How to Get Better Gas Mileage on an Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Driving an SUV has many advantages. They can provide better traction in the snow, they are able to traverse more difficult terrain, and you can haul more stuff to wherever you want to go. Not to mention the beauty of having four-wheel drive and a car that you can take camping. But there's a downside to having all that space and versatility, lower gas mileage. If you want to keep your SUV, and don't want to trade it in for an economy car, there's one thing you can do... learn how to get better gas mileage on an SUV. You won't have to take any driving courses, or re-learn how to drive, just follow a few simple steps and increase your SUV's gas mileage.

Under The Hood:

 How to Get Better Mileage on a H2 Hummer

Follow the speed limit and always allow ample space between your H2 Hummer and the vehicle in front of you to prevent sudden and fast stops. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gas mileage decreases substantially when traveling above 60 miles per hour. Also, rapid braking will cause your gas mileage to decrease by up to 33 percent.

Accelerate at a slow and steady pace. Rapid acceleration depletes gas much faster and will cause a drop in gas mileage by up to 33 percent on the highway, and approximately 5 percent driving in town.

Change your oil regularly, and use the grade recommended for your H2 Hummer. The only recommended viscosity oil grade is SAE SW-30, according to General Motors. Using a grade not recommended for your vehicle can cause reduced engine performance, thus reducing your gas mileage.

Check the tire pressure in all four tires often. The proper tire pressure makes your vehicle safer, as well as improving your gas mileage. The proper tire pressure can improve your gas mileage by over 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Take your H2 in for a tune-up regularly. An unmaintained vehicle can reduce your gas mileage by up to 4 percent. Bigger maintenance and engine problems can reduce your mileage by up to 40 percent.

Items you will need

  • Owner's manual

  • Tire pressure gauge

 How to Get Better Mileage on Dodge Cummins

Keep your truck tuned-up by keeping all of the filters clean and changing them regularly, from once a month to every 30,000 miles, depending on your vehicle's exact specifications and the load you place on the truck. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Inflate your tires to the PSI specified on your truck, not on the tire. The vehicle's manufacturer has a label with the suggested pressure for the tire with varying loads. This label is usually found on the inside of the driver's door jam. Properly inflated tires can save three to five cents per gallon of fuel.

Combine small trips into one large trip. A cold engine uses far more fuel than a warmed-up engine, so by combining your small trips into one large trip, you avoid letting the engine warm up for each individual trip

Drive more conservatively. By accelerating and decelerating slowly, you can save as much as 49 cents per gallon, which can be a savings of up to 35 percent.

Do not speed. Every five miles per hour that you travel over 60 is equivalent to paying an additional 10 cents per gallon. Leave yourself enough time to get where you are going so that you don't need to speed. It will save you gas money and may keep you from getting a ticket.

 How to Get Better Mileage With a 6.7 Diesel Dodge Cummins

Drive mindfully

Drive your truck with fuel economy in mind. This simply entails such things as obeying the speed limit, gradually picking up speed when starting out from a stop, and anticipating your stops ahead of time, rather than waiting until the very last second to hit the brakes. Keeping these details in mind while you’re driving will help your 6.7 Cummins diesel conserve fuel, and will help you save money at the pump.

Schedule regular maintenance for your 6.7-liter diesel engine. It stands to reason that an engine that is properly maintained will also run more efficiently. To accomplish this, change the oil at the intervals suggested in your owner’s manual. When changing the oil, try one of the premium synthetic oils that are on the market. A good synthetic will reduce friction and wear, and thereby increase fuel mileage. Remember to check your tires for proper inflation. Also, change the oil in the differential and transfer case (especially if you’ve never done so and have a high mileage truck).

Replace the manufacturer’s air filter and intake with a diesel performance air filter and intake. This new and enhanced filter will supply your 6.7-liter diesel with a greater supply of cleaner air. An engine that can breathe easier will ultimately waste less fuel.

Tear out your old, stock exhaust system and have it replaced it with a performance-based exhaust system. Not only must your 6.7-liter Cummins be capable taking in clean air, it must be able to efficiently expel exhaust fumes. A performance-based exhaust is wider than Dodge’s system, thus making it easier for the engine to push out the exhaust.

Install a performance module or performance chip specifically designed for diesel engines. This new module will replace the original supplied by Dodge and electronically adjust your 6.7-liter diesel to operate with more power and fuel efficiency. In a test on a comparable diesel engine, Diesel Truck World found that, after installing a performance module, the Dodge Ram truck saw an increase of 16 percent in fuel efficiency.

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a Dodge RAM

Check your gas cap after each fill up at the pump. Not having your cap on properly can affect the gas mileage. It may be only a small percent, but every little bit helps.

