How to Increase Your Car's Mileage and Use Less Gas [2024]

Here are 15 tips to help you get the most out of your gas tank so you can stretch your budget.
Updated May 1, 2024
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Putting gas into a car

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It's no secret that gas prices have been rising in recent months. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline recently topped $6 in California, with prices rising to over $7 at a handful of stations in the Golden State.

One report found that while the average household spent the equivalent of $2,800 on gas in 2021, that number is on track to jump to $5,000 this year.

How can you offset these rising gas prices and keep more money in your bank account? The simplest solution is to use less gas. But if that is not an option, there are a number of ways to increase your car's fuel efficiency and make a tank of gas last longer.

Here are 15 tips to help you get the most out of your gas.

Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure

picment/Adobe mechanic inflating tire hand holding gauge pressure for checking

Tires that are not properly inflated may decrease fuel efficiency, tire longevity, and performance. Since tires lose about 1 psi a month, check your tire pressure regularly.

Typically, you can find the recommended tire pressure on your car’s door jamb sticker.

Drive smoothly

Song_about_summer/Adobe travel by car

Sudden starts and stops may decrease fuel economy. Try to avoid rapid acceleration and braking. Instead, anticipate traffic patterns and brake gently when approaching a stop.

The transmission, engine, brakes, and tires benefit from good cornering, smooth acceleration, and avoiding sudden stops.

Use cruise control

utah51/Adobe control cruise button

Cruise control helps you maintain a steady speed and improves fuel efficiency when driving on the highway. Plus, it may make for a more relaxing drive and keep you away from speeding tickets.

Remove excess weight from your car

Juraiwan/Adobe Avoid carrying unnecessary items in the trunk of the car

Extra pounds in your car may decrease fuel efficiency. If you're carrying around unnecessary items in your trunk, clear them out. For example, remove golf clubs, camping gear, or winter clothes if you don't need them.

See how much you could save on your car insurance. 

Combine errands into one trip

rh2010/Adobe packing products into the car on the outdoor parking

Every time you start your car, you use gas. Combining multiple errands into one trip will likely reduce fuel use and costs. Instead of making separate trips to the grocery store, post office, and bank, try to do them all on one trip.

Remove roof racks when you're not using them

Georgy Dzyura/Adobe Man installing a car roof rack outdoors

More than half of the engine's power combats aerodynamic drag at highway speeds. So, if you have a roof rack or box that you're not using, remove it. The less wind resistance your car has to fight, the more fuel-efficient it might be.

Avoid rush hour traffic

kichigin19/Adobe traffic jams in the city

If possible, try to avoid driving during rush hour. The constant starts and stops use more gas and may add time (and stress) to your commute. If you can’t avoid rush hour, see if there's an alternate route that may help you avoid the worst of the traffic.

Use the AC sparingly

Gary L Hider/Adobe pressing the air conditioning button on the dashboard of a car

The air conditioner is one of the biggest gas guzzlers in your car. If you can stand the heat, turn off the AC and open the windows instead. You may save gas and get some fresh air at the same time.

Turn off the engine when you're stopped

Warakorn/Adobe auto car engine start button for keyless entry

If you're going to be stopped for more than a minute or two, it's more efficient to turn off your engine than to let it idle. If you're waiting in line at the bank or picking up someone from school, kill the engine until you're ready to go.

Change your motor oil regularly

Pixel-Shot/Adobe Male mechanic refilling car oil in service center

Changing your car's oil regularly may boost its gas mileage and provide some relief from gas prices. The lubrication of metal components improves engine efficiency.

Use a credit card that gives you gas rewards

pathdoc/Adobe woman hand swiping credit card at gas pump station

If you're going to buy gas anyway, you might as well get rewarded for it. There are several credit cards that offer gas rebates. So, find the best gas credit card and start saving on your trips to the pump.

Stop your speeding habit

VladFotoMag/Adobe Driving car over speed

The faster you're going, the more fuel you'll use. Try to stick to the speed limit or drive a bit below the posted limit when possible. You'll save money on gas and reduce your risk of getting into an accident.

Replace your air filter

pixelia97/Adobe Car air filter

A dirty air filter may decrease fuel efficiency. Besides affecting your gas mileage, it may also affect your engine's performance. If it's been a while since you replaced your air filter, it might be time to do so. You may usually find replacement air filters at your local auto parts store.

Use premium gas only if your car requires it

jdoms/Adobe Gas pump prices

Using premium gas when your car doesn't require it is a waste of money. Unless your car's manufacturer recommends using premium gas, stick with the cheaper stuff.

Shop around for the best gas prices

hedgehog94/Adobe adult man standing on gas station and fueling his car

Like anything else, gas prices vary depending on where you shop. If you're looking to save at the gas pump, it's worth finding the station with the lowest prices. You may use apps like GasBuddy to find the best deals in your area.

Bottom line

Maksym/Adobe Fuel car gauge empty

By following these tips, you may make a tank of gas last longer. Using less gas also helps the environment. The average passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. By reducing gas consumption, you also make a positive impact on the environment and your money stress.

Remember, even slight changes may make a big difference in fuel efficiency. Start with one or two of these tips and see how much you save.

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Author Details

Chris Kissell Chris Kissell is a writer and editor whose work has been featured at Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Bankrate, Money Talks News, and more. He writes mainly about personal finance, insurance and health issues.

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