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Fuel Saving Tips

Manual transmission

I have a 5 speed manual Toyota Corolla. Start off in 1st gear, shift into 3rd gear and then shift into 5th gear. Skip 2nd and 4th. My highway and city mileage average is 43 mpg. Shift into neutral and coast on the flats as far as possible.

posted by JimmyS on January 1, 2017

this tip works for 17% of voting Fuelly members.

Be mindful while driving

Think of the accelerator pedal as the speed control for a paper shredder. Except it ain't paper that's going through the shredder, it's your hard-earned dollars. Every time you increase RPM's the shredder speed increases and those dollar bills get eaten faster by the machine. One dollar after another and on and on. I try, within, reasonable and safe bounds to keep my dollar bill shredder running as slowly as possible.

posted by campisi on December 19, 2016

this tip works for 39% of voting Fuelly members.

Duff O2 Sensor no Fault light

Don't assume your ecu will latch a fault. My GSF650K9 has a fault code for a faulty O2 sensor. I have had no fault light but some time in the last year the sensor has gone bad. even with the engine dead I got 4.7 volts out of the sensor, with the engine running 4.7 volts. ecu reads that as lean and adds fuel. How long has it been duff?Looking at my drooping economy figures I'm guessing the last 3 months. Did I check the other sensors? You bet.

posted by Mr-Victorian on December 13, 2016

this tip works for 40% of voting Fuelly members.

Coasting alternatives

While most will say to always coast in gear, in most cases this is true. There are times when you will save more fuel if you put in neutral(manual cars). I have a couple stretches of roads where I can coast at the 30 mph mark due to neighborhood roads and if I keep it in gear it slows the car down. I do the surge and coast method of put it in 4th and get it to 30 then take it out of gear and coast. Engine load does go up but due to how long I can coast, it is more cost effective to let the engine hit load and coast for much longer.

posted by Valdarious on December 13, 2016

this tip works for 35% of voting Fuelly members.

Skip shifting

I come at this technique from heavy trucking (where transmissions don't have synchronizers) and it is an "acquired" skill. When on relatively flat ground, it is not necessary to shift all six-gears to drive down the road. In fact,the sooner you get into your highest gear, the better your fuel mileage will can't lug the engine. So, on my six speed, I shift 1, 3, 5, 6 which allows me to get into overdrive (and every higher gear earlier), yielding higher fuel mileage. Keep RPM's low in every gear and watch your fuel mileage increase...but don't lug the engine!

posted by NealinNevada on December 1, 2016

this tip works for 58% of voting Fuelly members.

Downhill alternative

If hill isn't steep enough to downshift to keep speed from climbing, turn on air conditioning - it's worth about 1/2 a gear or downshift 1 gear instead of 2 and activate air. Goal is steady speed downhill without using brakes.

posted by edm3rd on November 29, 2016

this tip works for 22% of voting Fuelly members.

Diesel vs gasoline

When looking for a car, don't be fooled by the higher original sticker price and higher (in some places) price of fuel. almost every single diesel car made for the U.S. market has much higher fuel mileage ratings. We've driven many diesels through the years, and it has surely paid off in fuel savings, as well as they are tougher than gasoline engines.

posted by SethL on November 20, 2016

this tip works for 74% of voting Fuelly members.

How to Drive Road Inclines for the Best MPG

Without modern electronics to give you real time MPG feedback, such as my 26y/o Civic, use this MPG driving technique...... When approaching ANY road incline, ascend the grade 5mph slower. Resume your normal speed after the road flattens out or begins to decline. Before doing this you may wish to see if there are no other cars closely behind that might be inconvenienced.

posted by ChewChewTrain on November 8, 2016

this tip works for 60% of voting Fuelly members.

Thinner socks

Wear thinner socks, the weight saving combined with the more sensitive use of your throttle could potentially save 15% of your fuel consumption.

posted by pequin on November 1, 2016

this tip works for 30% of voting Fuelly members.

Changing elevations on commute route

Hybrid tip: Try to find the flattest, least hilly commute to work, or if not possible take a route without long inclines to reduce the amount of work done by the ICE on long steady climbs.

posted by Shasari on October 31, 2016

this tip works for 94% of voting Fuelly members.

Cars behind you? Let them pass!

If you're driving down a small, curvy country road, take note if there's any cars behind you. If they're there for a while, pull over briefly and let them pass. People driving on a challenging road every day might be able to drive it faster than you.

posted by Vidoy on October 30, 2016

this tip works for 95% of voting Fuelly members.

