Ten timely ways to get the most from your tank
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They’re back! Like a recurring case of heartburn, fuel prices are giving us gas pains yet again.
As this is written, the average retail pump price for unleaded gasoline in Toronto was 97.8 cents/litre, up from 91.5 a week earlier. A month ago it cost just 78.0 cents/litre.
So now is a good time to ask yourself: Can my vehicle get better gas mileage?
The answer is yes. And it’s a lot easier than you think. The following tips will help you improve fuel efficiency, use less gasoline and make a substantial dent in your gas bill.
Drive sensibly: Keep your speeds moderate and accelerate gently. Doing so can lower your fuel consumption by 33 per cent at highway speeds and by five per cent around town.
Change your oil and air filter: Dirty oil adds friction, which wastes gas. A dirty air filter causes poor airflow, making it hard for the engine to breath properly, which also wastes gas.
Watch your weight: Remove unnecessary stuff from the trunk, especially heavy items. An extra 50 kg (110 lb) can increase fuel consumption by two per cent.
Avoid excessive idling: Idling gets 0.0 L/100 km. If you’re waiting at a rail crossing, drive-through window or similar situation, shut it off — especially if you have a V6 or V8 under the hood.
Stop extended warm-ups: Just start up and drive off. Your car will warm up faster under normal load conditions. Lengthy idling keeps the engine colder for a longer time, wasting fuel.
Check your tires: Keep them properly inflated. Easy to forget or ignore, but the payback is huge in better efficiency through reduced rolling resistance.
Windows up/sunroof closed: With the arrival of milder weather, keep the windows and sunroof closed at speeds above 90 km/h. Use the air-conditioning, if needed, for cooling. Open windows (and truck tailgates) add drag, requiring more fuel usage to overcome it.
Do combine several errands into one trip as a good way to save gas. Don’t use premium fuel if your engine doesn’t need it and avoid so-called “gas saving” gadgets.