How to Improve the MPG in Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles. The engine is installed in the Vehicles Escalade line, select Vehicles and SS) and select Vehicles. The engine power, fuel trims, gearing, air intakes and Vehicles exhaust systems all contribute to the established fuel economy ratings of the Vehicles. Actual calculated fuel economy depends primarily on individual driving habits, environmental conditions, maintenance and upkeep and aftermarket additions, all of which might either enhance or degrade mileage.

Under The Hood:

 How to Improve the MPG in a Scion XB

Inflate your tires to the correct pressure. Many people believe that the proper inflation is the psi listed on their tires, but that isn't true. The correct inflation for your Scion XB can be found on the side of the driver's door jamb. Over- or under-inflated tires cause a decrease in gas mileage.

Drive safely and cautiously. If you follow the recommended speed limit in a given area, you will generally miss all of the red lights, reducing the number of times you stop and start. Stopping and starting use more fuel than steady driving speeds.

Consider the aerodynamics of your Scion XB. Avoid roof racks unless you need them for long trips. Don't install extra lighting across the roof of your car. Keep your vehicle clean of dust, dirt and debris. Anything that obstructs the flow of wind around your car decreases fuel mileage.

Empty your Scion XB. Take anything that isn't necessary for your day-to-day activities out of your car. This includes the back seat area and the trunk. Every 100 pounds of weight shows a marked decrease in fuel mileage.

Combine errands into one trip to improve your gas mileage. An engine requires more fuel to start the first time you crank it on a given day, but less fuel if it is only turned off for a short period of time. If you have five errands to run in a week, and you choose to complete them on five different days, you will use four times more fuel than if you had finished all of the errands in one day.

Items you will need

  • Scion XB

 How to Improve the MPG of a Toyota Camry Hybrid

Allow a proper break-in period. When Toyota Camry Hybrid owners complain to the dealership that they aren't seeing the advertised MPG, a common response is to wait until after the first 10,000 miles for the engine and hybrid components to reach peak efficiency.

Avoid rapid acceleration. A lead foot is an expensive habit as rapid acceleration wastes fuel. Transition gradually from a stop to top speed.

Minimize stops during the first 5 to 10 minutes after a cold start. Gasoline engine fuel economy is lower during the warm-up and according to the Toyota Camry Hybrid's auto-stop mechanism does not trigger when the gasoline engine is still cold. Stop at the last espresso stand on the way to work rather than the first to improve miles per gallon.

Use the Toyota Camry Hybrid's cruise control feature whenever possible, as cruise control increases fuel economy.

Coast whenever possible to maximize electric battery charge regeneration.

Plan routes to maximize hybrid efficiency. Unlike a standard gasoline engine, hybrid electric cars get the best MPG in stop and go traffic and the worst on highways. Take the scenic route with rolling hills rather than the expressway.

Keep tires properly inflated. Whether a driver is in a Toyota Camry Hybrid or traditional gasoline motor car, tires maintained at the proper pressure reduce drag and are essential for achieving optimal MPG.

Use energy hungry accessories like air conditioning as little as possible.

During a tune-up, ask the Toyota dealer to maximize gas mileage rather than horsepower. Unfortunately, a lot of the extra energy achieved by a hybrid engine is diverted to increasing power in U.S. models.

In Toyota Camry Hybrid models offering electric-only mode, use this setting for most in-town travel. Most drivers can make their complete daily commute and run errands without needing gasoline power. Reserve gasoline usage for longer trips.

Pay close intention to the instantaneous miles per gallon indicated on the Toyota Camry Hybrid's display. Notice how driving behavior and various routes to common destinations affect MPG. Adjust your driving to maximize this value.

Don't leave the Toyota Camry Hybrid idling while getting ready to go or sitting in a drive-through. Although the Toyota Camry Hybrid's auto-stop will turn off the gasoline engine, valuable electric battery charge is still wasted. Maximize use of the Toyota Camry Hybrid's electric capabilities for improving gas mileage while driving, not powering the car at a standstill.

Items you will need

  • Tire pressure gauge

 How to Improve the MPG of a Ford 5.0

Drive on highways and avoid city driving when possible. "Stop-and-go driving," also referred to as "jackrabbit starts," can cost you up to five percent in fuel efficiency. The miles per gallon that a 5.0 has show a difference of up to six miles per gallon when comparing city and highway driving. When on highways, stay in posted speed limits. Fuel efficiency drops at speeds faster than 60 miles per hour.

Remove any excess weight from your 5.0. Do not carry around excess items in the trunk if possible. An additional 100 pounds on your 5.0 can reduce the fuel economy up to two percent. Avoid putting items on top of your car, as this can also affect your aerodynamics. The wind resistance can decrease your miles per gallon by up to five percent.

Use the appropriate type of gas for your 5.0. Using a higher octane does not give any added benefits to your car. A 5.0 with a eight-cylinder engine requires premium gas. Those with a six-cylinder engine need regular unleaded.

Maintain your car properly. Keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure level can increase your miles per gallon by three percent. Oil changes at recommended periods, every 3,000 miles for the 5.0, and regular tune ups can average a four percent increase in fuel efficiency. Changing your air filter can up your fuel economy up to ten percent.

Avoid using products that claim to save gas. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tested over 100 products and found that very few provide any benefits. Those that do only had marginal improvements.

 How to Improve MPG for a Chevy Aveo

Check to make sure your tires are properly inflated. For a Chevy Aveo, each tire should be inflated to 30 PSI. A tire that is underinflated by only 2 PSI will reduce your fuel efficiency by 1 percent.

Tighten the gas cap to prevent gasoline from evaporating from the tank. Up to 147 million gallons of gasoline are lost per year because of evaporation, according to an estimate from the Car Care Council.

Coast to a stop to reduce fuel consumption. If you see traffic up ahead is slowed or stopped, let off the gas pedal. This will reduce fuel consumption, plus you'll slow down more gradually and reduce wear and tear on your Aveo's brakes.

Perform regular routine maintenance on your Aveo. A dirty or clogged air filter or fouled-up spark plugs will result in inefficient combustion of gas, which will result in you burning more than should be necessary if the car was properly maintained.

Accelerate slowly and evenly to reduce fuel consumption. Accelerating quickly from a complete stop can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 20 percent.

Use the air conditioning in the summer when traveling at speeds higher than 45 mph. Keeping the windows closed reduces the aerodynamic drag enough that it is more fuel efficient to drive with the windows closed and air conditioning on than it is to drive with it off and the windows open.

Don't speed if you want to improve your miles per gallon. For every 10 mph you go in excess of 65 mph, you reduce your Aveo's fuel efficiency by 10-15 percent.

 How to Improve the MPG on a Suburban

Ensure that your Suburban's engine is kept in proper working order. If you don't change the oil on a regular basis or take your Suburban in to get looked over at the recommended times according to the manufacturer's schedule, the engine can develop problems that will reduce your gas mileage. Synthetic oils or natural oils that are treated with special anti-friction additives have been known to improve your gas mileage by 12 percent.

Inflate your tires to the proper rating (written on the side of the tire) and check them regularly to ensure that they stay inflated. If your tires are under-inflated, the car has to work harder when driving, which requires extra fuel, and a lower MPG.

Take as much extra "stuff" out of your car as possible. If your Suburban has a third row of seats, remove them and leave them at home if you don't use them. This will reduce the overall weight of the vehicle and improve gas mileage.

Take off extra accessories on your car that increase wind resistance, such as luggage racks. While these don't have much effect at low speeds, once you reach highway speeds, they can have a major effect on your gas mileage.

Take highway routes as much as possible, since driving in city traffic will drastically increase how much fuel your Suburban uses. Avoid idling the engine in traffic. Idling consumes gas, and reduces MPG.

 How to Improve the MPG of a Honda Element

Drive smart. Aggressive driving can lower your fuel efficiency by five percent, so avoid quick accelerations. Additionally, fuel efficiency declines rapidly over 60 miles per hour, so staying within the posted speed limits will maintain the vehicle's rated fuel economy.

Avoid unnecessary idling and cold starts. Turn off the Element's engine during long waits in line and combine errands into one trip when possible. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip that covers the same distance.

Pack smart. Leaving items in the Element that do not need to be there can lower fuel efficiency. Just 100 pounds of additional weight in the rear of the vehicle can decrease fuel efficiency by two percent. Additionally, loading items on the top of an Element can increase wind resistance and lower fuel economy by up to five percent.

Keep your Element maintained. Have regular tune ups and keep your tires inflated and aligned. Check your air filter whenever you change your oil. These steps can improve fuel economy by nearly 20 percent.

Save money by using the recommended regular unleaded gasoline for the Element. Using higher-octane fuel does not provide any benefit and costs more.

 How to Improve MPG on a Diesel

Improving miles per gallon in a diesel motor

Change the air filter. The air filter is very important to the smooth and economical operation of a diesel motor. The engine relies on air combustion to properly utilize the fuel that is being injected into the motor. Make sure you inspect the air filter at every service interval. Look for dirt or debris inside the filter. Replace if filter is discolored or there is an excess of debris.

Replace your fuel filters at every service interval. The filters will isolate any debris that gets sucked up by the fuel pump and could cause premature deterioration to your motor and its components.

Drain the fuel-water separator on a regular basis. Diesel accumulates moisture in its tanks and the water mixed with the fuel can cause poor performance and sluggish acceleration.

Adjust your idle speed down. The higher the idle, the more fuel the vehicle is consuming, as well as actually burning fuel. The black smoke you see rolling off the exhaust pipes is excess fuel.

Observe your speed. The faster you drive, the more fuel you burn. Keep your RPMs low. The sooner you shift, the better the fuel mileage will be.

Install aftermarket parts.The results of a larger diameter exhaust system will mean less work for the motor. Aftermarket items can consist of a performance chip to regulate a power increase. There are many aftermarket parts to consider that will provide your truck with more power, therefore using less fuel to power your diesel motor.

Use fuel additives when you fill up at the pumps. The purpose of the additives are to clean your motor and injectors. They also provide better lubricity and boost cetane. The additives also will help to increase boost pressure and pull moisture out and trap it in the water separator. Additives are known to increase fuel economy by 8 percent.

