Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

8 Ways to Spring Into Better Gas Mileage

Finally, spring. Daffodils! Budding trees! Short sleeves! Rising gas prices!

Wait, what was that last one?

In case you hadn’t noticed, the average price of gas jumped from $3.49 to $3.62 in the last month, and prices are expected to hover around $3.57 a gallon throughout the summer, just one penny below last year’s average.

Luckily, there are many things you can do to use less gas and keep rising prices from eating away at your budget, starting with properly maintaining your car. And after the brutal winter we had, you car may need it more than ever.

“Many motorists don’t realize that fuel consumption is directly related to auto care and has a significant impact on how much gas you use,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council, which organizes National Car Care Month every April. The organization has just published a free 60-page car care guide, which includes some great maintenance tips for maximizing fuel economy. Here are their recommendations:

1. Get a Tune-Up

Regular tune-ups, maintenance and having clean air filters will help you burn less gas, pollute less and prevent car trouble down the line. A proper tune-up can boost gas mileage by 4 percent. Changing a dirty filter can improve efficiency by 10 percent and using the oil specified for your car saves up to 2 percent. If a tune-up turns up a faulty oxygen sensor, you’ll save up to 40 percent by replacing it.

2. Check Your Tires

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Tires that are not properly inflated add rolling resistance that makes the engine work harder to move the vehicle. Tires can lose pressure due to seasonal temperature changes so pressure should be checked at least monthly, including the spare. (Check your manual for optimal pressure.) Do this regularly, and you’ll save 3.3 percent.

3. Get an A/C Inspection

The A/C system should be inspected annually, during which a technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.

4. Watch Gas Caps and Fill-Ups

Approximately 17 percent of the vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year. Get yours checked, and when you fill up, avoid the urge to top off. It can release harmful vapors into the environment.

5. Questions to Ask Your Mechanic
Here’s what you need to ask your mechanic to make sure you’re getting maximum fuel economy:

My car is getting lower gas mileage than normal. Does this mean there’s a problem?
• How often should my car have a tune-up?
• What components will you be inspecting and/or replacing as part of my tune-up?
• Are my tires properly inflated and is there enough tread for safe/effective performance?

On the Road
Besides keeping your tires properly inflated, there are several things you can do to maximize fuel economy between tune-ups:

6. Drive Green

Driving technique has a lot to do with your fuel economy. Avoid sudden starts and stops and go the speed limit. Jerky and aggressive driving decreases your miles per gallon (MPG) and increases wear and tear on your vehicle. Turn your car off instead of idling when you’ll be parked safely for more than 10 seconds. Also, drive wise and minimize unnecessary miles by doing errands in one trip, getting good directions and calling ahead.

7. Lighten the Load

Get your stuff out of your car and junk out of the trunk. This does not mean that you should not keep important emergency items such as a spare tire, flares and a first-aid kit. However, items that are not needed weigh the vehicle down—causing an increase in gas usage and unneeded wear and tear on a vehicle.

8. Keep Your Cool

Use the windows to help keep the car cool as much as possible when not on the highway. Park in the shade and use a reflective windshield shade when parked—it will take less gas to cool it off when you get back in.

April is National Car Care Month, and free vehicle inspections are happening all around the country. Find a free car care clinic or vehicle inspection event near you on the Car Care Council’s Event Finder to learn more about taking care of your car.

——–

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Green Car Guide: Understanding the History and Future of Hybrids and EVs

Revamped Federal Loan Program Will Produce Cleaner Cars and Create Green Jobs

Top 10 Fuel Efficient Vehicles for 2014

——–

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Moroccan patients who recovered from the novel coronavirus disease celebrate with medical staff as they leave the hospital in Sale, Morocco, on April 3, 2020. AFP / Getty Images

By Tom Duszynski

The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.

In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.

Read More Show Less
Reef scene with crinoid and fish in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A daughter touches her father's head while saying goodbye as medics prepare to transport him to Stamford Hospital on April 02, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. He had multiple COVID-19 symptoms. John Moore / Getty Images

Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Four rolls of sourdough bread are arranged on a surface. Photo by Laura Chase de Formigny and food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post / Getty Images

By Zulfikar Abbany

Bread has been a source of basic nutrition for centuries, the holy trinity being wheat, maize and rice. It has also been the reason for a lot of innovation in science and technology, from millstones to microbiological investigations into a family of single-cell fungi called Saccharomyces.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A coral reef in Egypt's Red Sea. Tropical ocean ecosystems could see sudden biodiversity losses this decade if emissions are not reduced. Georgette Douwma / Stone / Getty Images

The biodiversity loss caused by the climate crisis will be sudden and swift, and could begin before 2030.

Read More Show Less