Thursday, August 15, 2013

Top 5 Ways to Stretch Your Car’s MPG

The following is a guest post about steps you can take to improve your fuel economy. Special thanks to Veenstra's Garage in Grand Rapids, MI for helping our readers save some money on gas!

Remember when you could fill your tank for twenty bucks? Neither do I. It’s been a long time since gas prices have been that low. Gas prices have fluctuated a lot over the last decade, but it seems the high prices have become the new normal, and we are all just crossing our fingers that they don’t get any higher. Since the best thing we can do right now is try to make the most of it, I thought I'd list a couple ways we at Veenstra's try to get a
few more miles per gallon out of our gas tanks.

Proper Tire Pressure:

One way to boost your mpg is to keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure. The idea behind this is that flatter tires are less effective for moving a car forward so the engine has to work harder and uses up more fuel. For every psi (pounds per square inch) drop in your tires, it can actually lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent. Trying to overinflate your tires does not help either, instead it affects your vehicle’s handling negatively. Keeping your tires properly pressurized can save you some money at the pump.

Clean Air Filter:

Many people have proposed that having a clean air filter can boost your miles per gallon. While having a clean air filter is better for your car and can improve your vehicle's acceleration, it does not directly increase mpg. The Department of Energy says that replacing a broken air filter is better for your engine and can reestablish proper mpg, but because cars made after the early 1980s’ fuel injection is monitored by computer, the cleanliness of the air filter does not have a significant effect on miles per gallon.  


Don’t ignore the service lights that turn on in your car! These lights come on for a reason, and can sometimes mean your car is beginning to have problems. Keeping your car in good health, especially the engine, can get you a few more miles per gallon. Don’t make your car work harder than it has to and it will drive the most efficiently for you.

How You Drive:

Your driving habits can greatly affect how many miles per gallon you are getting.  Lots of braking and acceleration wastes gas and lowers your mpg. So timing lights, driving with space in between you and the next car and avoiding bumper to bumper traffic can prevent this. Believe it or not, speeding can also hinder your mpg. Most engines need to use more gas when going over 55 miles per hour, and after this the miles per gallon start to decline rapidly. So going 80 miles per hour on the highway, as opposed to 70 miles per hour, can cost you more than just a possible speeding ticket.  


Watching what you carry in your car is another small thing you can do to raise your mpg.  The heavier your car is, the more gas it takes to get up to speed and maintain that speed. Carrying unnecessary weight in your car can lower how many miles per gallon you are getting. If you want a higher mpg, try to remove at least 100 pounds from your vehicle. So unnecessary tools, equipment, materials or goods should be left at home to be as fuel efficient as possible.

About the Author: Mike Veenstra is the owner of Veenstra's Garage ( in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Veenstra's Garage has been providing professional auto repair to the greater Grand Rapids area for over 80 years. When Mike is not running the shop, he likes to do cross fit workouts and run to stay in shape and loves going on dates with his wife.

Click HERE for the official blog of Veenstra's Garage.

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