel economy. Even vehicles that are equipped with powerful engines have the ability to get relatively good gas mileage when efficient driving strategies are used. Here are a few effective tips for optimizing gas mileage.

Decrease Highway Speeds
Even if the posted speed limit is 70 mph, the most efficient approach will be to maintain a top speed of no greater than 60 mph. As a vehicle begins to increase its speed, the engine is forced to work a lot harder to fight against the wind drag. Driving at a speed of 55 mph instead of 75 mph could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 25 percent.

Perform the Required Maintenance
Car maintenance has a direct impact on the fuel economy of a vehicle. Dirty motor oil can reduce a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by two percent. Although this number may seem insignificant, it could actually add up to substantial savings over time. Some of the other important routine maintenance includes changing the air filter, replacing the spark plugs, and getting a proper wheel alignment. It is also important to have the braking system inspected to eliminate brake drag.

Avoid Idling for Long Periods of Time
In an effort to warm their engine in the morning, some car owners choose to allow their engine to idle for long periods of time. Not only does this process waste a lot of fuel, it is also counter-effective. Even in frigid weather, most fuel-injected vehicles only require a warm-up time of no longer than one minute. The fastest and most efficient way to warm up the car is to drive gently until the engine reaches its normal operating temperature. Congested city traffic also promotes excessive idling, so do not hesitate to find an alternate route if possible.

Easy Acceleration
Racing from one stoplight to the next will destroy a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. When accelerating from a standstill, try to use a minimum amount of pressure on the gas pedal. Lightly engaging the throttle will definitely help to improve a vehicle’s overall gas mileage. A good rule of thumb is to avoid exceeding 3000 rpm on the tachometer when accelerating. If the driver consistently practices light acceleration on a routine basis, the vehicle’s gas mileage can even surpass the EPA’s fuel economy rating.

Learn to Coast
As previously mentioned, idling is a detriment to fuel economy. A very effective way to minimize idling is to coast to stops. For example, you may be approaching a red light. Instead of pressing the gas pedal, allow the vehicle to roll to a stop under its own momentum. Modern vehicles are designed to shut off the fuel supply when the throttle is released.

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