5 Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage [Infographic]

Your car may not be the best performing in gas mileage, but there are tried and true ways to improve your gas mileage simply by changing your driving habits.

The driver has the biggest impact when it comes to getting lower gas mileage, says Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com, a car shopping website that recently tested gas-saving tips. Test results showed that everyday actions conducted by the driver wreak havoc on your car’s fuel economy. Improved vehicle maintenance can also lower gas mileage.

To improve gas mileage and save money at the pump, here are five industry tips:

5 Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage [Infographic]

Don’t be an aggressive driver

Aggressive driving has the biggest impact on your car’s fuel economy, Montoya says, because of constant accelerating and braking. The more you accelerate, the more gas you give your car, decreasing the number of miles you can drive per gallon.

Use cruise control

If you drive with the cruise control set at 65 miles per hour and you brake and accelerate smoothly you could see a 35 percent improvement in your gas mileage, Montoya says. Keep in mind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tests cars for fuel economy at low speeds – 40 mph in the city and 50 mph on the highway, Montoya says. You would have to drive at a similar speed to get the same gas mileage as the EPA estimates.

Accelerate and stop with care

By anticipating a red light and coming to a stop slowly rather than braking hard at the last minute you can improve your car’s gas mileage. The same rule applies to acceleration, Montoya says. Accelerating gradually will also improve gas mileage.

Be aware of tire pressure

Pay attention to your tire pressure. Tests by Edmunds revealed driving with tires underinflated by 25 percent can reduce your car’s fuel economy by 3 percent to 5 percent. If your car is equipped with a tire monitoring system, it will illuminate a warning light when the tire is underinflated.

Other culprits: Air conditioning and luggage

Using the air conditioning or driving around with luggage on top of your car also affects your car’s gas mileage. By driving with the windows open instead of using the air conditioning your fuel economy will improve by 9.9 percent, Montoya says. Traveling with luggage on your roof will result in a 21 percent loss in fuel economy because your vehicle isn’t as aerodynamic, he says.

Drivers can put their fuel economy to the test by keeping track of the miles they drive and dividing it by the gallons of gas used during their trip to determine their car’s actual gas mileage. Then you can compare your actual gas mileage to the EPA-estimated gas mileage for your vehicle and see if you need to work on your driving habits.

In addition to saving on gas, driving safely could also help you save money on your car insurance. Learn more about Nationwide’s SmartRide program today – the safer you drive, the higher the discounts you can get.