Vehicle use can be quite an expense for small businesses.
Fuel, parking, maintenance, and other operating costs add up and result in draining your budget. This is particularly the case when you’re running a company that heavily relies on visiting your customers’ homes or making deliveries.
Luckily, you can make some simple adjustments and reduce your car-related expenses, plus become more environmentally friendly.
This article will primarily focus on improving fuel economy and discuss how to get better gas mileage.
What Makes a Car More Fuel-Efficient?
Before we start listing specific tips, it’s worth mentioning that neither of them will suffice on its own.
This means you shouldn’t stick solely to the tips that are easy for you to apply and avoid the ones that you don’t particularly like.
Generally speaking, the best and simplest answer to the question “how to get better gas mileage” would be to do regular maintenance and adjust your driving habits.
Choose Fuel-Efficient Vehicles
When purchasing a business vehicle, one of the most crucial factors to consider is its fuel economy.
Although we can expect lower gas prices in the US, fuel can be a significant expense.
However, you can cut your mileage costs by picking the right cars for your fleet.
Doing research on the cars with the best fuel economy could mean pocketing a lot of money you’d otherwise spent covering business mileage.
In combination with other useful tips on how to get better gas mileage, it’s possible to cut your overhead costs substantially in the long run by opting for a car that won’t hurt your wallet at the gas station.
Keep the Correct Tire Pressure
To improve gas mileage, make sure to keep the correct tire pressure as it’s a major factor when it comes to maximizing fuel economy.
Did you know that it’s possible to improve gas mileage by 0.6% on average and up to 3% simply by keeping all tires properly inflated?
The recommended PSI is somewhere between 32 and 35 when the tires are cold for most passenger cars. However, you should check the specs provided by the car manufacturer you can find on a sticker inside the door on the driver’s side.
When your tires are underinflated, the size of the contact patch increases, and that results in more friction between the tire and the road. This, in turn, leads to the buildup of heat inside the tire and brings about a lot of wear and tear.
Low tire pressure practically increases your vehicle’s forward drag and fuel consumption.
More importantly, tire pressure plays an important role in driving safely and boosting your car’s overall performance. Underinflated tires also affect steering and braking, while in some extreme situations, blowouts occur at high speeds.
Finally, overinflating your tires is an equally bad practice as it leads to less grip, loss of traction, and reduced car stability. And no, this isn’t what makes a car more fuel-efficient, as this myth has been busted by a popular tire company official who reported that the improvement is marginal at best.
Optimize Your Driving Style
How to get better gas mileage by optimizing your driving style?
It’s simple: switch to smoother driving, and you can save quite a lot.
This means refraining from making jackrabbit starts, speeding, and slamming on the brakes too often will skyrocket your fuel consumption. Eliminating all those habits while you are at the wheel means that you’ll easily improve gas mileage without having to invest in new gadgets, car maintenance, and spare parts.
- Go easy on the gas pedal
Drivers who can’t resist flooring the gas pedal pay more at the pump.
The logic is obvious as the job of the gas pedal is to pump gas into the engine. So, the more you press, the more gas is injected, and the more of it your car will burn.
Instead of that, press on the gas pedal lightly if you want to improve gas mileage. Your car will still accelerate sufficiently to take you where you’re headed.
- Avoid speeding
Not only is speeding unsafe, but it also sucks gas quickly.
Even if you’re on an open highway with no one around and don’t need to accelerate too much, your car burns significantly more gas because it has to overcome air resistance.
Although smoother driving plays a more important role when it comes to improving gas mileage than speed, you should also consider fuel efficiency. To improve gas mileage, keep your driving speed at no more than 50 miles per hour as a rule of thumb.
If you’re running a business and manage a team of remote employees who have to take trips between different worksites or clients, you can use Timeero to track their mileage, speed, distance, and the exact time for each location. All these stats come in particularly handy if you’re not sure how to calculate gas mileage and properly reimburse your employees.
In other words, you can see whether they’re speeding and ask them to change their driving style.
- Keep your foot off the brake pedal
Following the two previous tips will also eliminate the need to hit the brakes all the time.
People who drive aggressively have to resort to braking more often, particularly when the traffic is heavy. This driving style wears out pads and rotors extensively and uses up more fuel.
When you’re driving more slowly, you can anticipate the traffic, giving you more time to adjust to the situation and coast to decelerate.
Turn Off the Engine Instead of Idling
A car engine can eat up as much as a gallon of gas per hour of idling.
This means that if you’re waiting to pick someone up or have to stop at traffic lights for more than 10 seconds, you should turn off your car.
Contrary to popular belief, starting a car doesn’t burn more gas than when the engine is idling. As a matter of fact, starting a warm car engine uses the amount of fuel the car would use for up to 10 seconds of idling.
So, the math is clear - idling is wasteful, and if you’re wondering how to get better gas mileage, this is one of the first and easiest tips to try out. Also, it might seem like an insignificant expense, but it does add up if you’re managing a team of mobile employees who have to take trips to their assignments.
Warm Up the Engine by Driving
How to improve fuel economy when it’s freezing cold?
In winter, the engine should be warmed up before you can safely hit the road.
