Driving Habits to Increase Your Car's MPG

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Owning a car and saving money isn’t easy. Look at these simple tips you can do today to save money on your cars gas mileage.

There are all kinds of ways we can improve our car’s MPG. With gas prices always fluctuating, it is important to know how we can get the most out of our fuel. Check out these tips on how you can save on your cars gas mileage.


Using the cruise control to drive the speed limit will not only save you money on inconvenient speeding tickets, it will also increase your car’s MPG.

Aggressive driving such as speeding, and sudden braking or acceleration can lower gas mileage by about 15%-30% on the highway and 10%-40% in heavy traffic. As if sitting in traffic isn’t bad enough, now it actually costs us money. But when you use cruise control you cut down on aggressive driving because your car is going at a consistent speed.

Also, despite popular belief, it is wise to use your cruise control on roads with lots of hills. According to a study in the International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology, using your cruise control in hilly areas will save you about 3.3% of fuel as opposed to driving manually in these kinds of conditions. That may not seem like much, but when you are traveling long distances on sloping terrains you will be grateful for every ounce of fuel saved. Can you imagine being stranded in the middle of a mountain road? No thank you!


Sometimes driving with a rooftop cargo carrier or bike rack is inevitable, especially when traveling with lots of large equipment or going on vacation. What we can prevent is keeping that carrier attached to the roof for another three months with nothing inside because we couldn’t be bothered to remove it.

Everybody is guilty of it. The last thing you want to do after vacation is spend the time to climb on top of your car and use tools to unscrew a big, bulky container that is going to go God-knows-where when you take it down. But this habit ends up costing us money in the end.

Rooftop cargo carriers can reduce gas mileage by 6%-17% on the highway, while rear-mounted carriers come with about a 1%-5% mileage reduction on the highway. Cars are built with aerodynamics in mind, they are made to drive against the wind with as little resistance as possible. But when we drive with extra bulk around the car, it is less wind resistant. This force causes the car to use more fuel just to move forward.

You can save up $.05-$.44 a gallon by removing these awkward boxes from your vehicle when you are not using them.


Just like having bulky stuff around your car reduces the gas mileage, any extra weight inside your car affects the gas mileage as well.

If we aren’t all guilty of leaving rooftop carriers on the car for too long we are certainly all culprits of using our car like a moving suitcase. Shoes, spare clothes, fast food containers, water bottles, and any other random item we may need or use in our life (or even anticipate we may need or use), somehow finds its way into the back seat or trunk of the car. While this can be convenient for early morning coffee spills, it isn’t so beneficial to your budget.

When we are constantly traveling with everything we own, our cars work extra hard to move us, our things, and the weight of the car itself along the road.  You can save an extra $.03 per gallon when you take a few minutes to clean all the unused junk out of your car.

Keep essentials such as a first-aid kit, basic car fluids and tools, and maybe one change of clothes (just one!), in your car always. You need some stuff with you, but you don’t always need all your stuff with you.


Cars were built to move, so don’t leave yours to idle. You might be letting your car idle more than you think, and it’s probably costing you money and undoubtedly ruining your cars gas mileage.

How often do you sit in an idling car? When we wait to pick up a friend, sit in traffic, go through a drive-thru, or warm-up our cars in the winter we are letting precious gas money blow out the exhaust pipe.

It is particularly bad to leave your car idling in cold areas during the winter. Like many, I used to think you were supposed to leave your car running for a while in the winter before you started driving it. Wrong. For every hour a car idles, it loses between a quarter and a half-gallon of fuel.

Next time you are waiting to pick up a sluggish friend, drive slowly around their neighborhood instead of sitting in their parking lot or drive way. Go inside fast-food restaurants instead of using the drive-thru, you will save the gas and your order will probably come out faster. And in the winter, let your car run for about 20 seconds before putting it in drive, then drive it around slowly for a few minutes before you leave for your destination.


We all know driving your car on a flat tire is absolutely horrible. If you have ever had the unpleasant experience of driving on a flat tire you probably remember having to push down a bit harder on the gas pedal in order to make the car move forward. Ah, the memories.

Tires can begin to affect how we drive even before they go flat. If the pressure of your car’s tires is low, their slight flatness will make act as resistance for the car moving forward. This will significantly reduce your car’s gas mileage, so take a few minutes every week to check up on the pressure of your tires.

Many gas stations offer the use of tire gauges and air to pump into your tire for free. Scope out some locations like this in your area and make a habit of keeping tabs on your tire pressure. Your wallet will thank you later.

The best way to increase your car’s MPG is to keep it moving. Your car will use up more gas if it is making up for another part that isn’t working as efficiently as it should. Find a mechanic you trust and take your car in for periodic check-ups. The better your car runs the easier it will be for you to maintain.





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