Top 10 Tips for Saving Gas

Written by Jerry Dawson

1. Turn off your engine if you are going to be idling for more than 30 seconds. Millions of gallons of fuel are wasted each day from idling. Your starter and battery system can handle the increased activity.

2. Change your air filter every 10,000 miles. Just like a marathon runner, your car needs to suck in air without restriction.

3. Install a real-time fuel consumption meter if your car does not have one already. This way, you can see what you are doing while you are driving and make the needed adjustments to save fuel.

4. Pump up those tires. Higher tire pressures result in lower rolling resistance, so your mileage will improve. Not too high, mind you, but a tad over the “recommended” from your car and tire manufacturer. Remember, they don’t want you to get good mileage.

5. Turn off your air conditioning, but only at lights or in slow traffic. When you really get going, the open windows produce drag that will offset any savings you might imagine from having the AC off.

6. Reduce the weight of your car. Remove all non-essential items from the trunk and the interior of your car. Weight takes energy to move, so the lighter your car the less energy you will lose. Keep the spare tire and the jack, but almost everything else can go. If you don’t have a family, take out the back seat. Invest in custom wheels if they are significantly lighter than the stock wheels. Carbon fiber parts (like the hood or trunk) are great, too, although they may be a bit expensive.

7. Don’t keep your gas tank full all the time. Remember, fuel equals weight and you must do everything you can to make your vehicle lighter. Keeping about a half tank or less all the time should allow for emergencies but also keep your weight down.

8. Wax your car and keep it clean and waxed. Drag (friction with the air) greatly reduces fuel economy. A clean and waxed vehicle will have reduced aerodynamic drag, thus providing better mileage. If you have a luggage rack, take it off. If you have a moon roof, keep it closed. Smooth is what you want.

9. Don’t drive a lot with a cold engine. Cold engines do not run efficiently. Use a block heater to pre-heat your engine if you are taking many short trips. If you can combine your short trips it will help, as driving further will allow your engine more operating time at higher temperatures.

10. Use cruise control whenever possible. The car’s ability to maintain a constant speed is better than your ability to do so. Small, more precise, and constant adjustments made by the car’s cruise control system will save you fuel.

Ultimately, there are other, more drastic steps you can take to save on fuel. For instance, you could ride light rail instead of driving, car pool, ride your bike, buy a high mileage car like a MINI or a Toyota Corolla, or even move closer to where you work. One other thing to consider – invest in an oil company like Exxon-Mobil or BP. As the high cost of oil swells the profits of Big Oil, you will get a share of that ill-gotten wealth as an owner of the company.

19 thoughts on “Top 10 Tips for Saving Gas

  1. Dobie

    “Pump up those tires. Higher tire pressures result in lower rolling resistance, so your mileage will improve. Not too high, mind you, but a tad over the โ€œrecommendedโ€ from your car and tire manufacturer. Remember, they donโ€™t want you to get good mileage.”

    Why? Why would the tire or car manufacturer not want you to get good mileage? It would seem to me that it would be in their best interest to be able to promote their product as being as gas efficient as possible since they don’t make any extra money when you have to buy more gas. Manufacturer standards are there for a reason – don’t ignore them because of a paranoid belief that someone is out to get you. If there is a good reason to over-inflate tires – it.

    1. Vance

      If you keep the tires under-inflated, you’ll wear the tires out faster, which makes you buy more tires which equal more money for the tire company (and the vehicle manufacturer if they have a contract with the tire company-example: Ford and Firestone)

      Also, the worse gas mileage you get, the more pressure you’ll feel to trade in your older car for a newer “more fuel efficient” model which equals more money for the vehicle manufacturer

      Or the more likely that you’ll go back to the dealer to troubleshoot fuel economy issues, where they’ll offer “fuel cleaning systems, engine flushes, etc.” to increase gas mileage

      It’s more profitable for them to deceive the customer
      Sad world, really

  2. pwstrain

    #5 is a myth. Don’t you watch Mythusters? Proven that leaving the windows down uses less uses less gas than air conditioning.

