No matter how tight your budget is, one thing you will have to spend money on if you are going to enjoy the use of your car is fuel. Yet pumping gas and watching the price continue to go up can feel like a type of torture. If you are looking for ways to save money, improving your car’s fuel economy is one way to do so. Here are some strategies to help you improve your fuel economy and save hundreds over the course of the year by ensuring your car is driving as efficiently as possible.
How to Improve Fuel Efficiency
- Change Fuel Octane
Check your car’s manual to see what octane level is recommended. If it doesn’t specifically recommend a higher octane, stop paying a premium for mid-grade or premium gas. While this won’t change your fuel economy, it will help you save on fuel costs. Only high-performance cars that have high-compression engines need the higher octane fuels, in most cases.
- Check the Tire Pressure
Next time you fill up, check the tire pressure in all four of your tires. The U.S. Department of Energy warns that for every 1 psi your tires are underinflated, your gas mileage will drop by 0.3%. Remember that changing temperatures in the winter and summer months will change your tire pressure, so check this regularly.
- Upgrade Your Motor Oil
An oil change, when you’re due for one, will help your fuel efficiency, but consider changing to a synthetic motor oil when it’s time for your next oil change. Upgrading your motor oil to a synthetic oil can help improve your fuel economy.
In fact, according to this video from Pennzoil, Shanna Simmons, a mechanical engineer, indicates that the lower viscosity of the synthetic motor oils helps the moving parts of the engine work more efficiently. This makes sense, because a thicker oil will require more energy to move through than a thinner liquid with a lower viscosity.
So how much can you really save if you switch to synthetic oil? On average, this switch adds up to 550 more miles driven a year. By making the switch, some drivers see as much as a 5% increase in their fuel efficiency.
A side benefit of making this switch is the fact that synthetic motor oil lasts longer than high viscosity oil. While each oil is different, some cars and oils can go as many as 15,000 miles between oil changes. On average, 7,500 or 10,000 miles is fairly common for synthetic oil, which is twice as long as the recommended 3,000 miles for thicker oils.
- Change the Oil Filter
When you have your oil change, have the oil filter checked. While it may not need to be changed at every oil change, it hurts your fuel economy when it becomes dirty and clogged. Replacing it when needed will help make your car run more efficiently.