Bad gas mileage

  • By Lea Naiz
  • 28 Jun, 2017

8 Main Causes of Bad Gas Mileage

Bad gas mileage is caused by a number of different things. The list goes on and on, but there are various things that attribute to this problem. Bad gas mileage means that your car is not running as efficiently as it could, and it also means you are losing money at the pumps because you are filling up more often. Here are some of the main causes of poor gas mileage.

Bad Gas Mileage Causes:

  • Having bad oxygen sensors and air filters can reduce your gas mileage by up to 20%. The oxygen sensors help keep the proper mixture of air and fuel, and having this off balance can be inefficient. The air filters can get clogged and simply need to be unclogged to fix the problem. Air filters need to be cleaned so that the engine can work at its peak performance.
  • Your spark plugs are responsible for sparking combustion in your engine. If they misfire, or are working poorly, this can affect your gas mileage in a negative way.
  • Having bad fuel injectors can cause bad mileage. This is because the fuel injectors are responsible for putting fuel into the engine. If there is a leak of some sort, then less fuel will make it to the engine, and then in turn make it run less efficiently.
  • Having your air conditioner on causes a lot of gas to be wasted in powering the system. If you can, turn off the air conditioner, and ride with your windows open. However, at a higher speed, close the windows to reduce drag.
  •  A common cause of bad mileage is your own driving habits. If you are an aggressive driver, likely you accelerate too quickly. This causes more fuel to be used, and will use up more gas than you need. Same goes for revving your engine. It may sound cool, but it uses up gas for going nowhere.
  •  Many people waste gas by idling. Idling is when you have your engine on, but you are parked and not moving. Common places where this occurs is when you are trying to warm up your car in the winter, or while you are waiting to pick someone up. Your car really doesn’t need more than 30 seconds to warm up the engine. When it comes to waiting for someone, turn your car off or put it into neutral. Since you aren’t moving, you might as well save gas and the environment.
  •  The type of motor oil that you are using can also affect your gas mileage up to 12%. You want to use motor oils that are high in reducing friction. Either use a synthetic oil or the oil that the car’s manual recommends.
  •  The more revolutions per minute you make your engine do, the more gas you will use. The easy way to combat this is to just drive slower. Driving the speed limit of 55 miles per hour is much more fuel efficient than driving at 60, 65, 70, etc miles per hour.

Overall, these are the major causes of bad gas mileage, but the list goes on even further than this.

How to Get the Best Fuel Mileage Out of Your Car
Learn how to increase gas mileage by installing a fuel mileage calculator, upgrading your tires, and 8 other tips to save gas.

There are some easy things you can do to get the best fuel mileage out of your car. Some are things you can do while you are driving, and others are maintenance issues. Either way, improving your gas mileage is a real possibility. Some of these methods improve your mileage by only a few percentage points, others by more. When you add them all up, it becomes a large increase.

1. Properly Inflate Your Tires
The first simple thing you can do is properly inflate your tires. They may look good, but making sure they have the right amount of air is important. This can increase fuel economy up to five percent.

2. Perform Regular Maintenance
There are a few different things a mechanic should look for when it comes to things that affect your gas mileage. The oxygen sensor makes sure that there is a good balance of fuel and air in the engine. Fixing a malfunctioning one can give a 10 percent increase. Air filters can get clogged and can drag you down up to 20 percent when it comes to gas mileage. Fuel injectors deal with how much fuel gets to your engine. It is common that there are leaks, and leaks mean that less gas gets to your engine. This causes poor gas mileage. Finally, dirty spark plugs which don’t ignite properly can also affect the car. These can all be fixed easily by a mechanic and can drastically improve you gas mileage.

3. Change Your Oil
Using the manufacturer’s recommended oil type in your car will improve fuel economy. The more friction that can be reduced by the oil, the better gas mileage you will get. The right oil can help improve your mileage by over 10 percent.

4. Turn off Your Air Conditioner
The air conditioning system is a big drain of gas. The less you use it, the less gas you burn. If you can bare a little heat, turn it off. Put your windows down to cool you off. But on the highway, keep the windows up. Open windows create drag, and at highway speeds, this offsets the advantage of turning off the A/C.

5. Change Your Driving Style
If you are an aggressive driver, you likely accelerate a lot when it is not needed. Many times you accelerate even if there is a car in front of you, or just to get to a red light quicker. There is no point in accelerating because it wastes gas. In fact, this kind of aggressive driving only gets you to your destination five percent faster. That’s only three minutes in an hour of driving. Try to stay at a constant speed because that means no acceleration. Use cruise control while you are on the highway.

6. Plan Your Drive
Try to plan your routes around the peak traffic times. The more you have to brake to stop and then accelerate to start the faster you burn gas. Having a route where it is smooth sailing is not only a better driving experience, but also a way to improve your gas mileage.

7. Don’t Idle Your Engine
Idling means leaving your car running while you aren’t driving. You are wasting gas by doing nothing. If you let your car sit for 10 minutes while not moving, you actually use up about two percent of your tank. Think about it, over a year’s time, you could be filling up several times more because of this and never going anywhere.

8. Lighten Your Load
If you can lighten the load in your car, you can improve mileage. Hybrids and other fuel efficient cars are extremely light for a reason, to help their fuel economy. Take things you don’t need out of your trunk, and take away many unwanted pounds. Other things, such as your roof rack can be removed as well. The more weight you can take away, the better off you will be.

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