How to Get Better Gas Mileage

Tips to Maximize Car Gas Mileage

By Dan Finn, General Sales Manager, Phoenix

In a car-dependent city like Phoenix, car gas mileage is rising in importance as quickly as the prices at the pump. Each model year, we see better gas mileage from new cars with traditional combustion engines and hybrid vehicles. However, fully electric vehicles are gradually becoming more affordable, so traditional combustion engines must continue to improve gas mileage in order to compete. Whatever your choice, here are some tips for how to improve gas mileage.

What’s considered good gas mileage will vary by the type of vehicle and personal driving habits on a daily or weekly basis. If you drive a lot, getting better gas mileage becomes even more essential to keeping fuel costs down. Any vehicle that averages over 30 mpg gets what is considered  good car gas mileage. Older vehicles tend to have less efficient fuel economy than newer models. Since good average gas mileage is a direct benefit to the buyer, manufacturers are working to improve fuel economy each model year. Generally speaking, larger, heavier vehicles such as SUVs and heavy duty trucks get lower gas mileage than smaller cars and hybrids.

Hybrids and Electric Cars

Hybrid cars have a built-in battery that recharges automatically when the engine is running. Fully electric vehicles have to be plugged into a special charger and may take up to 40 hours to fully recharge, so electricity costs versus fuel costs are worth considering. An electric vehicle’s charge range decreases in summer heat, making them less than ideal for Arizona’s climate.

Simple Tips for Getting Better Gas Mileage:

  • Watch your speed and use cruise control on longer drives on the open road. Most cars get the best mileage at around 50 mph, and then begin to drop at higher speeds. Reducing highway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase your car’s fuel economy from 7 to 14 percent, stretching that tank of gas even further.
  • Keep tires inflated to recommended pressure. Underinflated tires not only cause premature wear of the tread, but also reduce your car’s fuel economy.
  • Use smaller, thinner tires, not oversized ones, especially on SUVs and trucks. 
  • Keep vehicles serviced to schedule. A well-maintained vehicle lasts longer. Operating at peak performance helps get better gas mileage than a poorly-serviced vehicle.
  • Use premium gas if indicated by the manufacturer as fuel economy is based on higher octane fuel. The fuel grade matters in different vehicles. 
  • Plan your trips to minimize delays, especially when you’re running errands. Avoid driving in peak traffic/rush hour whenever possible. 
  • Rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower fuel economy by 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic. 

To learn more about different new model cars and their fuel efficiency ratings, check out this article from fueleconomy.gov

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