Make sure all the air pressure in the tires are equal. You can ask your gas station attendant to check for you. Checking and adjusting your air pressure once every other week can make a difference in how far your gas goes.

Switch to a free-flowing air filter. Your Dodge RAM comes with a cold air induction air filter that does nothing to improve your gas mileage. Paying the extra money to switch filters will save you money in the long run because your Dodge RAM will need less gas at the pump.

Buy a Flo-Master cat-back dual exhaust system. This system is better than the one that came with your Dodge RAM because it decreases the amount of pressure resistance. This allows you to get more gas for your money. It works even better when used in conjunction with the free-flowing air filter.

Take all items out of your Dodge RAM when you aren't using them. In other words, if you keep work tools or heavy equipment in your Dodge RAM, the weight is having an effect on the gas mileage. By lightening the load whenever possible, you save on gas.

Switch to E-3 spark plugs. These spark plugs in conjunction with everything else you are doing will increase your gas mileage.

Get tune-ups and oil changes every 3,000 miles. This will keep your Dodge RAM running at its best. When your vehicle is running at its best, it will get the best gas mileage it can get.

Items you will need

  • Flo-Master cat-back dual exhaust system Free-flowing air filter E-3 spark plugs Tune-up Oil change

 How to Get Better Mileage From My Ford V10

Inflate your tires to the manufacturer's recommended PSI and install a new air filter. Check your tire pressure every time you get gas to ensure you are always driving on fully inflated tires and install a new air filter every 10,000 miles.

Purchase a chip for your Ford V10. Ensure that it is a chip with a fuel economy setting. The chip will allow you to have increased power when you need it and will save you fuel when you don't.

Install a cold air intake, a dual exhaust and a throttle body spacer. These allow your engine to run more efficiently by taking in more air.

Install a scan gauge made for the Ford V10. This type of gauge allows you to track the performance of your engine. You can determine exactly what gas mileage you are getting and track the performance of your engine so that it is always running optimally.

Drive as much as possible when the engine is warm. If doing several errands or making several stops, plan your trips to limit engine cooling between stops.

Items you will need

  • Chip with fuel economy setting

  • Cold air intake

  • Dual exhaust

  • Throttle body spacer

  • Scan gauge

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage for Ford Expedition

Keep your Ford Expedition as empty as possible. The more items you store in your Expedition, the heavier the vehicle becomes. This causes you to use more gas.

Go the speed limit. If possible, use the cruise control button. Increasing and decreasing the speed often causes you to use more gas.

Use Techron fuel additive. This fuel additive will clean the fuel line, which will help your Ford Expedition run more smoothly and efficiently.

Make sure the pressure in your tires is correct. You want your tires to have an equal amount of air in them at all times. Most gas attendants can check the air pressure for you at no charge.

Use premium gas when at the pump. This will keep your engine clean and improve your overall gas mileage.

Get a tune-up. Make sure they check all of your fuels and replace your oil every 3,000 miles. Not performing proper maintenance on your Ford Expedition will cause it not to perform up to its capability. If you want the best gas mileage, you have to get the vehicle up to its top performance.

Items you will need

  • Premium gas Tune-up Oil change Techron fuel additive

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a Jeep Wrangler

Choose a Jeep Wrangler with a four-cylinder engine, as well as a manual transmission. Six-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions will prove less fuel efficient in your Jeep Wrangler. A clutch instead of a torque convert has better fuel efficiency. A diesel Jeep Wrangler will also have improved gas mileage.

Reduce the drag of your Jeep Wrangler. A hard top instead of a soft top will produce less drag. Also, any racks and ornaments on your Wrangler should be removed to help get better gas mileage in your Jeep.

Decrease the amount of time that you use the four-wheel-drive gear. Although four wheeling can be a lot of fun in a Jeep Wrangler, this practice is a known gas guzzler.

Get a tuneup for your Jeep Wrangler. Inflate your tires, change your oil filter and air filter, get an oil change, install new spark plugs and spark plug wires, and add transmission fluid. If any of these components are due to be changed, it can help you get better gas mileage in a Jeep Wrangler.

Maintain a steady speed while highway driving. Jeep Wranglers perform best when driven at a maintained speed of 55 to 65 miles per hour. Idling times should be reduced, as well by turning off the engine when idling more than a minute.

Carry less in your SUV. Jeep Wranglers have small cabs, so you won't likely have to reduce your load significantly. Also, Jeep Wranglers have towing capabilities that can decrease fuel efficiency.

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a 350 Chevrolet

Make sure your motor and tires are properly maintained. The Union of Concerned Scientists claims that if an engine is in poor condition, it will not get the kind of gas mileage it is supposed to. One of the most effective ways to make sure your Chevy 350 is getting the best gas mileage possible is to keep the motor in prime running condition.

