Auto Care

How to Get Rid of Poor Gas Mileage

If you keep on stopping at every gas station for a refill, or if you find that you’re almost always close to empty, your car may be suffering from poor gas mileage. Fuel can be quite expensive, and you should get the most miles out of every gallon you fill into your tank. Here are some ways to get rid of poor gas mileage.

Causes of Poor Gas Mileage

Mileage is very important to drivers and car owners; it means a lot to how far they can travel, and how much they can do with their vehicle. Here are some causes of poor gas mileage:

  • The car itself. Most cars today are built to be fuel-efficient and give you more miles to the gallon. More powerful vehicles like sports cars, trucks, and sport-utility vehicles often have poorer gas mileage than sedans and compact cars.
  • Poor driving. Sometimes all you need to improve your gas mileage is to improve your driving technique. The more you push your car to the limit, or the more you stress your vehicle even in easy driving situations, the more gas your car will consume.
  • Inadequate maintenance. Poor maintenance is also a cause of low mileage. Age, rust, wear, and tear can cause more stress to your car’s moving parts (like the engine and the drivetrain), and cause poor performance.

Maintain Your Vehicle

One way to increase gas mileage is to make sure that your vehicle is in excellent condition whenever you drive. Here are some ways that you can maintain your vehicle:

  • Routine maintenance. Simple tasks like oil changes and inspecting your fuel lines can greatly reduce wear and tear, and improve your gas mileage. No matter how old your car is, you can always pull off a few extra miles to the gallon with proper maintenance.
  • Repair. A broken-down car will not give you the miles for every gallon you put in your car. Have your car repaired by an expert automotive technician at the first signs of mechanical damage.

Driving Techniques

Another way to improve your car’s gas mileage is to use fuel-saving driving techniques:

  • Feather the accelerator. The harder you push into the throttle, you feed more fuel into the engine and waste precious fuel. Instead of pushing hard into the accelerator, you’ll be better off feathering it especially if you’ll be driving long distances.
  • Coast. If you’re driving on a highway or a straight, level road without oncoming traffic, you can turn off the engine and use the momentum of your car to move forward. When you coast, you can save a lot of miles by using your car’s own forward momentum without using a drop of fuel.
  • Maintain speed. Acceleration and deceleration can waste a lot of fuel in the long run. When driving on the open highway or a freeway, try to maintain constant speed to preserve your fuel mileage.

Other Ways to Improve Mileage

Here are other ways to improve your car’s fuel mileage:

  • Fuel and fuel additives. Many gas stations offer high-octane fuels and other fuel additives that you may use to improve gas mileage. You can test different fuels compatible with your car to see what works best.
  • Replacing the car. If your budget is being strained by a car with poor mileage and performance, you may need to replace the car altogether. Consider the many available options today for biofuels or hybrids.

Mileage should be a top priority for every environmentally-conscious driver who wants to save a few dollars for every gallon of fuel. With these tips to help you get rid of poor gas mileage, you can get more miles to the gallon, and more value for your gasoline expenses. For more information on improving your gas mileage, read how to increase a gas mileage.

About the author

Nicole Harding

5 Comments

  • To get rid of poor gas mileage, these simple tasks should help you. When you go to the gas station, CHECK YOUR AIR PRESSURE! underinflated tires will cause your engine to work harder, using up more gas to make you car move. Most manufacturers recommend 32 PSI in the tires. Oil Changes are essential at 3,000 miles or 3 months if you drive in the city. If you drive highway miles, you can probably get away without an oil change for 7,000 miles, or 7 months. Why? Driving conditions that are good for your car is running on the highway at 60 miles per hour for at least 15 minutes. Stop and go, like rush hour traffic, is terrible for your car. And if the mechanic tells you that you need an air filter, get one! Running a car on a clogged air filter hurts your gas mileage, because again, your engine has to work hard because its being choked. The harder you make your engine work, the more gas you use.

  • I learned a lot at an Eco Driving workshop this summer at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair.

    And a biggie is idling.

    Any car can get better mileage!

    Denise Thornton

  • Don’t EVER turn off the engine while driving in order to save gas. This is both STUPID and DANGEROUS and I cannot believe anyone still recommends doing this. Both the power steering assist and the power brake assist are supplied by a RUNNING engine.

    Most, if not all modern EFI systems actually turn the injectors OFF when you coast anyway, so while the engine is still turning (and providing assist to the brakes and steering) it is not using a single drop of fuel. The ECU does not turn the injectors back on until either the engine reaches idle speed or you press the accelerator again.

  • Using higher octane fuel doesn’t do much, if anything, to improve gas mileage. All you’ll manage to do is spend more money on gas.

    The air filter can be an issue as well, although I keep hearing it makes no difference in newer cars. But keep it clean and/or replace it when it’s dirty.

    Oil changes are essential – according to your owner’s manual. 3,000 miles isn’t the standard anymore, however. Most newer cars call for an oil change every 5,000-7,500 miles. Again, check the owner’s manual

  • Holy cow. I have to agree with karl. Yikes! Never never NEVER turn off your engine while you’re still moving! YIKES! You lose power steering, power braking, and, oh yeah, it’s illegal! It’s just plain crazy.

    Hybrids do this, but they’re built to do it. The driver does nothing, it’s just automatic. If you want a car that acts like a hybrid, then buy a hybrid.

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