What are 5 ways to improve fuel efficiency?

With rising gas prices, improving your vehicle’s fuel efficiency is more important than ever. There are several simple steps drivers can take to get more miles per gallon and save money at the pump. In this article, we will discuss 5 key ways you can boost your fuel efficiency.

1. Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained

One of the easiest and most effective ways to improve fuel efficiency is to keep your vehicle well-maintained. Regular tune-ups, oil changes, air filter replacements and engine servicing can all help your vehicle run at peak efficiency. Maintenance helps ensure that your vehicle’s engine is operating properly and all systems are running as designed by the manufacturer.

Replacing dirty or clogged air filters is one of the quickest and cheapest maintenance tasks that pays off at the gas pump. Keeping your tires properly inflated to the vehicle’s recommended PSI also allows for better fuel economy. Underinflated tires create more rolling resistance and drag on your vehicle, wasting fuel. Using the recommended grade of motor oil for your vehicle and changing it at proper intervals also promotes better fuel efficiency.

Benefits of Proper Maintenance

  • Improves MPG by up to 4%
  • Optimizes engine performance
  • Prevents costly repairs down the road
  • Ensures safety by identifying potential problems
  • Extends the life of your vehicle

2. Drive More Efficiently

How you drive on a daily basis has a major impact on fuel consumption. Aggressive driving behaviors like speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower MPG by up to 33% on the highway and 5% around town. Adopting more efficient driving habits can go a long way towards improving your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Some easy ways to drive more efficiently include:

  • Obey posted speed limits – gas mileage decreases rapidly above 50 mph
  • Accelerate and brake gradually
  • Avoid excessive idling when stopped
  • Reduce extra weight by removing unnecessary items from your vehicle
  • Use cruise control whenever possible to maintain a constant speed
  • Plan routes in advance to minimize unnecessary driving

Driving the speed limit, anticipating traffic patterns and avoiding aggressive maneuvers like quick starts and stops will keep more money in your wallet at the gas station.

Driving Efficiently Can Improve MPG By:

Driving Behavior MPG Savings
Obeying speed limit on highway 7-14%
Gradual acceleration and braking 5-10%
Proper tire inflation Up to 3%
Regular maintenance 4%

3. Reduce Drag and Rolling Resistance

Aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance account for a significant portion of your vehicle’s required fuel. Minimizing these forces through proper vehicle maintenance and modification can unlock measurable fuel savings.

Steps to reduce drag and rolling resistance include:

  • Use roof racks only when needed
  • Remove unused roof racks or storage containers
  • Replace worn tires
  • Align wheels properly
  • Ensure wheel bearings are well-lubricated
  • Inflate tires to recommended pressures
  • Use low-viscosity motor oil

Keeping your vehicle aligned, tires inflated and removing unneeded cargo from roof racks reduces the drag and friction acting on your car. This allows the engine to work less to overcome these forces, putting more of the fuel energy towards actually moving you down the road.

Impact of Reducing Drag and Rolling Resistance on MPG

Action MPG Improvement
Inflating tires to proper PSI Up to 3%
Regular wheel alignments Up to 2%
Removing roof racks when not in use Up to 5% (at highway speeds)

4. Use Recommended Motor Oil

Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can provide measurable fuel economy benefits. Lower viscosity oils like 5W-30 can improve fuel efficiency by 1-2% compared to higher viscosity 10W-30 oils. Synthetic blends also enhance MPG by reducing friction inside the engine.

Follow your owner’s manual guidance on oil viscosity and quality recommendations. Opting for the lower viscosity and synthetic or synthetic blend oils suitable for your vehicle and climate is an easy way to get more miles per tank of gas.

Other motor oil tips:

  • Check oil level routinely to avoid low oil situations
  • Change oil regularly based on type and mileage
  • Consider using a high-mileage motor oil if your vehicle has over 75,000 miles

Motor Oil Rating System

Oil Viscosity Rating Temperature Suitability
0W-20 Best for very cold climates
5W-30 Good for most climates and temperatures
10W-30 OK for hotter climates

5. Consider Vehicle Upgrades

While property maintenance and conservative driving make the biggest impact on MPG, certain upgrades to your vehicle can also improve fuel efficiency:

  • Tires: Low rolling resistance tires minimize drag while rolling. Look for tires with a rolling resistance rating of under 10 kg/ton.
  • Air Filters: Aftermarket air filters like K&N filters allow more airflow to the engine.
  • Oil Additives: Friction modifiers added to motor oil can reduce internal engine drag.
  • Spark Plugs: Optimized spark plugs improve combustion efficiency.
  • Engine Tuners: Performance chips and engine tuners adjust air-fuel ratios for better MPG.

These upgrades make incremental gains in fuel economy and are most effective when paired with diligent maintenance and defensive driving habits.

Potential MPG Gains from Upgrades

Upgrade MPG Improvement
Low rolling resistance tires 1-3%
Cold air intake Up to 10% (engines with turbos see biggest gains)
Engine tuner 5-15% depending on tune optimization


Boosting your vehicle’s fuel efficiency doesn’t require expensive upgrades or modifications. Following proper maintenance schedules, adopting efficient driving habits, ensuring proper tire inflation and using the manufacturer’s recommended engine oils will provide the biggest improvements.

When purchasing accessories or considering upgrades, look for items that reduce aerodynamic drag, rolling resistance and internal engine friction. Incremental gains from low-drag roof racks, performance air intakes, low friction oils and engine tuners add up over time.

Focus first on how you are caring for your current vehicle and how you drive it each day. Adding in targeted accessories second can then provide additional fuel savings. With gas prices continuing to climb, even marginal improvements in MPG quickly translate into money saved at the pump.

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