Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonReviewed By: Sara RouthierUPDATED: Oct 1, 2020Fact Checked

Gasoline—or gas— is traditionally defined as a type of refined petroleum that is used to power internal combustion engines. While gas may be used to power a number of products, it is most commonly associated with automobiles. Unfortunately, the cost of gas has risen dramatically over the past several years, making everyday travels within a vehicle quite costly. Though some individuals turn to the use of bicycles or public transportation in an attempt to reduce the costs associated with high-priced gasoline, others cannot manage without the use of their cars. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which vehicles can be made more fuel efficient. Increasing the miles per gallon in a vehicle cannot only save money, but may also be an effective way decrease carbon emissions, which have been found to be quite detrimental to the environment. Individuals who are interested in learning more about improving fuel efficiency should first understand how the ways in which we drive can affect gasoline use. In addition, keeping one’s car in good shape and making smarter choices when it comes to planning vehicle use are other ways in which fuel efficiency can be increased. Finally, individuals who are interested in learning more about improving fuel efficiency may want to consider consultation with mechanical engineers or other experts in the field of motor vehicles.

Drive More Efficiently

Driving more efficiently is often considered to be of the utmost importance when it comes to improving fuel efficiency. Driving efficiently typically refers to avoiding aggressive driving trends, such as speeding, or rapid acceleration and braking, which can decrease fuel efficiency by as much as 33%. Speeding, for example, is especially detrimental when it comes to optimal fuel use—in fact, some research suggests that gas mileage decreases rapidly above speeds of 60 miles per hour. In addition, driving cars that are exceptionally heavy, idling for extended periods of time, and relying heavily on overdrive gears are also common ways in which fuel efficiency is decreased. While changing these behaviors can be challenging for some drivers, it is essential to ensuring optimal results when it comes to improving fuel efficiency in a car, truck, or SUV.

Keeping Your Car in Shape

Keeping one’s car in good working order is also important for individuals who hope to improve fuel efficiency. Research has shown that a car that is not well-maintained can experience as high as a 40% decrease in fuel efficiency rates. While there are a number of ways in which car owners can improve fuel efficiency through proper car maintenance, ensuring tires are kept at an appropriate pressure may be the simplest. Depending on the specific car, proper tire pressure may vary quite dramatically—however, all cars can experience significant decreases in performance and safety when pressure levels are below optimal levels. Using the right kind of motor oil is also important when attempting to improve fuel efficiency in a motor vehicle. For best results, car owners should use the specific type of oil recommended by the manufacturer of the vehicle. Failing to do this cannot only lead to serious damage to the car, truck, or SUV, but may also lower mileage rates of the vehicle by up to 1.5 percent.

Planning and Combining Trips

Finally, planning and combining trips in a car, truck, or SUV can significantly decrease the amount of fuel used while traveling—and subsequently, and lead to decreases in financial expenditure. Research has found that taking one long car trip instead of several short ones can dramatically decrease the amount of fuel used on a daily basis. In addition, commuting can be an effective way for a group of individuals who are all traveling to the same destination to lower fuel costs. Individuals who are especially fuel-conscious may choose to rely on forms of public transportation, such as city buses, subways, light rails, or other similar options. Finally, when traveling, car owners may be able to increase fuel efficiency by installing a roof rack on a smaller car for use in storing camping materials and other similar products. While the roof rack may provide some additional drag—thereby decreasing fuel efficiency slightly—these effects are likely to be significantly outweighed by differences in the weight and fuel efficiency of the smaller vehicle.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Reviewed by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier