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How to Improve your MPG

High gas prices got you down? Would you sell your car and start hitchhiking to work to save money? Would you organize your own 'segwaypool' if you didn't have to pick the kids up on the way home? Here are some practical (and a few not so practical) ways to improve your gas mileage.

Cruise with your arm out

Remember when your first car didn't even have AC that worked, so you drove around with the windows down and your arm out? Well, those days are back! Having your air conditioning on burns extra gas, because your engine has to work extra to cool air. When driving at low speeds around town, roll the windows down instead of turning on the AC.

arm out the window.jpg

Pump up your tires

The less rubber meeting the road, the better, so long as you aren't slipping. Inflating your tires reduces the amount of mechanical energy from the engine that is lost to friction (heat) between the tires and the asphalt. Yours truly has in the past gained two mpg just by doing this.

Don't peel out

Slow, steady acceleration is much more efficient than stomping on it. Coast to a stop slowly instead of hauling on the brakes when approaching a light -- you may catch the green without having to come to a full stop -- then slowly ramp back up to speed afterwards. Also if your car has a manual transmission, shift into a higher gear as quickly as possible; higher gears are more efficient than lower. Revving up to high RPM eats gas.

Lose the spoiler

Let's face it. Unless they are on race cars, spoilers are stupid. They also force more rubber to contact the road, which hurts your mileage.

Get a louder muffler

The less back pressure on your engine, the more efficiently it will run. A louder, less restrictive muffler helps accomplish this. You can also sound like you have lots of horse-power.

Dent your car!

Do you know why golf-balls have lots of little dents all over? To be more aerodynamic! According to some experts, dimpling your car like a golf-ball will improve its gas mileage. Perhaps we will witness the birth of an entirely new automotive fashion movement: aerodimpling.


We all hope that gas prices drop from their recent record highs. Until we get relief at the pump however, these tips can help ease your wallet's economic crisis.

Tom Hartsfield
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