How to Improve Fuel Mileage on Dodge Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Cummins Dodge car motor that is supplied in the Dodge car Ram is renowned the world over for its power, efficiency and torque. The Cummins also has plenty of possibilities for upgrades to help in other areas besides power, such as air flow, temperature, exhaust temperatures and turbo upgrades. Dodge car engines do not use spark plugs like gas engines do, so tune-ups are performed differently on a Dodge car engine. Routine maintenance can also help with fuel economy, and on a Dodge car it includes checking the fuel filter, oil filter and tire pressure to ensure optimal performance from your Dodge car.

Under The Hood:

 How to Improve Fuel Mileage on a Dodge Diesel

Add an air intake system to your Dodge Ram. By increasing the airflow, your Cummins will have a better air-to-fuel ratio, which will increase the efficiency of the motor. Increased efficiency translates to better gas mileage. K & N Filters claims that their intake systems can add as much as 12 horsepower and 2 miles per gallon to a Dodge Ram. Different systems require different tools, and steps involve removing the old air intake and using a Phillips head screwdriver with the supplied clamps to bolt on the new setup.

Change the exhaust system on the truck to a more free-flowing unit that will allow the increased air flow to leave the truck just as efficiently as it entered. Aftermarket companies like Silverline, Borla, and Banks Engineering all create bolt-on kits that can be installed in a short amount of time and can help add miles per gallon, as well as power. Banks Power conducted tests with the Dodge Ram 2500 and installed one of their aftermarket exhausts on the test truck. They found a 88% increase in airflow over stock and lower exhaust temperatures also. They also found a 1 to 2 mile per gallon increase in fuel economy with the aftermarket exhaust.

Purchase a fuel chip for the truck. These chips reprogram the factory computer and gives the truck new perimeters to operate by. These chips can range in price from $250 all the way to over $1,000 for some of the top-of-the-line units. Installation is usually as simple as plugging in the unit under the dash and following the instructions for the unit. Edge Products produces a chip called Mileage Max that is capable of increasing the Cummins fuel economy by 7% and a power increase of 35 horsepower, all for around $300.

Make the upgrades according to your budget. Most people start by increasing the fuel and air efficiency of the vehicle by installing air intake and exhaust systems. These parts tend to be less expensive than alternative upgrades and do provide gains in horsepower and fuel economy. These upgrades alone can combine for 3 to 4 miles per gallon gain as well as an extra 20 to 50 horsepower. This means an extra 120 miles to drive with the standard 31 gallon fuel tank.

Items you will need

  • Air intake system

  • High flow exhaust

  • Ratchet

  • Sockets

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • Flat head screwdriver

 How to Improve Fuel Mileage With Cummins Diesel

Drive your Cummins-powered truck with optimum fuel mileage in mind. Remember, diesels run most efficiently, and even produce the most torque, when the engine is steadily operating at a lower RPM. Therefore, when driving on the highway, use cruise control to limit the speed of your truck to less than 65 mph. This will keep your tachometer on the low end of the scale and increase your fuel mileage.

Shift early if your truck has a manual transmission. This is referred to as short-shifting. Unlike gasoline-powered engines, a diesel engine prefers to be shifted into the next highest gear long before it reaches its peak power. Again, this keeps the truck running at a lower RPM and helps you save money at the pump. If you have a truck with an automatic transmission, just keep in mind that you shouldn't gun the engine more than you absolutely must and use overdrive, if equipped.

Buy quality fuel for your Cummins. While it sounds like common sense, cheap, low-grade fuel can be tempting, especially when diesel prices skyrocket. Ultimately, you will increase your fuel mileage by using top-grade diesel fuel and save your engine from future damage caused by watery or dirty fuel.

Replace your standard engine oil with a good synthetic. A premium synthetic will permit your Cummins engine to run at optimum performance, as it decreases the level of friction and increases the efficiency of the engine. With the added benefits of cleaner emissions and more horsepower, you'll also experience greater fuel economy. Furthermore, you will notice fuel mileage improvements if you change to higher-grade oils in your differential and transfer case.

