- Check your air filter. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%, while dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy. Air filters are easy to check and change; remove the filter and hold it up to the sun. If you can't see light coming through it, you need a new one.
- Keeping your tires inflated properly and your engine running right is critical to efficient motoring. Make sure your tires are well aligned, since poor alignment not only causes tires to wear out more quickly, but also forces your engine to work harder. Be sure to pump up your tires, since deflated tires have more rolling resistance, which means you need to burn more gas to keep your car moving.. A properly maintained engine with emission control systems can improve mileage by up to 4%, so be sure to tune up your engine periodically.
- Make sure your gas cap isn't broken or missing. Escaping fumes not only hurt fuel economy, but release smog-causing compounds into the air.
- Drive more slowly and smoothly; avoid jack-rabbit start/stops, full-throttle acceleration, and jerky driving. Riding with your foot on the brake pedal will not only wear out brake pads (which will cost you at the maintenance shop), but can also increase gas consumption by as much as 35%. Most vehicles are most efficient when cruising in their top gear at a relatively low speed due to wind resistance. However, do not idle your car, as it both wastes gas and causes pollution.
- Lighten up the load on your car and try not to drive with too much luggage or people; for every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1 to 2% in fuel efficiency.
- Shut off the air conditioner and use open windows instead at lower speeds. At higher speeds (such as on the highway), the A/C may be more efficient due to wind resistance.
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