Yearly Cost of Gasoline Budget Calculator
This calculator will give you a solid estimate of what gas will cost you annually. Simply find your car’s make and model from one of the two pull-down menus, and then enter the pertinent information regarding your car’s MPG rating, the approximate number of miles you plan to drive for the year, and the price per gallon of gas. Press CALCULATE, and you’ll get a dollar amount for what you should budget for gas annually.
How to Improve Your MPG
Even if your daily drive isn’t excessive, chances are you wouldn't turn your nose up at the opportunity to boost your car's gas mileage and make driving a more efficient and cost-effective activity. As a matter of fact, nearly every driver can find ways to bump up their miles per gallon in a number of ways, such as regular inspection and maintenance paired with sensible driving practices. Here are just a few steps you might want to take in order to increase your fuel economy.
Know your fuel octane rating
Most drivers don't pay any attention to this number - they're much more interested in the number next to it at the pump, the one that lists the price. But the octane rating that's right for your vehicle is listed in your owner's manual for a reason: so you know which fuel will coax peak performance from your car. You can probably get away with using a lower octane fuel, but this will leave your engine clogged with sediment over time, potentially leading to issues like knocking and pinging, not to mention a decrease in fuel efficiency.
Replace old parts
Once you hit 100,000 miles, you know an overhaul is probably in your future. But until then, you can start replacing outdated parts that may have an impact on your gas mileage. For example, sensors that have deteriorated can send the wrong readings to your on-board diagnostics, affecting the overall performance of the vehicle. The oxygen sensor and mass air flow sensor are two that fall into this category where the operation of your fuel system is concerned.
Cleaning or replacing spark plugs regularly is another good way to make sure your engine is running efficiently. When spark plugs get grimy, they can compromise combustion, throw off timing, and impact your air/fuel ratio. Clogged fuel injectors can also compromise things, leading your car to guzzle more gas (although cleaning is often enough to correct this issue). The point is that replacing a few inexpensive parts could save you from damage and major expenses, increasing your fuel efficiency in the process.
Schedule regular tune-ups
Keeping your car shipshape is an important part of ensuring the greatest fuel efficiency. So change fluids and filters as needed and take your car to a reputable mechanic that can spot problems, complete repairs, and make sure your car is running as efficiently as possible.
Drive more efficiently
"Hypermiling," or the practice of driving for extreme fuel efficiency, is certainly a viable option if you're looking to squeeze more mileage out of each and every gallon of gasoline. The main tenet of hypermiling involves acceleration and braking, both of which should be avoided as much as possible. Obviously, you can’t get anywhere without engaging in acceleration and braking, but you want to specifically avoid rapid acceleration and coast as much as possible. You should also keep speeds below 45 mph, eschew AC, and turn off your engine at red lights (or enable the feature that allows your car to do so automatically, starting again when you take your foot off the brake).
Not all practices involved in hypermiling are terribly practical - you probably want your side mirrors and your spare tire to remain with the car, for example, and driving under 45 mph on freeways is not only dangerous, but also illegal in some states (and you could get pulled over and ticketed for impeding the flow of traffic). But generally speaking, driving with a little less haste could help you conserve fuel and save money over time.
Lose dead weight
When your car is hauling more weight, it has to labor harder to get from point A to point B, sucking up fuel every step of the way. And while you might need sandbags and a shovel in the winter, when getting stuck in the snow is a very real possibility, there's no reason to keep these heavy items in the trunk year-round. Ditto on tools other than essentials like a jack and a tire iron, just for example. On the other hand, you might not even need them if you pay for a roadside assistance service like AAA.
Select an efficient vehicle
Modern times have brought all kinds of advances in automotive technology, and the result is that you can take advantage of vehicles designed for alternative fuels and alternative engines. Increased fuel efficiency not only helps to curb our need for limited natural resources like petroleum products, but it also gives you the opportunity to save significantly at the pump and raise your gas mileage. So consider hybrid and electric vehicles, not to mention more efficient fuels like diesel, biodiesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG) as a means of engineering better fuel economy.
Alternatives to driving
Technically, this won't boost your gas mileage. But it will help you to use less fuel, which is just as good for your wallet and the environment. Whenever possible, consider carpooling, using mass transit, and hiking and biking to your destinations. Enhancing your fuel efficiency may rely on both mechanical concerns and on your driving behavior. But when you have some idea what causes your car to guzzle more fuel than it should, you can definitely take steps to increase your overall fuel efficiency.
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