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Eight Ways to Improve Your MPG

By: Kevin Watson MSc - Updated: 3 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Mpg Fuel Efficiency Tyres Filters Fuel

It's possible to improve a car's mpg using simple driving and maintenance techniques. Here are 8 great tips to help you improve you car's economy:

One: Speed

Adjusting speed is possibly the single most effective way of improving mpg. Don’t accelerate fast. Never push the accelerator pedal to the floor. Keep the revs down by changing gear appropriately. And don’t go above 70 mph on the motorway.

This all sounds dull, but it improves fuel efficiency. Speeding on the motorway is particularly bad for mpg. The faster a car goes, the more it has to fight against wind currents - and the more power and fuel it uses.

A driver should also anticipate when to stop. Braking at the last possible moment on the way to a junction, roundabout or traffic lights is uneconomical. It’s cheaper on fuel to slow down gradually, although this may not be a popular manoeuvre with other road users.

Two: Fuel Price

There are websites that check local petrol and diesel prices. Use one of these and buy fuel at the cheapest station that’s close to you.

Three: Remove the Roof Rack

Never keep a roof rack on when there’s no need for it. A roof rack impedes a car’s progress through the air because it’s not aerodynamic. And a car that has to work harder to move forward consumes more fuel than necessary.

Four: Tyre Pressures

Drivers should check the pressure in their tyres meets the car manufacturer’s recommended levels. When the pressure is too low, tyres have greater rolling resistance. This impairs fuel efficiency, and mpg suffers. If possible, check tyre pressure once a week.

Five: Fuel Type

Some engines specifically need a high-octane fuel. But if not, don’t use such fuel. It’s more expensive. And for many cars, it’s unnecessary.

Six: Filters

Change a car’s oil and air filters regularly. To be fair, renewing the oil filter doesn’t make a significant improvement to mpg. But it helps keep the oil system clean and working at peak efficiency.

Changing an air filter can noticeably improve a car’s mpg, however. Dirt blocks air filters. This leads to poorer airflow into a car’s engine. To counteract the poorer airflow, an engine may burn more fuel. Replace a clogged air filter, and mpg can improve.

Seven: Spark Plugs

Carbon deposits can coat spark plugs. This reduces the plugs’ efficiency. Replacing spark plugs at regular intervals can help boost a car’s mileage per gallon.

Eight: Fuel Injectors

After 60,000 miles or so, fuel injectors can become messy. A professional ultrasonic clean can restore them to pristine condition. The injectors control the mix of fuel and air in the engine. Clean fuel injectors therefore guarantee the best, and therefore the most fuel efficient, mix.

In Conclusion

Finally, how can a driver measure mpg? One way is to use a car’s mpg calculator. If a car doesn’t have such a calculator, the best method is to keep a pen and paper in the car. Note the number of miles travelled between refills and the fuel’s cost. Divide the cost by the price per gallon, bearing in mind that there are 4.546 litres to the gallon. This gives the number of gallons used. Now divide the number of miles covered between each refill by the number of gallons used.

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