A&G Driving School

Top 10 Tips for Better Fuel Mileage

Top 10 Tips for Better Fuel Mileage—ways to make your personal vehicle more fuel-efficient

Better fuel mileage is about choice: by choosing to walk, cycle or use public transportation as an option, a family’s fuel mileage will increase exponentially. The challenge with opting for other transportation choices however, is that a cultural shift in thinking and a personal conviction that contravenes society’s expectations is required. Below are ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

10) Lighten the load in your vehicle. If it takes you longer than 30 seconds to clear a spot for passengers due to the amount of “stuff” in your vehicle, maybe it’s time to consider purging some of the inessentials. A lighter vehicle achieves better fuel economy. As well, a clean interior gives the driver the perception of a safer vehicle. And a clean vehicle is so much more enjoyable to ride around in.

9) Maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure.

8) Keep your vehicle maintained – a dirty fuel or air filter will compromise your fuel mileage.

7) Combine a number of shorter trips into one longer trip – if the vehicle is operated for less than 10 minutes, the engine does not heat up and it achieves its worst fuel mileage at start-up.

6) On long stretches of road, get the vehicle up to speed as quickly as possible. The vehicle achieves optimum fuel mileage when it is at cruising speed, and its worst when it is accelerating.

5) Increase your following distance and anticipate traffic lights so you don’t have to stop. Every time the vehicle stops, you have to accelerate back up the speed.

4) Do not idle your vehicle – start it up, wait 20 seconds and then go. You have to wait a few seconds for the oil pressure to build, but otherwise any vehicle built in the last 20 years is good to go – and the “oh so neglected” owner’s manual will tell you so. Allowing your vehicle to idle simply turns fuel into noise; and, the vehicle will heat up much more quickly if driven under moderate conditions.

3) Plan your daily commutes so you’re not sitting in traffic, which is essentially idling. Often the daily traffic jam can be avoided by leaving for work 10 minutes earlier. Talk to your boss, I’m sure he or she will be amenable to you showing up to work a bit earlier and leaving a bit earlier. If not, use the environmental card, saying that are simply being more responsible and protecting our environment for future generations.

2) Walk – driving your vehicle a few blocks to the local convenient store for a jug of milk is both hard on you and your vehicle. First, your engine never heats up and undue build-up occurs in the engine, which leads to premature wear. Second, a 5 or 10-minute walk a few times a day can really contribute to one’s overall health.

And the number 1 way to improve your vehicle’s fuel mileage:

1) Take the bus to work. If this is convenient and the walk to and from the bus stop isn’t too onerous, consider this option. Even if the bus stop is a distance, most public transit systems offer “Park & Rides”. This way, you can drive the short distance to the bus stop, park your vehicle and then take public transit into the city. This is the single best way to achieve optimum fuel mileage and health benefits.