    1. Vance

      That all depends on the size of the motor, the pull of the A/C system, and the type of vehicle

      Example: a big V8 will feel less strain on the system with the A/C on then will a little Honda 4 cylinder

      As a Honda owner, I know
      Try going uphill with the A/C on full blast with that little 4 banger screaming for mercy

  3. rassamussen

    Hey Dobie, I wouldn’t over inflate them but what they are trying to say is to overcome the friction produced in the sidewall of the tire as it rolls. Next time you stop, feel your tires. They are warm if not hot. This is energy being released in the form of heat. More air, less friction, less heat, less energy being emitted. I’d still stay at the top of the inflation chart but not much more.

  4. Dr Neo Lao

    #5 is legit, but it depends on your driving conditions.

    If you are in city traffic and moving slowly, having the windows open and the air conditioning off is best for fuel consumption.

    If you are driving at speed down the highway then having the windows closed and using the air conditioning is more fuel efficient.

    Not using the air con at all is even more efficient.

    Another good, cheap way of increasing fuel efficiency is to install a Hiclone unit. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an Australian device that sits inside the fuel filter and produces turbulence in the airflow. This makes the fuel mix better with the air for improved burning. Works on both carburettor and injected vehicles. You could probably make one at home if you wanted.

    1. Vance

      My solution:
      Keep the A/C off, the windows close, and have the VENTS open with the fan blowing
      As long as you have a cabin air filter to keep out dust/sticks/etc. you’ll have nice cool air coming in at highway speeds
      Couple that with the fan blowing (without running the A/C) and that’s more than cool enough

  5. Mitch

    #4 could be bad advice, depending upon the cost of your tires. My tires cost $250 each and I don’t want to wear them unnecessarily by overinflating.

    #5 is not a myth – Mythbusters got it wrong in lots of ways. If you have followed #3 you can see it for yourself. For me, a decrease of 20% at 55mph by opening two windows, just 10% for the AC.

    #10 only works if you are driving on flat roads. When going up and down hills, let the car accelerate going downhill and ease off goinging uphill. The cruise control will waste the benefits of gravity but use more gas thatn you need to going up again.

  6. Bujold

    You know what I find funny about #7? I heard the opposite thing, that keeping your tank as full as possible would prevent in-tank evaporation, because there would be less place for the vapour and the system would reach balance with only a hint of fuel evaporated (remember high school chemistry?). Since I work at a gas station, I’ve seen a lot of gas (as in “vapour”, not fuel) escape from tanks, but would it be that money saving? Same thing would go for keeping your tank light tough, what percentage would the tank’s weight represent out of the car’s one or two tons? Oh well. Summer’s coming in, so my car is going to get some vacation time while I use my bike.

  7. coolermaster

    With extremely high gas prices straining consumers pockets in recent months, it is only natural for people to wonder where all the money they pay at the pump goes..I install fuel saver on my car after i found this web site..

  8. dave

    if you under inflate your tires you will get more friction with the ground, which causes drag, and ultimately decreases your gas mileage while increasing your ability to “grip” the road.
    if you over inflate your tires the opposite effect will happen; the reason why the manufacturer recommends under inflation is because you will have more control over the car, in terms of steering, stopping, etc.. more grip on the road. but if you over inflate, and drive like over egg shells, you will get increased gas mileage and good wear on your tires (if anything, you’ll get better wear by overinflating than under inflating, contrary to what was prevously said, as less surface area will touch the ground / less friction).

  9. Greg

    I find number 7 kind of funny. The whole point of doing all of this is to save money. These days gas is going up a couple cents nearly everyday. If you keep it full, youd be paying less per gallon than if you had to fill it up completely after a week or two; thus Saving you precious cents on the gallon

  10. harry

    don’t tailgate and “drive” a couple of cars ahead of yourself. If you see taillights go on up there, just take your foot off the gas. Every time you step on the brake you’re converting energy to heat, and wasting gas.

  11. Roger Smith

    I dont know why earth are getting hot and hotter every day. From the beginning of the year till now, the temperature are getting few degrees hotter. I cant sleep and cant drive without air conditioner.

    To maintain my car air conditioner performance i've tried what people used in tricking their car air conditioner without recharging additional freon. They use pipe wrap to wrap the air conditioner piping and improve the air conditioner performance overall. This will reduce the heat loss and increase the gas mileage and saving gas.

    I think this article here:… will help you better understand what i've tried and applied with my car air conditioner.

    Happy to share with you, i hope we can help earth better by optimizing our own air conditioners, saving gas and energy.

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