How to increase the MPG in your Cars

by Contributing Writer

The Mitsubishi car -- known as the "Pajero" in some markets -- is a sport utility vehicle that was produced by Japan's Mitsubishi car with an eye on off-road performance. It never became very popular in the United States, perhaps because most American SUV drivers stay on the road, where the Mitsubishi car off-road tuning made it a less pleasant ride. As a large SUV, the Mitsubishi car is not very easy on gas. It is possible, however, to significantly increase the miles per gallon (mpg) that a Mitsubishi car gets with a bit of smart driving and maintenance.

Under The Hood:

 How to increase the MPG in your Dodge Cummins Pickup

Install a cold-air intake, high-flow air filter, aftermarket exhaust system, turbo down tube and underdrive pulleys. These upgrades are fairly universal, but they work particularly well on diesel engines where fuel efficiency is concerned. Diesel fuel economy is directly connected to torque output with a given amount of fuel, so anything you can do to enhance power without injecting more fuel is going to increase fuel efficiency.

Buy and install an aftermarket power programmer with a fuel efficiency setting. A power tuner will probably make the biggest difference in fuel efficiency without tearing into the engine and making major changes to the hardware -- and even then, you'll probably never match the power tuner's return on the dollar.

Lower the truck. Your truck's aerodynamic size and aerodynamic profile has at least as much impact on fuel economy as its weight, which you can't very well reduce without scrapping things that you probably want. Lowering the truck will reduce its aerodynamic cross-section (the size of the hole that it must punch through the air) and the amount of air that goes underneath the chassis.

Install a front air dam that very nearly scrapes the ground, and cover the bottom of the truck with a flat, sheet-metal belly pan. A belly pan will smooth and accelerate airflow going under the truck, which will increase fuel economy and high speed stability. This is especially crucial for big 4WD trucks like the Ram, whose axles and transfer case make the chassis about as smooth as the moon.

Fabricate or pay someone to fabricate a fiberglass Aero Tonneau cover. Aero Tonneau covers are completely different animals from Flat Tonneau covers, which are merely flat sheets that cover the bed. An Aero Tonneau cover tapers down from the top of the truck's cab to the top of the tailgate, and essentially turns the bed into one massive fast-back roofline. As of 2011, true Aero Tonneaus don't exist for this application, so you will have to fabricate your own, but in doing so you'll end up with a truck that looks like no one else's.

Get rid of the dual tires and install a set of 20-inch rims no wider than eight inches, and go with a set of lower-profile, all-season Touring tires. A set of 205/60-R20 tires will work best for this application; they're only about 0.5 inch smaller in overall diameter, so your engine rpm will remain about the same. You'll rarely hear this from anyone with a clue, but big rims and skinny, low profile tires are dynamically perfect for this application. This package will greatly reduce rolling resistance over the stock 245/70-R17 (10-inch wide) tires, but will do so at a slight penalty to ride quality and traction.

 How to Increase the MPG for a Mitsubishi Montero

Low Mileage Driving

Empty out any unnecessary weight from your Montero when you go driving. Although it is tempting to use the vehicle's large storage space, the added weight will reduce your mpg by making the engine work harder to move the vehicle. This can reduce mileage by up to 2 percent for every 100 pounds of weight added, although the effect is stronger on smaller vehicles than the Montero. When you get back home after an expedition, unload your tools and gear to save on gas later.

Drive carefully. The easiest way to improve your Montero's mileage is to brake, turn and accelerate smoothly when you drive. Not doing so can cost you a 5 percent reduction in mileage in the city and up to 33 percent on the highway. To help yourself drive smoothly, try to use your cruise control when driving on the highway. This will keep your speed consistent and improve mileage.

Avoid idling. Leaving your engine running when the vehicle is stopped --except at a traffic light -- is a waste of gasoline. A full tank will go a lot farther if you shut the car off when stopped for more than a minute; the small amount of extra gas burned at engine start is outweighed by the gas saved.

