Whether you drive 20,000 miles a year or 5,000, everyone wants to save money at the pump. However, you don’t have to buy a new car to get better fuel efficiency. Regardless of the make and model, your vehicle’s estimated gas mileage is just that – an estimate. How you drive, fuel and maintain your car are important variables when it comes to getting the most of what you put into your tank. The following tips will increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and help with saving on gasoline in the process.
All service stations store their gasoline in underground tanks. As with all matter, gasoline expands when it’s warmed and becomes denser when it’s cool. Therefore, if you purchase gasoline in the afternoon or evening after the sun has warmed the ground, you’ll get less gas in your gallon than if you had refueled that morning, when the ground temperature was still low.
While getting gas probably isn’t your favorite activity, trying to speed up the process could actually reduce your gas efficiency. Applying pressure to the gasoline nozzle to fill your tank as quickly as possible turns some of the gas into vapor. All pump hoses are equipped with a vapor return that sucks vapor back into the holding tank. That means you’re charged for the gas that comes out, it vaporizes, and never actually enters your car — meaning you get less gas than you’ve paid for.
Gasoline begins to evaporate when it comes into contact with air, which is why gasoline storage tanks have a floating roof that serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere. Driving around with an almost empty tank makes the remaining gas evaporate more quickly. Fill your tank whenever it drops below half-full for optimal fuel efficiency.
Fuel efficiency usually decreases rapidly above 50 miles per hour (MPH). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, each 5 MPH you drive over 50 is like paying 14 cents more per gallon of gas.
Low tire pressure increases rolling resistance. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that properly inflated tires can improve mileage by up to 3.3%, while under-inflated tires can reduce gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1-psi drop in pressure. It’s especially important to check your tire pressure when the temperature falls. Experts advise that tires can lose 1-2 pounds of air pressure for every 10-degree drop in temperature.
When the fuel truck refills the station’s storage tank, it can stir up any contaminates already present, such as sludge, water and dirt. If you fill up now, you will likely get contaminates with your gasoline, which affects both performance and efficiency.
Every drop of gas (or lack thereof) adds up when you’re an mobile worker who is constantly on the road. Practicing these tips can help ensure you get what you pay for and you’re maximizing your reimbursements.