How to Save Gas




About: I am a senior this year at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. I expect to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2013. I've always loved science, but i find i stretch myself...

Intro: How to Save Gas

With gas prices on the rise, I scoured the internet and am making a comprehensive list on how to get the most bang for your buck as well has help the environment some! This is a good candidate for a collaboration so if anybody wants, leave a comment and we can collaborate.

  • I actually created this instructable over a year ago, but I never got around to posting it. Everything is still applicable though!

Step 1: First and Foremost

The first questions to take into consider when trying to save gas are...

*How close do i live to work?
*Is my car a gas guzzler?

The reason this is important is because many people believe that they need to purchase hybrids just so that they pollute less and save gas money; however, that is not always the case. For example, if I own a hummer and get 10 mpg and you own a hybrid and get 45 mpg, yet you live 5 times farther from your work than i do, then you're carbon footprint is the same, if not worse. So, yes, buying a nice new hybrid is important, but also consider either moving closer to work or possibly getting transferred to a closer satellite office if applicable.

Step 2: Fill Up at Night

By filling up your gas tank at either night time or EARLY in the morning, not only do you have to wait less in line, but you also get more gas. This is because the gas is colder and therefore more dense, meaning that less evaporates. Surprisingly, over time, even this little bit will add up.

Step 3: Clean Your Car Out!

Don't have your car filled up with trash and useless garbage because that is unnecessary weight that your engine must lug around. Simple physics says this means that the engine is doing more work for the same goal, therefore converting more gas into energy and lessening your MPG. Just by removing your unused gym bag and other accumulated items from your trunk and backseat, you may gain more miles overall. This certainly wont break the bank, but hey, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Step 4: No Jackrabbitting

Jack rabbit starts and stops DESTROY fuel efficiency. Just think back to Newton...and object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest stays at rest. Therefore, by forcing your car to either Stop or Go more quickly you are requiring the engine to do more work yet again lessening your MPG. Also, what good is accelerating that much faster from a red light? Civil Engineers engineer the timing of traffic lights to optimize traffic flow, not hinder it. A little known but true fact is that by driving the speed limit and not jack rabbit starting or stopping, you can basically hit almost every green light on cue. Certainly this doesn't hold true at 6 o'clock rush hour; however, try it one afternoon. Drive the speed limit (yes it will seem slow but just think tortoise and hare) and be amazed at how many less red lights are hit. By hitting less red lights you are boosting your MPG dramatically as sitting still with the engine idling gets 0 MPG yet still burns fuel the same as driving at a steady speed.

This instructable is not intended to sound preachy, so if it does, sorry. I'll edit it if there are complaints.

Step 5: Don't Top Off at the Pump

By topping off at the pump, sure you are squeezing your pennies when the gas is a little beat cheaper; however, because the fuel level is higher than recommended, some of it may actually spill out wasting both the precious fuel and your hard earned money. So, save your money and don't top off!

Step 6: Tighten Gas Cap

Obvious and dumb as this sounds, by making sure your gas cap is properly tightened, you can prevent your gas from literally vanishing from under your feet. Each year, tons of gas evaporates from improperly tightened or missing gas caps...dont add to that your money and help the environment.

Step 7: Regular Maintenance

Once again, sounds obvious, but maintaining your engine is a sure way to boost your MPG. A simple oil change could take a drastic load off your already worked-to-the-bone engine. Also, a cleaner engine bay will be easier for other maintenance incase something goes wrong, saving you precious time.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. if the tires are under-inflated, the engine must do more work to have an essentially flat object roll (there will be a large flat spot where the tire contacts the road if the pressure is low enough). My inflating your tires properly, the engine will have an easier time and you will save more money...both in gas and tires as your maintained tires and engine will last longer than abused ones.
  • The chances of having low tire pressure is 33.3% or 1 in 3 cars on the road. This leads to over 30,000 injuries and nearly 700 fatalities every year. These statistics are provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While accidents and injuries are the long lasting effects of low tire pressure, daily effects can be seen in your gas bill. The U.S. Department of Energy says that Americans waste 3.56 million gallons of gas or $14.2 million in gas a day at $4 a gallon due to tire pressure. For every penny increase in the gas price, an additional $35,600 is lost in low tire pressure gas loss in America.