Drive close to or at the speed limit. Fuel efficiency drops off very quickly once you are moving faster than 60 mph. If you give yourself enough travel time to stick to the slower lanes on the highway, it will improve your mpg significantly.

Use your overdrive gears once your Montero is up to speed. They let the engine turn more slowly and reduce gas consumption while also reducing engine wear.

MPG Through Maintenance

Inflate your tires properly. This is especially important for Montero drivers who take their vehicles off-road, since off-roading usually involves letting air out of the tires so they can bend around rocks and sticks. Reinflating the tires to the pressure recommended in your driver's manual or on the sticker inside your driver's side door jamb (not the maximum pressure engraved on the tire) can give you up to 3.3 percent more mpg.

Tune up your engine. A mechanic's small adjustments -- such as cleaning the fuel filter, changing the spark plugs and adjusting the engine timing -- can add up to a 4 percent improvement in mileage. Larger repairs, such as oxygen sensor replacement, will potentially boost your Montero's mileage by up to 40 percent.

Check the oil. Clean oil will make the engine run more smoothly, and using the manufacturer's recommended grade of oil can give you a 1 percent to 2 percent mileage boost. Check that the oil is labeled with an "Energy Conserving" mark; this indicates it has been mixed with friction-reducing compounds that further reduce the amount of work your engine needs to do.

 How to Increase the MPG on My GMC Envoy

Get a tuneup on your Envoy regularly. Be sure to replace the fuel filters and air filters at least every 20,000 miles or so, depending on your driving conditions.

Keep your tires inflated to the recommended tire pressure. Ideally, you should check your tire pressure once a week.

Avoid reckless driving. Avoid accelerating too fast or sudden braking as both can increase fuel consumption.

Try to limit the weight in your vehicle when possible. Check the trunk area and backseat for heavy items that can be left at home.

Plan your trips ahead of time to avoid driving in heavy traffic. Stop-and-go traffic decreases your miles per gallon significantly. Use highway systems when possible as your Envoy will get better miles per gallon when travelling between speeds of 30 and 60 miles per hour.

 How to Increase the MPG in a Chevy K2500

Drive more sensibly. Avoid aggressive maneuvers in traffic like speeding, quick braking and rapid acceleration, all of which suck up gas and hurt the truck's gas mileage. Also, watch your speed, since the gas mileage in Chevy trucks usually decreases rapidly at speeds over 60 MPH.

Remove excess weight from the vehicle. Since the older model Chevy K2500s are heavy duty pickup trucks, some owners use them to haul large, heavy objects. But when the truck's not hauling anything, all heavy items should be removed. The lighter the vehicle is, the less the drive resistance and the better the gas mileage.

Monitor and adjust the truck's tire pressure as needed. Under-inflated tires can increase the amount of work the engine has to put in, which results in more fuel being burned. The maximum recommended pressure for each tire should be printed on the tires' sidewalls.

Change your car's oil regularly. Pollutants in dirty oil can affect the truck's engine, causing it to work harder and burn more fuel in the process.

Replace dirty air filters as needed. A dirty air filter can reduce the air flow in a Chevy K2500, thereby wasting energy and affecting fuel performance.

 How to Increase the MPG for a Chevy Tahoe

Check the tire pressure on your using a tire gauge. The tires should measure 32 pounds per square inch (PSI). Under-inflated tires increase the rotational mass the engine must contend with. This increases stress on the engine and decreases fuel efficiency.

Remove unnecessary items from your Tahoe. The SUV is large, heavy and capable of towing and storing large items. If you do not have a need store items in your vehicle, remove them. Added weight causes added stress on the engine and lowers engine efficiency.

Use cruise control. The use of cruise control reduces the inconsistent pressure applied to the gas pedal by the driver. The cruise control uses a computer to maintain consistent pressure on the gas. This prevents over consumption due to driver error.

