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Investing in a vehicle is a big decision and not one that should be taken lightly. When you invest in a car, new or used, the purchase price is not the only thing you need to consider. You need to keep insurance costs and maintenance costs in mind as well. If you can’t afford the insurance or upkeep on a vehicle, you may want to consider purchasing a different model that better fits your spending capabilities. Another hidden cost to consider is gas. Fuel conservation should be an important factor when choosing a vehicle. Take into consideration whether the vehicle you’re thinking about is bigger and heavier than necessary.

Today, the average price of gas in Idaho is $2.509 per gallon. Smaller cars generally have gas tanks that hold 12 gallons worth of gas, while larger cars can hold 15 or 16 gallons. Trucks, like cars, have gas tanks that vary in size depending on the size of the vehicle, but on average they are usually around 25-30 gallons. So, you are looking at spending between $30.108 and $75.27 to fill up depending on the vehicle you own. If you fill up twice a week you are looking at spending between $60.216 and $150.54 a week or $240.864 to $620.16 a month! And that is only if gas prices maintain the average price range they are currently in. If gas prices rise, then those numbers go up! It comes as no surprise that, according to AAA, about 19 percent of the average American household income is spent on transportation. If you are anything like us, you will want to learn as many ways to save a buck or two on gas as possible.

Improve Vehicle Handling to Get Better Gas Mileage

Your driving habits have an impact on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Practicing bad driving habits can prove to be rather expensive, as well as unsafe. Following speed limits, paying attention to traffic, maintaining safe following distances, and avoiding bad weather and poor road conditions will allow you to operate your vehicle more efficiently and save you money. Here are a few tips provided by AAA to improve your driving habits and get better gas mileage:

  • Drive the speed limit. Speeding is dangerous and wastes fuel. In a five-day work week, traveling at 60 mph instead of 70 mph on a 20-mile highway commute would save you 1.3 gallons of gas.
  • In the summer, avoid driving in the heat of the day. Cooler, more dense air boosts vehicle power and mileage.
  • Avoid long warm-ups in the morning and idling. It is unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Accelerate gradually, avoiding “jackrabbit” starts.
  • Anticipate your stops. Let your foot off the gas as early as possible and gently apply the brakes when approaching a red light or stop sign.
  • Don’t use your car for storage. The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel it consumes.
  • If you own more than one car– especially if one of your vehicles is a less fuel-efficient truck, sport utility vehicle or van– use the more energy-efficient vehicle as often as possible.
  • Cut as much driving out of your week as possible. If you cut 22 miles of driving out of your week you can save a gallon of gas. Combine errands and consider parking in a central spot so that you can walk from place to place. You could also consider carpooling or using public transit on occasion.

Maintain Your Vehicle for Better Gas Mileage

According to fueleconomy.gov, repairing a vehicle that has failed an emissions test or is noticeably out of tune can improve its gas mileage by an average of four percent. They go on to state that repairing a serious maintenance problem, like a defective oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent. Other important maintenance practices for better gas mileage include:

  • Maintaining the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. According to fueleconomy.gov, you can improve your gas mileage by up to three percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Find the correct pressure for your vehicle in the owner’s manual or on your driver’s side door jamb.
  • Keeping the air filter clean. Clogged air filters increase exhaust emissions and reduce fuel economy.
  • Use the grade of motor oil recommended for your vehicle. Using the grade of motor oil recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle can improve your gas mileage by one to two percent.

To help keep your vehicle in tip-top shape and running as fuel efficient as possible, call on the automotive experts at Meridian Automotive. We provide complete automotive repair in Meridian, Idaho, for most cars, light trucks, and SUV’s. For over 20 years we’ve been Meridian’s auto repair experts. Don’t just trust anyone with your automotive repair needs, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.