Purchase a power module designed for your Cummins diesel. There are a variety of brands on the market, so you should look around before deciding which to buy. Once you have a power module, it is simple to install. Usually, all that is required is plugging it in to the proper outlet. After it's installed, the module makes electronic adjustments to your engine, which makes it run more smoothly and increase fuel mileage. It will also give you additional horsepower.

 How to Increase the Fuel Mileage for a Dodge Dakota

Place a cover over the bed of your Dakota. A cover will lower wind resistance and improve gas mileage. A cover will probably cost at least $400, but will pay off over the lifetime of the truck.

Install an upgraded air filter. The new line of air filters don't become clogged like the old ones. They cost twice as much as traditional air filters, but they also last for a much longer time.

Tune up your Dakota for the time recommended in its maintenance manual. Older Dakotas need to be tuned up more often than newer ones.

Change the oil in your Dakota at least once every 3,000 miles after the engine is initially broken in. Use a synthetic oil. A high quality oil with additives designed to reduce friction in the engine will improve gas mileage,

Carry around only as many items in the bed of the truck as necessary. A lighter Dakota truck will get better gas mileage than a heavier one.

Install an improved exhaust system if you have an older Dakota model. These systems have pipes that are wider and straighter than older exhaust systems. The improved exhaust flow reduces fuel consumption.

Keep your Dakota's tires properly inflated. Tires that are under or over inflated reduce gas mileage. The recommend tire pressure can be found on the side of most tires.

Use your cruise control whenever possible. Avoid sudden stops and starts. Try not to rev the engine. Avoid idling for long stretches.

Follow the speed limits. Combine errands to avoid excess driving. Use a GPS system to avoid getting lost.

Items you will need

  • Bed cover

  • Synthetic oil

  • Air filter

  • Exhaust system

  • Tire pressure gauge

  • GPS system

 How to Increase the Fuel Mileage of a Dodge RAM 5.9L

Use stock size tires. Large, beefy tires are a popular upgrade for many Ram owners, especially those who venture off-road. Tall tires increase fuel consumption. Consider stepping down to a stock tire size if you don't need the off-roading advantages that larger tires offer.

Use the cruise control whenever possible. Cruise control offers steady, automatic throttle modulation at cruising speeds. This helps maintain your speed during highway driving, but it also improves your fuel efficiency.

Practice less aggressive driving techniques. Abrupt acceleration from stops, harsh throttle application and other aggressive driving behavior can decrease fuel mileage by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Give your engine regular tune-ups. Replacing items such as air filters, spark plugs and oxygen sensors can improve fuel mileage while preserving your Dodge Ram's performance.

Remove excess weight whenever possible. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hauling excess weight in your Dodge Ram can pull your fuel mileage down by 2 percent.

Keep your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires are unsafe, but they also increase drag and force your vehicle to use more fuel. Regularly check your tires' psi level and keep them inflated to the recommended level. The proper levels are printed on a sticker located on the driver's side door jamb.

 How to Increase Mileage on a Dodge Cummins

Drop excess weight from the vehicle to improve the truck's wind resistance. Remove any unnecessary heavy equipment and accessories, like bike racks, bowling balls, oversized tires and sports gear, which can weigh the vehicle down and reduce the number of miles per gallon the truck gets.

Get regular oil changes. Dirty engine oil can affect Cummins engines in Dodge trucks, causing them to work harder and burn more fuel in the process.

Check and adjust the tire pressure as needed. Underinflated tires can increase the amount of work the Cummins engine puts in, thus burning more fuel. The recommended maximum pressure is printed on the sidewall of most tires.

Replace dirty air filters. A dirty air filter can restrict air flow in Dodge trucks, which wastes energy and affects fuel performance.

Drive more sensibly. Avoid aggressive driving actions, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and quick braking, which all waste gas. Also, watch your speed and obey speed limits. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 MPH in a Cummins-powered Dodge.

 How to Increase Mileage on a Dodge RAM 5.7 HEMI

Change your RAM's oil every 3,000 miles or at least every three months. This keeps the engine clean and running well.

