How to Fix Poor Gas Mileage

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Conservation of gasoline has come to the forefront of people's thoughts. Whether you are out to save the planet, your bank account or both, there are many things you can do to reduce the amount of gas you use each day.

  • Remove all unnecessary items from your vehicle. If you tend to throw everything in the trunk and clean it out every six months or so, it is time to change your habits. Offloading an extra 50 pounds of textbooks, clothing and luggage will cut your fuel efficiency by a full percentage point. That adds up over the course of a year's driving, so get that junk out of the trunk.

  • Keep your tires in good shape. Worn or misaligned tires cause the engine to use more fuel. If you aren't sure about your alignment, get on a safe wide road, go about 40 miles an hour and let go of the wheel briefly. If your vehicle veers to the right or left, you are burning extra fuel.

  • Slow down. The EPA has determined that for each mile per hour above 55 you drive, you lose approximately 1 percent of your fuel economy. If you are zipping along at 75, you burn 20 percent more than driving 55.

  • Maintain your vehicle as advised in your service manual. This includes oil changes, periodic inspections and regular tune-ups. If you know something is wrong with your vehicle, don't put off the repair. It will end up costing you more in the long run, and your gas mileage will suffer in the meantime. Anything that affects your car is likely to affect gas mileage.

  • Shut off your car if you are going to be idling for more than 30 seconds. You may have heard that it takes more fuel to start a car than to let it idle for five minutes, but that is nonsense. You are wasting gas if you are sitting still with your engine running.

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