Friday, January 4, 2013

10 Most Common Causes of Poor Gas Mileage

10 Most Common Causes of Poor Gas Mileage

gas mileage/auto repair/ automobile/ pepperell, MA

Gasoline costs can be a major part of a household budget. You use gasoline every time you take the car out to run an errand, get to work or take a trip. Gasoline consumption also contributes to air pollution. Recognizing the 10 most common causes of poor gas mileage and finding ways to manage those causes can lead to monetary savings and a cleaner environment.

1. Tires

Under-inflated tires are a common cause of poor gas mileage. Pull out your owner’s manual and note the recommended tire inflation for your vehicle. Gas mileage drops by one percent for every 2 lbs the tires are under-inflated. Properly inflated tires increase gas mileage by up to 3 percent.

2. Speed

The U.S. Department of Energy indicates that gas mileage rates begin to decrease at speeds over 60 mph. Maintaining a slower speed can result in a 7 to 23 percent savings in fuel economy.

3. Heavy Trunk

Extra weight in your car causes the engine to work harder and lowers gas mileage. Remove excess items from your trunk and any car carriers. A reduction of 100 lbs in excess weight can save 1 to 2 percent in fuel economy.

4. Inconsistent Driving

Cars perform best when driven consistently. Sudden acceleration, or braking, can decrease gas mileage. The U.S. Department of Energy indicates that erratic driving can decrease gas mileage by as much as 5 to 33 percent. The use of cruise control on the highway can help you maintain a constant driving speed and improve gas mileage.

5. Tune-Ups

Not following the recommended schedule for your car’s tune-ups can increase your gas consumption. Regular tune-ups will increase gas mileage by up to 4 percent. Refer to your owner’s manual for the correct tune-up schedule for your car.

6. Roof Rack

A roof rack may help you load extra items onto your car, but it will also decrease your gas mileage. A roof rack changes the aerodynamics of your car and increases the air resistance, resulting in poor gas mileage. Extra items carried on the rack add weight to the car and contribute to poor mileage. Remove the rack if it is not needed. A loaded roof rack may decrease your gas mileage by 5 percent.

7. Errands

The amount of gas your car consumes is greatly increased by the number of trips you make trying to finish your daily errands. Combine trips to cut down on gas expense. Review your errands for the week and plan to take care of errands in the same general location on one trip.

8. Idling

Keeping your car running, while not going anywhere, is a waste of gasoline. Idling contributes to gas consumption and contributes nothing to gas mileage. It also contributes to pollution. Turn off your car when waiting.

9. Oil Choice

It is important to use the proper oil for your automobile. The incorrect choice can result in poor gas mileage. Use the type of oil recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Look for the American Petroleum Institute symbol on the motor oil container. If the symbol indicates “Energy Conserving” the oil has been designed to improve fuel economy.

10. Oxygen Sensor

An oxygen sensor interprets the amount of oxygen in your car’s exhaust and uses that information to adjust the car’s fuel consumption. An improperly functioning oxygen sensor can to lead to poor gas mileage. Fixing an oxygen sensor may improve your car’s gas consumption by as much as 40 percent.