Your cars computer is probably not accurate

In owning three vehicles (2 cars, 1 motorcycle), I have found that the instantaneous fuel economy is not accurate. While you can use this reading to determine driving styles that help maximize fuel economy, the absolute reading itself is probably not accurate. The computer in my 2009 Honda Fit overestimates fuel economy by 10-15%. The computer on my Subaru Forrester overestimates by about 10%. The computer on my Honda CB500 motorcycle underestimates fuel economy by a whopping 20-25%.

posted by JonGrant on October 25, 2016

this tip works for 86% of voting Fuelly members.

Plan your route

Review your commute or directions manually and tweak it to fit your needs! You may be able to simplify, shorten and optimize your route in ways a 3rd party is not aware of simply by seeing the big picture and adapting it to your specific car and driving style. This is especially worthwhile to do for frequently driven routes, you may be able to improve the smoothness, efficiency and safety of your commute with very minor tradeoffs.

posted by lice on October 18, 2016

this tip works for 100% of voting Fuelly members.

Beat he hill, pump first

On driving up any hill, especially rolling hills that have a 30 to 60' elevation rise, pump the accelerator 'before' reaching the base of the hill. This slight speed increase of a few mph increases the momentum of your vehicle during the initial climb of the hill. You'll use less gas overall, regardless of the hill's rise or run. Unfortunately, speed controls are dumb to this tip and pump 'more' gas when the vehicle is rising on the actual hill slope. You'll be surprised at the savings when you look at your instantaneous fuel gauge...

posted by Kaweckijj on October 14, 2016

this tip works for 77% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't brake

Ok... wait, not exactly, but, the most you apply brakes means wasted energy which used fuel to be produced. So, apply gas only the amount you need to get in traffic, release soon when you prevent you need to slow/stop, and, let the brake to be used when it's completely necessary for safety reasons. Same for older/newer vehicles, automatic/manual transmissions, and neutral/engage coasting.

posted by PadreBejarano on October 14, 2016

this tip works for 96% of voting Fuelly members.

Drive on concrete roads

Studies show that, assuming optimal road quality and condition, concrete road surfaces are stiffer and have less "play" compared to asphalt when your tires roll over them. As such, the rolling resistance will be lower, yielding a slight improvement in fuel consumption.

posted by cuts_off_prius on October 11, 2016

this tip works for 22% of voting Fuelly members.

Accurate fill-ups (continued)

It also helps if, in addition to Navi's advice, you fill up at the same pump at the same filling station whenever possible. In my experience, every pump's automatic shutoff is at least a little different.

posted by BenjaminWagner on October 8, 2016

this tip works for 45% of voting Fuelly members.

Do not hold on to high gears up inclines/merging roads

It might seem logical to keep it in a higher gear when you accelerate or go up a hill if you want to save fuel, but it lugs your engine and results in you using 100% throttle for a lot longer. In many occasions, it's slightly more efficient to use a short burst of high RPM, full throttle driving, so you can achieve a cruise a lot earlier.

posted by fingu on October 7, 2016

this tip works for 100% of voting Fuelly members.

Lighter engine oil for better mileage? or more power?

Not from my experience (as a master tech for over 40 years), and from extensive testing on dynamometer and road testing specific vehicles while testing results of 10w40 compared to 5w20 engine oils. No difference in HP or fuel economy whatsoever.

posted by billtech66 on October 5, 2016

this tip works for 65% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't use your Automatic Climate Control!

On many higher end vehicles the climate control system will have an "auto" setting much like a home would however the vehicle will almost always automatically engage the A/C system even if cooling is not required, the system also typically runs in defrost/floor vent position which runs the vehicles A/C even though the A/C button is turned off. To prevent unnecessary use of A/C when you don't required cooling or defogging of windows manually switch the climate control to face or face/foot vent position and make sure the A/C button is off. This will ensure the compressor doesn't kick in unless you activate it manually.

posted by PTOWNcommuter on October 1, 2016

this tip works for 76% of voting Fuelly members.

Lead-foots save by car pooling

If you and your mates are lead-foots, and still want to be lead-foots whilst saving lots of fuel. Car pool. You can all enjoy the lead-foot experience in the same car at a fraction of the cost!

posted by Charles1989 on September 29, 2016

this tip works for 85% of voting Fuelly members.