Get a tune up. Regular tune ups involve changing the spark plugs and a general check of the engine. This ensures that everything is running smoothly. Skipping tune ups can cause your truck to run poorly and burn more gas than necessary.

Avoid letting your Doge idle for long periods of time. You get zero mileage from idling. You actually burn more fuel idling in place than you would driving, so avoid it if possible.

Check your tires often. Tires with low air pressure can cause pull during driving and use more gas. Temperature fluctuations can cause tires to lose air pressure. Add air if needed as soon as possible. Slightly flat tires can greatly bring down your gas mileage.

Avoid accelerating quickly. This burns more gas than needed. Driving at high speeds can burn fuel a lot faster than if you drive the speed limit or just below it.

Check your air filter. You should be able to hold it up to a bright light and be able to see the light through it. If you can't, then it's time for a new one. Clogged air filters cause your engine to run incorrectly and can decrease mileage if it's not getting enough air into the system.

Remove extra weight from the bed of your truck. The less weight you carry the better. Hauling a heavy load slows down your vehicle, thus using more gas to get moving. Only carry extra weight when needed.

 How to Improve the Gas Mileage of a 2004 Dodge Ram 1500

Remove any excess weight. Don't drive around with lots of things in the back of your truck that you don't need, because you are just wasting gas.

Put the tailgate up. Driving around with the tailgate down affects the aerodynamics of the truck, and you will use more gas.

Keep the engine well maintained. Check the air filter regularly and change it when its bright white color starts to fade. Make sure that the engine oil never goes below the minimum mark on the dipstick and keep the fluids topped up to the recommended levels. An engine that is running efficiently will save you gas.

Check the tires regularly and keep them pumped to the level recommended in your owner's manual. Over-inflated tires are just as bad as under-inflated ones. Both will mean that you use more gas.

Keep your speed down. The Dodge Ram has a powerful engine for its size, and the temptation may be to drive it too quickly. Driving at 80 miles per hour uses a lot more gas than driving at 30.

Anticipate what is ahead of you. Don't drive right up to the queue of traffic in front of you and slam on the brakes. Apply the brakes gently well-ahead of the queue and try to avoid stopping at all. It will save you a lot of gas

Install a performance chip. A performance chip works by automatically adjusting the air flow and fuel burn in your engine and can be added to any engine that has a fuel injection system. Check online or in your local paper for a garage that can do this for you. You can do this upgrade yourself if you have enough automotive knowledge, and you can pick up a chip suitable for your engine from your dealership.

 How to Improve Gas Mileage on a Dodge Hemi

Install a cold air intake. A cold air intake improves gas mileage because cold air is denser and contains more oxygen than hot air, and is therefore more efficient in a combustion engine.

Use your experience to anticipate traffic. Accelerating toward traffic and slamming your brakes on is a waste of gas. It's more efficient to take your foot off the gas and roll toward the traffic, which uses almost no gas at all.

Keep your car clean and maintained under the bonnet. Dirty oil causes a buildup of residue, while old air filters do not let enough oxygen into the engine. Both of these factors reduce the engine's ability to burn gas efficiently.

Stick to the speed limit and do not drive too fast. While it may be tempting to enjoy the power which the Hemi offers, driving above 60 mph uses significantly more gas than sticking to 60 mph.

Don't carry unnecessary weight. While it may be inconvenient to unload your tools into the garage when you don't need them, it costs you money to drag them around in the back of the truck. Extra weight equates to extra resistance, thus requiring more gas to move the same distance. For every additional 250 lbs you carry, you will lose 1 mpg. This represents approximately a 3 to 5 percent increase in fuel costs on a Hemi.

Keep your tires correctly inflated. Flat tires have a wider surfer area, which increases drag. Look in the handbook for the optimal pressure and check the pressure weekly.

Install a performance chip. A performance chip reconfigures the car's computer, which will adjust the mix of air and gas in the combustion mix. This will improve gas mileage as it will configure the engine to take more air and less gas.

Close your windows at high speed. Open windows cause drag and will have a negative effect on your gas mileage. At high speeds it is more efficient to use air conditioning, and at low speeds it is more efficient to open your window.