Replace the tires on the vehicle with specially-made low rolling resistance tires. Low rolling resistance tires are intended to reduce the amount of drag the tires place on the vehicle's motor. You should also always make certain your tires are properly inflated and aligned in order to reduce drag and keep fuel mileage high.

Try to avoid traveling with additional or unnecessary weight in your vehicle. Carrying additional weight increases the amount of work your engine has to do to power the vehicle. The more work your Chevrolet 350 motor has to do, the worse gas mileage it will get.

Do not leave your 350 idling for any long lengths of time. Turn your vehicle off if you will be sitting in one place for more than a minute or two. Your motor is using fuel when you are idling. Contrary to popular belief, the Union of Concerned Scientists claim it does not take more fuel to restart a motor than it does to leave it idling for more than a minute.

Limit your use of the air conditioner. Cool your Chevy by running the fan or opening windows whenever possible.

Limit how much you drive. Try to plan appointments and errands so that you can accomplish multiple tasks on the same trip, rather than making several different trips. You can also limit your gas usage by parking in a central location and walking to multiple destinations instead of making several short drives going from store to store on the same block.

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a Honda Odyssey

Take a few extra minutes to warm up your minivan in the morning before you start driving. Though it may sound counter-intuitive to let the car run when you're not driving it to save gas, it's not. A cold engine is not as fuel-efficient as a warm one.

Read about oil changes in your Honda Odyssey owner's manual. The type of motor oil your Odyssey requires may vary depending on the year model that you drive, but sticking to the brand Honda recommends often helps your car run more smoothly. Have your minivan's oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles for the best results.

Check the air pressure in your tires and keep them full at all times to reduce the amount of drag you experience when you drive. Drag slows the car down and wastes fuel. Find the air-pressure recommendations on the inside of your Odyssey's front driver's-side door.

Keep up with repairs such as tire rotations, changing air and fuel filters, spark plugs and other regular maintenance. If your vehicle is run down, it's not going to be as efficient as it can be when everything is in tip-top shape. Visit Honda.com to find your local dealership service center (see Resources).

Resist the temptation to driver faster than 65 miles per hour. Your car creates more drag when you drive fast, which translates into lessened efficiency and gas mileage.

Items you will need

  • Honda Odyssey owner's manual Tire gauge

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a Honda Fit

Avoid hard acceleration. Do not unnecessarily mash the gas pedal. Smooth acceleration will improve gas mileage considerably.

Don't speed. Driving faster will cause the engine in your Honda Fit to work harder and noticeably decrease your gas mileage. Driving at the speed limit will ensure that you are attaining the maximum possible fuel economy. To increase cruising range, use the cruise control.

Check your tire pressure once a month, under normal driving conditions. If you drive on extremely rough roads, consider increasing the frequency to once every two weeks. Driving on under inflated tires will decrease your fuel economy by up to ten percent.

Make sure that your Honda is serviced at the requested times. Instead of mandating specific times, the Honda Fit features a "Maintenance Minder" computer that tells you when to perform oil changes and other basic services, using sensors that determine the condition of the engine oil and air filter, among other items. For other scheduled services, have your Fit serviced at the mileage intervals indicated in your owner's manual for your specific model. By keeping your Honda tuned and changing the oil and filter when needed you will ensure that its engine is operating with maximum efficiency and returning the highest possible miles per gallon.

Avoid carrying unnecessary weight. In a car with a hatchback design such as the Honda Fit, it is tempting to carry a lot of unnecessary items with you. However, even though individual items may weigh relatively little, the combined weight of a lot of unnecessary items can lower fuel economy.

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage on an SUV

How to Get Better Gas Mileage on an SUV

The easiest thing to do is take out any unnecessary junk that may be adding weight to your vehicle. Keep only the things you need to be safe, like a tire jack, spare and emergency flares. Throw out that old motor you've been carting around, or that box of sand you kept in the car all winter (if it is now summer time), and lighten your load. You could add 'mpgs', depending on how well your SUV performs, if you lose a substantial amount of dead weight.

Remove that old car rack. If you are not going to be using that car roof rack on your SUV, take it off, and start getting better gas mileage on your SUV right away. A car rack adds a lot of drag, and depending on how well your SUV performs, it could save you a bundle on fuel costs.

Learn to drive your SUV a little more conservatively and you will get better gas mileage. Don't take your turns as fast, and lay off the gas when you accelerate and keep your speed low, even on the highway. Your SUV is a large vehicle so the faster it goes, the more energy it needs. Also, keeping a consistent speed and accelerating slower will keep your engine at a lower RPM, and therefore should give your SUV better gas mileage. Try it out, and you may be surprised at the gas mileage your SUV will get.