Step 8: Waste Not

Back to simple cant expect an engine operating under the standard load of moving a vehicle to use the same amount of fuel as one both moving that vehicle and spinning the air-conditioning compressor. So...if it's hot out, roll down your window once in a while. This will increase your gas mileage as well as cool you off. Now, if it's hot out and you need to go to a wedding or something where you can't be all sweaty, then certainly the aircondioner is the better option. Also, if its a really hot day outside and a blizzard inside of your car, then when you eventually need to get out of your vehicle (yes, this is inevitable), it will be such a shock of temperature change. I dont know about you guys, but i know that i get stomach aches when i go outside on a hot day after being in the arctic chill of air-conditioning.

I am not trying to tell people "do this always" or "never do that again". Nobody is perfect; however, by trying to incorporate these ideas into the everyday, you will certainly save money and do your share to help the environment.



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    12 Discussions


    10 years ago

    Hello, and welcome to the Instructables community! This currently does not meet our criteria for an Instructable. A completed Instructable:

    - details a finished project with instruction (not just links to instructions)
    - has clear images that you took of your project (web-found clip-art is not acceptable)
    - uses proper spelling and grammar
    - contains appropriate cautions or safety considerations
    - does not violate someone else's copyright
    - does not violate the Instructables terms of service
    - is typically written about something you are very passionate about and want to share.

    If this is a comment, a question, a small tip, or something that cannot truly be a finish project, please post it as a forum topic. If you are looking to start a collaboration, post a topic in the forums. Look here for tips on writing a great Instructable.

    So, it has been unpublished. Please do not republish until it has been corrected. When you republish, if everything is fixed, I'll remove this note. Multiple attempts to republish without correction will result in deletion.


    5 years ago on Step 8

    mythbusters actually tested the windows down myth of better gas mileage. and for trucks tailgate up/down/bedcover.

    For the windows down it all came down to traveling speeds where the drag made a difference. So for driving around town at 35mph one method is better, and driving down the interstate at 75mph the other is better.

    for the truck myth they found regular tailgate in the up position to be the best mpg. It all came to the drag. tailgate up created a bubble of turbulant air in the bed but it helped the fast moving air go more smoothly over the whole truck.

    towing anything with a V6 is going to greatly drop your mpg compared to towing something with a V8.

    some of the things i do to save gas in my 2010 4.6L v8 truck is coast downhills, turn my truck off while sitting at extremely slow drive throughs or at the ATM. Also most cars/trucks these days are interstate speed tested at 55mph not the common interstate speed of 70mph. I get the best mileage out of my truck when i drive between 45-55mph. I usually set the cruise control to 70-78mph on the interstate. I coast when i am getting off the interstate, so unless somebody is behind me i come to a gradual stop at the stop light.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Good tips, thanks for adding to the conservation conversation!


    9 years ago on Step 8

    Rolling your windows down does create some drag but turning your ac of relieves the engine from alot of work. I guess it really depends how many windows you have open and how far they are open. Get some windows deflectorsssss :)

    1 reply
    Gopher Moundszwaan

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 8

     I'm sure it's all speed dependent.  Slow speeds it's probably not a big deal, but high speeds it's probably a big waste.

    Phil B

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry to be so late with this comment.  Air resistance increases by the square of any increase in speed.  Reducing speed as much as possible reduces air resistance and increases mileage.


    9 years ago on Step 8

    I can't remember the speed but I read some where and I tested this a while ago when I was driving from Florida to Maine I beleive when my speed in town was below 45 or 50 windows down and above 45 or 50 windows up and I watched my gas mileage, and just like this ad read my car did. I also want to share that towing a 17 foot boat on another trip with my Grand Caravan with a V-6 in over drive at 70 MPH gave me unbelievable low gas mileage and when I shifted into 3 instead of "D" my MPG went up almost as good as if I where not towing anything at all !! I'll add at the same speed.,


    9 years ago on Step 7

    As to maintenance, it was said that:
    1. Using lowest recommended for your car viscosity synthetic motor oil helps engine run easier - saves $$.
    2. IF you don't travel far: slightly OVER inflating your tires also helps save fuel $$.


    windows down or up ??? watch those wacky guys on myth busters for the facts better gas millage ?????? windows up proven period


    9 years ago on Step 8

    How does rolling your windows down and driving save you gas? youre just creating more drag.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hey - this would be an awesome Instructable to have on the site - and we really want it, but it's got to have some more pictures in order for it to get some attention. Can you upload some photos (it's ok if all the steps don't have photos that match them exactly) and then republish your project?