Items you will need

  • Cold air intake

  • Performance chip

  • Tyre pressure checker

  • New air filters

 How to Improve the Gas Mileage for a Dodge Caravan

Avoid putting items in the in-floor and overhead storage bins. The heavier a car is, the harder it is to move. This requires additional gas. You'll find that the Dodge Caravan features several convenient storage spaces, most notably, the ones in the floor and overhead. Use these if you absolutely must, but for everyday driving, be sure that they are empty.

Purchase a Dodge Caravan with the 3.3-liter OHV FFV V6 engine. If you have this type of engine, you can use E85, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, which reduces your expenses and lowers emissions.

Make use of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Having properly-inflated tires allows you to reduce the amount of gas that you use. Fortunately, with the Dodge Caravan, you don't have to mess around with a manual tire pressure gauge. The van features a tire pressure monitoring system that turns on a light if your tires need air.

Perform regular engine maintenance. You can improve gas mileage simply by taking good care of your van. This includes regular oil changes and checkups. You should change oil every three months or every 3000 miles. Remember that the odometer on your Dodge Caravan is set to the size of the wheels that the vehicle came with, either 16- or 17-inch. If you change the wheel size, the odometer is not giving an accurate reading.

 How to Improve Gas Mileage on a Dodge 4.7

Avoid aggressive driving, which is defined as speeding, rapid acceleration and erratic braking. Aggressive driving wastes gas and is the number one contributor to a lower gas mileage for the Dodge 4.7 (or any car, for that matter). For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, the cost of gas will set you back another $0.24 per gallon. Use cruise control with your Dodge 4.7 on major highways to help contribute to a cheaper gas bill--up to $0.81 less per gallon.

Reduce the weight in the Dodge 4.7. The general formula is that the more weight the vehicle carries, the slower it will get, and then you need to pump more gas to maintain the same speed. The result is poor fuel efficiency. An extra 100 pounds in the vehicle can reduce the miles per gallon by up to 2%. Remove excess weight that is not absolutely needed for the trip.

Properly inflate the tires on the Dodge 4.7. The proper tire pressure for the Dodge 4.7 is located on the tires themselves, or in the owner's manual. You can improve your gas mileage by 3.3% with properly inflated tires. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.

Use the Dodge's recommended grade of motor oil for the model. This will improve the gas mileage by 1-2%. Also, find a motor oil with the "Energy Conserving" label on it. These brands contain friction-reducing additives and will further help fuel efficiency and the environment.

Plan your trips more effectively. Instead of running numerous one-stop errands throughout the day, make all your stops in one trip. Several short trips taken from a cold start in a Dodge 4.7 can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. If you commute a great distance to work each day, considering saving money and helping out the environment by carpooling.

 How to Improve Gas Mileage With a Dodge 1500 RAM

Drive according to the laws. Not only are they in place for your safety and the safety of others, they help your truck as well. Speeding, as well as the excessive braking that comes with speeding, wastes your gasoline. When possible drive 60 miles per hour (mph) or below for maximum mileage.

Clean out your truck. Sure, it's great for hauling the kids' soccer equipment, that new grill, or all of the tools that you might need, but it's not doing anything for your gas tank. An extra 100 pounds in the bed of your truck can equal a mileage reduction of up to 2 percent. Haul around only what is necessary and unload the truck as soon as possible.

Turn off your engine. Idling your truck while you wait for your significant other to go into one more store or while you're talking to your neighbor burns up your gas at a rate of exactly 0 miles per gallon. It's the equivalent of throwing a dollar bill into the fire place.

Drive in overdrive. This will make your engine's speed reduce, which not only saves gas, but reduces wear and tear on your engine.

Tune up your truck. Trucks that don't get regular tune-ups can waste up to 4% of your gas. Don't forget the tires. Under-inflated tires can make you lose as much as 3.3% of your fuel.

Combine your trips. If you have to pick up your grandma from church at 7:00 p.m., but you really want a cheeseburger at 4:00 p.m., try to hold off. Taking many small trips will waste more gas than if you go out once and do all of your errands at once.

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.