How to Use Less Gas and Increase Your Car’s Mileage – Review Geek

High petrol prices shown on street sign
Laura Gangi Pond /

With gasoline prices skyrocketing and changing day by day, many people are considering switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle. However, that’s not an option for many, so your next best bet is to try to use less gas and increase fuel mileage.

Everyone is trying to save money on gas these days. And although gas prices are out of our control, a few small changes can go a long way in limiting the impact on your wallet. So check out some of our valuable tips below for fuel-efficient driving and learn how to use less gas.

Do not have a heavy foot

leather shoe pushing accelerator pedal on metal

It might sound cliché, and you’ve probably heard this one before, but I see people driving aggressively no matter where I go. Do not put the pedal to the metal. It’s a hard habit to break, but these days maybe you should give it a try and give both your foot and your wallet a break.

Aggressive driving habits include starting the engine at green lights, speeding, flying around corners, and leveling as quickly as possible. All of these activities waste gas, add up over time, and cause you to refill the tank sooner than necessary. According to the Department of Energy, aggressive driving habits can consume between 20 and 33 percent more gasoline.

I don’t know about you, but I always catch up to someone next to me who had a heavy foot at the next red light. It rarely gets you anywhere faster, uses more gas, and isn’t that safe. Quick accelerations are rarely necessary, so finesse is a bit strangling. This same rule applies to those who have an electric vehicle. You can get more range by being a sensible driver.

Do your interview

Oil filter sitting in front of a car engine
Cory Gunther

The first thing any mechanic will ask if you’re complaining about poor gas mileage is whether you’ve been keeping up with your maintenance. Change the oil if you want your car to run like a well-oiled machine. And while this is a task almost everyone is aware of, there are several easy maintenance tasks that you can do yourself or pay a small fee to do that will have a significant impact.

Be sure to change the engine oil and filters at the intervals recommended by the owner’s manual or when the computer and dashboard say so. A dirty engine air filter can increase fuel mileage by more than 10% on older cars, so you’ll want to do that too. Here are some common maintenance tasks to consider:

  • Change your oil and oil filter
  • Replace engine air filters
  • Replace cabin air filters (yes, this can improve gas mileage)
  • Stay up to date on brake maintenance
  • Replace spark plugs at the recommended time
  • and more

The most common causes of a check engine light (CEL) are a problem with the EVAP system or a malfunctioning O2/fuel sensor. The EPA estimates that a faulty or dirty O2 sensor can upset fuel-to-air ratios and reduce gas efficiency by 20-40 percent. That’s a huge difference and will cause you to make trips to the gas station far more than you should.

There’s a reason manufacturers put maintenance recommendations in the manual, and it’s not just to keep the vehicle running longer. Check fault codes and stay in tune with your vehicle with an OBD2 scanner.

Easy Bluetooth Scanner

Check tire pressure

add air to a car tire
Cory Gunther

Speaking of maintenance, when was the last time you checked your tire pressure? Unfortunately, for many, it’s only when they notice a tire going flat. In fact, tire pressure can have an impact on fuel consumption.

When your tires are underinflated, fuel consumption can increase by 5-7%. And even if it’s not huge, every little bit counts. Additionally, underinflated tires will cause uneven wear and cost you more in the long run.

Tire pressure can rise while you are driving, due to the heat, not to mention the hot summer. The correct tire pressure will give your tire the correct connection to the ground for ideal fuel economy. Check your owner’s manual, the sticker inside your door, or the tire wall for the correct PSI for your tires.

Additionally, you will want to make sure to rotate your tires occasionally and that your tire alignment is correct for the best driving experience.

Keep a steady speed (and distance yourself from others)

driving a car on a sunny day

If you’ve ever wondered why mileage is different between highway driving and city driving, it’s because cars are more efficient at certain speeds. Also, maintaining a steady pace without constantly hitting the gas or braking will help achieve better fuel efficiency.

Most vehicles get an ideal gas mileage of around 50 mph, and if the laws in your area allow it, casually staying within that range can help drivers use less gas.

That same Department of Energy study linked above suggests keeping a consistent distance from other drivers, especially during city driving. Rapid acceleration, hard braking or aggressive city driving can reduce your gas mileage by up to 40% in some cases. Of course, every situation varies, but keeping a steady speed and a safe distance from others allows you to drive slowly through red lights or accelerate gently. It can and will improve your gas mileage.

Limit idling and commuting

Josh Hendrickson

Another thing that many drivers don’t think about is letting the engine idle, which uses more gas than restarting the car when you’re ready to go. Idling for 15 to 20 minutes can use almost a 1/2 gallon of gasoline. Many modern vehicles are equipped with a stop-start system that automatically shuts off the engine when it stops, even in traffic, while saving fuel and reducing pollution.

So next time you’re sitting at the store waiting for a friend or family member to show up or show up to work early and you want to waste time browsing social media, turn off the car instead of waste gasoline while idling.

This next one should go without saying, but just as you’ll want to limit aggressive driving, unnecessary idling, or stop-and-go traffic, you’ll also want to limit your travels. Try to make all your stops at the same time, rather than constantly going back and forth around town.

Reduce weight and drag

Car with luggage rack and mounted bikes
Ksenia Shcherbakova/

When it comes to vehicles, aerodynamics are important. The less drag you have, the less the engine will have to work to pick up speed and maintain that speed, saving gas.

Weight is another factor you’ll want to consider. When you go on a trip or vacation you will have more weight in the car, but whenever you can reduce unnecessary things like a luggage rack, trash in the trunk or extra weight, do so. All of these things can contribute to poor fuel economy.

Go easy on AC or heating

Turn on the air conditioning in a hot car
Greg McGill/

Warmer temperatures in the summer will help your engine warm up faster, improving gas mileage. However, you will lose one of these gains as soon as you start the air conditioner. In fact, using AC puts a strain on the engine and uses more fuel than any other auxiliary function.

The EPA estimates that running the air conditioning can consume up to 25 percent more fuel while driving, especially during short daily city trips. Yes, 25%, which is a lot. These numbers get even worse if you have a dirty or clogged cabin air filter, so as we said earlier, replace it often.

Rolling down the car windows can add drag which will reduce gas mileage, but at low speeds it will keep you cooler and avoid wasting gas in the air conditioner.

Your best bet is to roll the windows down on hot summer days when you start driving. Get all that hot air out, cool off with natural airflow and wind, then use the AC when you start to accelerate. This way your car doesn’t have to work as hard to get to an ideal temperature, and you limit the cranking time at full speed. In winter, use the heater as little as possible, as it has a similar effect on fuel economy.

Each fuel saving tip alone can increase your car’s mileage and help you use less gas. But then, when you practice sensible driving habits, maintain maintenance, and combine them all, you’ll absolutely notice a difference at the pumps.