When the temperatures drop, engine oil becomes thicker, and it can’t properly lubricate engine parts, which leads to their premature wear and tear. In addition to that, when the weather is cold, the engine needs more energy to run properly.
Many drivers start the car and let the engine run idle for a couple of minutes before driving it.
But, we’ve already established that idling isn’t fuel-efficient, so it’s not a good way to warm your car up. Instead of that, let it run for 30 seconds and then start driving slowly but go easy on the gas pedal for the next 15-20 minutes until the engine reaches the optimal operating temperature.
This way, you’ll improve gas mileage, protect your car engine from damage, and, last but not least, reduce vehicle emissions.
Change Spark Plugs
One of the most common answers to the how to get better gas mileage question is to change your spark plugs regularly.
How often that is, depends on the type of spark plugs you’re using as well as your vehicle.
Spark plugs can be conventional and long-life. The former type has an average lifespan of about 20,000 miles, while the latter can last even up to 100,000 miles. However, you shouldn’t wait for the last moment to change your spark plugs, as the faulty ones can lead to a significant drop in gas mileage.
If you notice that your car struggles to start, that its performance is reduced, and that there’s strange knocking coming from the engine, the odds are that your spark plugs need to be replaced.
If you’re wondering how to get better gas mileage, make sure to not wait for those symptoms and check on your spark plugs regularly.
Replace Your Air Filter
The engine air filter is an important part of your car.
It keeps the air that the engine sucks in clean and free from dust, dirt, and debris that could damage sophisticated sensors and the engine itself. And it gets dirty and clogged in the process.
As a result, the engine will start underperforming while operating which will translate to losing power and fuel economy. Replacing your air filter can improve gas mileage by 10%.
How often you should replace the air filter varies depending on the car’s make and driving conditions. For example, Ford and Hyundai suggest changing the air filter after 30,000 miles, while Chevy owners can wait until their car has covered 45,000 miles.
Other factors to take into consideration include heavy traffic, extremely hot weather, and dusty or unpaved roads. To stay on the safe side, check what your car manufacturer recommends and have your air filter checked every couple of months.
Perform Wheel and Tire Alignment Regularly
Wheel or tire alignment plays an essential role in operating your car safely, and getting this aspect of maintenance done regularly is also how you can improve gas mileage.
Alignment refers to adjusting the angles of your wheels in respect to each other and the vehicle body, as well as ensuring that the vehicle’s suspension is adequately adjusted.
Driving over potholes and unpaved roads or hitting a curb can throw wheels and tires out of balance. When this happens, your tires will start wearing more quickly, but that’s not all - your engine will have to work harder. The risk of accidents is also not negligible since the tires that aren’t correctly aligned don’t adhere to the surface of the road as they should.
As our main objective here is discussing how to get better gas mileage, it’s worth mentioning that by getting your wheels and tires aligned regularly, you can boost your fuel economy by 10%.
Declutter Your Car
When you’re using your car for business purposes, the odds are you also have to carry some kind of equipment or work materials around with you.
But, you should inspect your car trunk and determine whether it’s possible to clean out the clutter you won’t be needing.
An extra 100 pounds in your car could reduce its fuel economy by 1%, which doesn’t seem too much at first, but if you’re frequently on the road, it will add up and affect your gas expenses. This extra weight affects the fuel consumption of smaller cars more.
To get better gas mileage, it’s also a good idea to dismantle all the roof racks, bike racks, or add-ons that boost the air resistance and remove all the cargo boxes when you’re not using them.
However, if you have to bring your equipment with you, it’s much better to use rear-mounted racks and cargo boxes because roof-mounted cargo boxes impact fuel economy to a greater extent.
Turn Off Your Air Conditioning
While you definitely shouldn’t suffer and sweat in your car when it’s a scorcher, turning off your car A/C on a regular, warm day is a good idea if you want to improve gas mileage.
When the cooling mode is on, the A/C uses up gas to keep your cabin pleasantly fresh.
It’s also a good idea to crack the windows on your car open to reduce the temperature in the cabin when it’s not too hot. But, this also means that you’ll have to drive more slowly because otherwise, the air drag will increase and reverse the positive effects achieved by not using the A/C.
Use Cruise Control
No matter how attentive you are while driving, it’s very likely that you’ll sometimes slow down and then speed up unintentionally.
As we’ve already established, driving smoothly can significantly improve gas mileage, which means that these fluctuations will negatively affect it.
Cruise control will allow you to put the speed on autopilot and let the system regulate it. Maintaining a steady speed is the key here. According to research, a speed that varies between 47 and 53 miles per hour every 18 seconds can reduce gas mileage by 20%.
Therefore, turn on your cruise control if you want to get better mpg from your car, turn on your cruise control. But bear in mind that this driving mode isn’t recommended when you’re on a particularly hilly road.
So, How to Get Better Gas Mileage and Cut Your Fuel Costs?
When you’re running a business, every cent counts, so make sure to follow all these steps and instruct your employees to do the same. Since the impact of these tips doesn’t always seem to be significant, many people tend to shrug them off. But when combined, these valuable pieces of advice can improve your gas mileage and help you save quite a lot on your fuel costs.