Keep your tires inflated to the tire pressure listed on the tires. Under-inflated tires create drag on the asphalt, so your SUV will get better gas mileage with just a simple five-minute stop at any gas station. Also, consider a tire that is more fuel-efficient for your vehicle. If you have off-road tires with large knobs made for gripping loose mud, gravel and sand, you may be sacrificing better gas mileage if you drive your SUV on smooth, city pavement.

Plan your trips with gas saving in mind, avoiding traffic, up-hill climbs, or winding roads. Combine smaller trips into one large trip, so your engine has time to warm up and performs at a higher level. Engines typically get better gas mileage when they have had a chance to warm up to the right temperature. As long as it doesn't add miles to your route, go to your closest destination last, and the farthest first, so your engine has a chance to warm up and run longer at the optimum temperature.

Perform all the proper maintenance. Get an oil change, service your engine, flush your SUV's transmission, change your air filters and always keep on top of your engine maintenance. Change the spark plugs, clean your grill, and keep the chasis lubed. This will prolong the life of your SUV's engine, and give you better gas mileage as your SUV gets older.

Items you will need

  • SUV

  • Map

  • Improved driving skills

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a Subaru Legacy

Check the air pressure in your tires. Don't check your air pressure when the tires are hot. Heat makes them expand and you will get a false reading. If your air pressure is not at its full capacity it can cause your gas mileage to decrease by 3 percent. This adds up over time. If your air pressure is low, add air and keep all tires equal.

Have your Subaru Legacy's wheels aligned by a professional. If your vehicle isn't aligned properly it will not get as much horsepower which will decrease the gas mileage. Don't assume your wheels are properly aligned just because you bought it brand new.

Keep the brakes from dragging. They may need to be adjusted. This can be done at the same time as you get your wheels aligned. Making one appointment for both will cut down on the cost and will get your Subaru Legacy ready to get the best gas mileage it can get.

Get rid of extra weight. Weight causes your Subaru Legacy to work harder, which means it uses more gas. If your Subaru Legacy has a roof rack, remove it when you don't need it. The same goes for any work tools or equipment that you may be keeping in the car or trunk. Only add weight when you need to.

Turn off the air conditioning and roll down the windows. Air conditioning uses up gas, while having your windows down can cool you off with no addition loss of gas. Not using your air conditioner can use 5 percent less gas.

Make sure the gas attendant (or yourself, if you pump) puts the gas cap back on tightly. You can lose gas if the cap is not put back on correctly. Since you've paid for the gas, make sure you are not losing a drop of it.

Use the cruise control feature of the Subaru Legacy. Staying at a constant speed uses less gas than if you were constantly using the brake and accelerator. This is one reason why freeway gas mileage is higher than in-town gas mileage.

Items you will need

  • Tire pressure gauge

 How to Get Better Gas Mileage in a Volvo XC90

How To Get Better Gas Mileage In A Volvo XC90

Avoid hard acceleration. Because the XC90 is an SUV, the acceleration may well be slower than you are used to, so take this into consideration when driving. Do not unnecessarily mash the gas pedal and do your best to accelerate smoothly. A heavy vehicle such as the XC90 will consume a lot of fuel if you are overly aggressive with the accelerator.

Don't speed. Volvo makes vehicles that are designed to be, and make you feel, safe. Because the XC90 is a luxury SUV, it features excellent noise and vibration reduction; as a result, the sensation of speed may be reduced. However, with increased speed comes lower fuel economy. To get even more miles per gallon, use the cruise control when possible.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Because SUVs like the XC90 often see rougher roads than Volvo's other luxury vehicles, tire inflation pressures need to be monitored closely. Potholes, heavy ruts, and other severe road conditions can cause the tires on your XC90 to lose air pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. Check your tire pressure regularly, at least once per month.

Make sure that your Volvo is serviced at the recommended intervals. Keeping your Volvo tuned and changing the oil and filter regularly will ensure that the engine is operating at its maximum possible efficiency. The XC90 is available with either a 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engine, and the service schedules will vary according to engine type and other options. Consult you owner's manual for details.

With an SUV like the Volvo XC90 it is tempting to carry a lot of unneeded things with you. However, doing so can add up to a significant amount of added weight. Also, if you are using your Volvo to tow a trailer it should be unhitched when not in use. Additionally, if you have a rooftop luggage rack or other similar equipment installed, consider removing it when it is not being used. The more weight that the engine in your Volvo has to pull, the lower your fuel economy.

Items you will need

  • Tire pressure gauge or monitoring system

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.