 How to Improve MPG on an Astro Van

Reduce the weight in your van. With large vehicles such as vans, SUVs and pickup trucks, owners tend to take advantage of the amount of storage space. However, every extra pound of weight is another pound that your motor is working to carry. The more effort required from your motor, the more gasoline it pulls from the fuel tank in order to operate efficiently. Clear your van from anything that isn't essential to ease the strain on your engine.

Check the air pressure in your tires. A heavy vehicle such as the Astro requires sturdy tires that are properly inflated. By checking your air pressure regularly, you can identify leaks and damage and repair them before they become a problem.

Assess your driving habits. Forceful acceleration after starts and stops uses extra gas. By gradually pressing your gas pedal on each acceleration and allowing your engine to slowly build up speed, you will improve your average miles per gallon.

Use cruise control when possible. If your Astro van has this feature, use it to place minimum stress on your engine when you're driving on uncrowded highways or on long trips. If you do not have cruise control, coasting at a steady speed uses less fuel than constantly speeding up and slowing down.

Take your van in for routine tuneups. During your Astro's tuneup, a mechanic will decide whether your vehicle needs an oil change, new air filter or other repairs that contribute to improved gas mileage. You might need new tires or to rotate your existing tires. A tuned-up Astro needs less fuel to perform up to expectations. If the engine is straining, it will use more fuel.

 How Do I Improve MPG in a 6 Liter Silverado?

Vehicle Maintenance

Fully inflate the tires to the recommended cold psi. When tire pressure is low (even on a single tire), mileage can be reduced by as much as 15 percent. Monitor tires at significant weather changes and after extended use. Maintaining proper cold tire pressure will reduce the drag on the vehicle and require less engine work to accelerate and maintain engine speeds.

Exchange stock fluids with quality synthetics. Engine fluid and gear box and differential fluid should be replaced with equivalent synthetics. Synthetics increase mileage by reducing the total friction on the vehicle's drive line. Reduced friction allows the 6.0 engine to work less to accelerate, coast and maintain speed.

If you have accumulated over 75,000 miles, consider replacing the spark plugs. Spark plug posts wear down from heat and combustion, extending the gap between electrode and grounds. Gaps exceeding recommendations result in less efficient combustion and increase fuel consumption.

Clean or replace fuel injectors. Deposits on fuel injectors result in poor spray patterns and incomplete combustion, robbing the engine of performance. Clean with a fuel system additive. Replacing the fuel injectors after 90,000 miles can result in fuel mileage gains.

Alter Driving Habits

Reduce the total vehicle weight. Removing excess weight prior to driving can result in significant mileage gains. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), mileage can be improved by up to 2 percent for every 100 pounds removed. Heavy toolboxes not needed for short commutes, extra seating and sandbags should be removed when not in use.

Drive less aggressively. The U.S. DOE determined aggressive driving can reduce fuel economy by 5 percent to 33 percent. Accelerate moderately, stay within speed limits, drive 55 mph on the highway and coast to stops (rather than maintaining acceleration and braking at the last minute) to improve mileage.

Turn the engine off when idling for extended periods of time. For every 30 to 60 seconds of idle, the 6.0L V-8 engine consumes enough gasoline to degrade total mileage per tank by approximately one-tenth of a gallon.

Operate the vehicle in two-wheel drive, when possible. If your vehicle is equipped with four-wheel drive, when engaged, the vehicle's engine must consume more gasoline to provide power to all four wheels when accelerating and maintaining speeds.

Performance Modifications and Tuning

Tune the engine and transmission with a performance hand-held tuning or software program. Professional tuners will access your vehicle's onboard computer (the PCM) through the OBDII port located under the steering column. Using specialized programs, a professional tuner will adjust fuel/air ratios, shift points, adjust fuel consumption at throttle settings and perform other optimizations for a specific fuel octane rating. Aftermarket hand-held tuners allow you to load preprogrammed (and custom) settings designed specifically for the 6.0L engine and your transmission combination (and can even account for aftermarket products, such as custom exhausts or cold air intakes). Performance tuners can improve mileage on the 6.0L engine by as much as 15 percent.

Install a cold air intake in place of the box air filter. A cold air intake blocks the engine heat from warming the intake. The result is colder (and more dense) air entering the engine, which allows more oxygen to enter the combustion process, improving the performance and power produced by the engine. Less combustion for more power results in mileage gains (if you can keep your foot off the gas).

Replace the stock exhaust system with an aftermarket performance exhaust. Increased exhaust performance will result in a balance between exhaust escape and back pressure, increasing the overall horsepower transferred to the wheels.

Insulate the exhaust manifold or headers with exhaust wrap. By constraining the heat to the exhaust system, less heat affects the air intake. As with a cold air intake system, colder and more dense air enters the combustion process, resulting in a more efficient engine.

Items you will need

  • Fuel injector cleaner

  • Fuel system cleaner

  • Hand-held tuner

  • Cold air intake kit

  • Tire pressure gauge

  • Compressed air

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.