If you’re like most Americans, gas is one of your biggest expenses. In fact, the average American spends around $1,400 a year filling up their tank.
And if you have a Chevy truck, that number is probably even higher.
But with a little bit of know-how, you can drastically improve your fuel economy, even if you drive a gas guzzler.
In this article, we’re going to tell you about eight great ways to improve your fuel economy. So read on and learn how to increase your gas mileage.
Reduce Your Car’s Weight
The heavier your truck is, the harder your engine is going to have to work. In fact, according to the EPA, each extra 100 pounds of weight reduces your fuel economy by 1-2%.
It’s probably too late to buy a smaller car. But you can at least make your big truck as light as possible.
Remove everything you don’t use. Take out the back seats (but keep them close in case you need them). Unload your truck bed. And empty your truck after every shopping trip.
If you live near a gas station, keep your gas tank between a quarter full and half full. That way your engine will never have to lug a full tank around.
Once your truck gets up to a constant speed, weight is no longer a problem. The problem is air resistance.
Air resistance is the enemy of fuel economy, and it gets worse the faster you go. The force of air resistance against your truck goes up with the square of your velocity. In other words, if you double your speed, air resistance quadruples.
There are two ways to reduce your air resistance: make your truck more aerodynamic, reduce your speed.
Here are some ways to make your truck more aerodynamic:
- Use the thinnest tires possible. This will reduce your truck’s front-facing surface area. But be careful, thin tires have less traction.
- Roll your windows up. Unless your truck is barely moving, keep your windows rolled up to reduce air resistance.
- Remove roof racks when you’re not using them.
- Remove your passenger side mirror. But don’t do this if you’re not comfortable with it, and check to make sure it’s legal in your state first.
Once your truck is as aerodynamic as possible, it’s time to look for its ideal speed.
Find Your Truck’s Ideal Speed
Speeding is horrible for your truck’s fuel economy. Driving at 80mph is 10% less efficient than driving at 70mph, mostly due to the increased drag.
But driving too slow isn’t great either. Your truck is most efficient in its biggest gear.
Your most efficient speed is the lowest speed of your biggest gear. At that speed, you minimize drag while getting all the efficiency benefits of using your biggest gear.
This speed is usually around 45mph, but it will vary from vehicle to vehicle. If your truck is automatic, watch for when your rpm gauge drops or jumps suddenly. That signifies a change in gear.
Find the highest speed at which yours gears change and cruise just above it. In fact, once you find that speed, you should put your truck on cruise control.
Go Easy on the Pedals
Your goal should be to brake as little as possible. Every time you brake, you’re taking energy away from your truck. You might as well be taking gas right out of the tank.
The key to braking less is accelerating less. When you see a red light up ahead, take your foot off the gas and start coasting. Don’t worry about the drivers behind you.
Keep a lot of space between you and the driver ahead. That way you’re less likely to suddenly brake. You’ll also be less likely to get into an accident.
You should also avoid left turns. They almost always entail a full stop and an acceleration.
To put it simply, your goal is to maintain a constant speed whenever possible. And when you need to change speed, do it gradually.
Check Your Tires
Have you ever ridden a bike with semi-flat tires? It’s pretty difficult, right? But as soon as you fill the tires up, pedaling is easy again.
Your truck is no different. Flat tires cause friction and friction slows your car down.
Give Your Engine a Tune-Up
If you want your engine to perform efficiently, you need to make sure it stays healthy. And that means taking care of it.
Keep an eye on your dashboard lights, and watch the RPM gauge for any abnormalities. If you haven’t had a check-up in a while, take it in for a full-service inspection.
Turn Your AC Off
This one will be tough if you live in a hot climate, especially if you’re following our other advice and keeping your windows up. But AC is a drain on your engine and a drain on your gas mileage.
If you can’t learn to live without it, at least turn it down.
Turn Your Engine off at Red Lights
Anytime your engine is on and your truck’s not moving, you’re wasting gas (unless you need to heat your engine up to get it started). So, why not turn your engine off every time you stop?
If you can deal with the extra steps involved, this is a great trick for reducing your gas mileage.
Know You Know How to Increase Your Gas Mileage
And it’s not even that complicated. If you can stick to these eight tips, you’ll soon be saving hundreds of dollars at the pump. So, give them a try; you’ll thank us.
If you found this article on how to increase your gas mileage useful, be sure to check out the rest of the great articles on our auto-repair blog.