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Friday, June 6, 2008

10 ways to increase your miles per gallon (MPG)

Picture of fuel guage at empty.
1. Moving off from stationary, stop start driving, increases fuel consumption. If you can see that the lights are red slow down as much as you can to give them time to go green so that you can avoid stopping.

2. Remove all unnecessary cargo from your vehicle e.g. do you need the entire tool kit. Reducing weight improves fuel economy.

3. Turn off the air conditioning when driving at low speeds in town and, if safe to do so, open the windows to increase ventilation. The compressor driving your air conditioning increases fuel consumption. Opening the windows at low speeds does not increase drag as much as at higher speeds.

4. At cruising speed on the highway close all the windows and if necessary turn on the air conditioning. Opening the windows at cruising speed effects the aerodynamic properties of your car by significantly increasing drag, this results in increased fuel consumption.

5. Regularly check the pressure of the tyres and make sure they are at the pressure recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle. Tyres that are under inflated greatly increase fuel consumption.

6. Make sure the vehicle is serviced according to the manufacturers schedule. A well maintained vehicle will produce better fuel economy.

7. Try and avoid traffic congestion, perhaps by leaving earlier for work. Being stuck in traffic results in stop start driving which increases fuel consumption.

8. Avoid harsh acceleration and decrease your cruising speed, reducing by as little as 5 mph can result in a 10% improvement in fuel economy.

9. In a car with manual gear shift accelerate briskly through the gears and get into top gear as soon as you can. For both automatic and manual gear shift use cruise control if available.

10. Avoid excessive idling. If you have parked turn the engine off.

I've greatly increased the mpg of my car by coasting (free wheeling) in neutral, clutch out and with the engine on, when negotiating down hill sections of road. I have not included this in the ten tips because there is a safety risk associated with this. Should your engine stall in a modern car while you are free wheeling then you will loose the full effect of the brakes and steering will become very heavy. For this reason never be tempted to turn off the engine while the vehicle is in motion.

Even though I know my car is very unlikely to stall at idle I only free wheel on straight sections of rural roads I know very well and definitely no free wheeling while in traffic.

I would never consider freewheeling in a car that does not have ABS. Cars which do not have ABS are more likely to have the wheels lock if the car is in neutral when the brakes are applied.

Freewheeling is definitely done at your own risk.


  1. Did you not post about being sick of being told what to do? And now you've gone & told people how to drive... confused!

  2. If folks follow these tips they will see great gains in fuel economy.

    Tragedy of the Commons