Drive a diesel

If you drive a petrol car sell it and buy the equivalent diesel. They do on average around 50% more mpg than the petrol equivalent in power and performance.

posted by Charles1989 on September 29, 2016

this tip works for 24% of voting Fuelly members.

Run the Air-con instead of applying brakes

Air conditioning puts a big load on the engine and can be several kilowatts. So when you want to slow down in a vehicle with non-regenerative braking, keep a cool or warm cabin WITHOUT hurting mpg, switch leave the engine in gear and turn the air-con on full hot or cold. No fuel is supplied to the engine when the pedal isn't depressed and the air-con provides the braking that would otherwise be lost as heat. It's great for going down an incline to maintain a constant speed too!

posted by Charles1989 on September 29, 2016

this tip works for 37% of voting Fuelly members.

Ensure your tyres are at the correct pressure

A tyre should wear evenly across the entire tread from shoulder to shoulder. Over pressure is indicated by the centre of the tyre wearing faster than the shoulders & under pressure is indicated by the reverse. Over-pressure reduces your cornering grip, increases stopping distances and makes the car more susceptible to sliding on surface contaminates (gravel, oil, etc). Under pressure will cause the tyre overheat, aquaplane more readily & tramline more readily. Either state will cause your tyres to wear out more quickly.

posted by techathy on September 20, 2016

this tip works for 97% of voting Fuelly members.

Drive in higher gears

On my old car I would always shift the automatic transmission into 3rd around town and when going up steep highways so the engine wouldn't rev as much when the transmission hunted for the right gear. On that particular car it didn't seem to hurt the mileage at all. However, I now have a newer car with an instantaneous mpg readout that shows that shifting from drive ("D") to 3rd when going up long inclines immediately caused a 25-30% drop in mpg. Fortunately, my new car has more torque, so it doesn't rev and hunt when going uphill, so I can leave it in D always and get better gas mileage.

posted by Barquito on September 11, 2016

this tip works for 52% of voting Fuelly members.

Never Coast or Idle in Neutral in a Hybrid!

While some people may suggest coasting or idling in neutral to save some gas (although it is illegal in most states), you never ever want to do this while driving a hybrid. Why? While in neutral, the car's generator is not engaged, meaning it cannot charge the high-voltage battery. This also means no regenerative braking while in neutral!

posted by Araiza on August 30, 2016

this tip works for 78% of voting Fuelly members.

Know Your Vehicle’s Optional Equipment, Configure Appropriately

Learn and understand your vehicle’s optional equipment as it pertains to fuel economy, and configure it appropriately. For example, my Audi Q5 has a factory electric auxiliary heater. It also has a gauge to show you the real-time fuel economy impact of defeatable devices, such as A/C, seat heaters, window defrosters, and the aux. heater. The aux heater has only 2 settings: OFF or AUTO. In auto mode, it comes on when I could do without it, and stays on well after the engine has heated up. It costs as much fuel as running your A/C! I leave if OFF to save fuel, turning it to AUTO only as needed. But don’t sacrifice safety for better MPG.

posted by SteveMak on August 25, 2016

this tip works for 69% of voting Fuelly members.

Safely Increase Tire Pressure

Car manufacturers have a recommended tire pressure based on a number of factors, making number of assumptions and compromises. For example, they might favor a more comfortable ride. You might have different priorities, such as sacrificing a slightly smoother, quieter ride in favor of higher fuel economy (higher tire pressure). Do your due diligence to determine how much higher to go. Never exceed the tire manufacturer's recommended rating.

posted by SteveMak on August 22, 2016

this tip works for 86% of voting Fuelly members.

CA Fuel vs 49 State Fuel

California fuel is specially blended to reduce emissions and is only produced by California refineries, it also has significantly less power and yields reduced miles per gallon. If going on a road trip to CA, top off your tank before entering California territories and after leaving. If you live in California, fill up when you are out of state.

posted by Avidice on August 15, 2016

this tip works for 48% of voting Fuelly members.

Use a lighter weight oik

Switching from a heavier oil (like 10w-30) to a lighter oil (such as 5w-30) can have a huge impact on how your engine runs. It costs a lot of parasitic drag to pump that heavier oil through the engine. I've noticed a 4 mpg improvement in two of my cars going to a synthetic 5w-30 motor oil.

posted by flyzizzerz on August 15, 2016

this tip works for 22% of voting Fuelly members.