Drive the speed limit. According to the federal government, maintaining the speed limits enacted in the 1970s will help to reduce the fuel consumption of your SUV. Due to gas shortages in the 1970s, the government completed studies to determine the best rates of speed to help consumers save gas.

Items you will need

  • Tire gauge

 How to Increase the MPG on a Nissan Armada

Change the air filter and spark plugs according to Nissan's suggested schedule. The air filter should be changed every 7,500 miles and the spark plugs every 60,000 miles. Dirty air filters and spark plugs will decrease fuel efficiency by preventing the fuel from burning at maximum efficiency.

Reduce the aerodynamic drag on your Armada to increase your miles per gallon average. Only carry items on your Armada's roof rack when absolutely necessary. When traveling at highway speeds, drive with the windows rolled up, which will reduce drag on the vehicle.

Check your tires weekly to make sure they are properly inflated. Statistics from the Department of Energy indicate that underinflated tires will reduce fuel efficiency on a vehicle by 3.3 percent.

Reduce excess and unnecessary weight in your Armada. Even though your SUV is capable of hauling 97 cubic feet of cargo, don't drive around with it filled with items you don't need. For every 100 extra pounds you carry around in your Armada, fuel efficiency is reduced by one to two percent.

Drive no faster than 65 mph on the interstate. Department of Energy statistics indicate that fuel efficiency is reduced by 7 percent for every 5 mph you drive in excess of 65 mph. When accelerating from a complete stop, do so slowly and evenly. Quick accelerations can cut your fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.

 How to Increase MPG for a 350Z

Increasing Your MPG With Better Driving

Drive calmly. Although it may be tempting to drive a 350Z like a race car, this will burn through gasoline quickly. Accelerating, braking and turning suddenly can lower your highway mileage by 33 percent and knock 5 percent off your mileage in the city.

Turn on your cruise control whenever possible. Cruise control keeps your car moving at a steady speed, which will save you gas. This is only really an option when driving on the highway, as city driving demands too many starts and stops to make cruise control practical.

Unload extra weight from your car. Although the 350Z doesn't have a lot of cargo space to begin with, keeping what space it does have filled up will reduce your mileage. Adding 100 pounds of weight can reduce your mpg by 2 percent. This is especially relevant in a relatively light car such as the 350Z, where any added weight makes up a larger proportion of the car's weight than it would in a truck or van.

Shut down your engine when you stop the car for more than a minute. Idling burns gas without getting you anywhere. Although your engine will burn slightly more gas when it starts, it won't be enough to make it sensible to keep it running instead. This does put some additional strain on the starter, but the cost of replacing it slightly earlier will be less than the cost of all the extra gas.

Stick to the speed limit. Although this is really challenging when driving a speed-oriented car like the 350Z, it will save a lot of gas. Fuel efficiency falls off quickly above 60 mph, which is in any case illegally fast on many roads. Keep the high speed driving for the track, and your mpg will improve.

Shift into your overdrive gear when possible. This will let the engine turn slower and use less gas. It is also easier on your engine.

Increasing MPG Through Maintenance

Have your car engine tuned up. Adjusting the engine timing, cleaning the fuel filters, and other small maintenance jobs can improve your mpg by up to 4 percent. Bigger repairs bring bigger benefits. Replacing a broken oxygen sensor, for example, could improve your mpg by a 40 percent.

Use premium gas. Sports car engines often work at higher compressions, which heat the engine to a higher temperature. Premium gas is less likely to pre-ignite, which will reduce wear on the engine over time and improve your mpg slightly.

Inflate your tires properly. Follow the guidelines printed in your 350Zs manual or on a sticker found on the driver's side door jamb. Sticking to the recommended inflation can boost your mileage by up to 3.3. percent.

Use the right oil. Your 350Z's manual will recommend a grade of oil to use in the car. Using this, and ensuring that the oil comes with an "Energy Conserving" sticker that indicates the presence of friction reducing additives can give you a 1-2 percent boost in mpg.

 How to Increase MPG on a 4Runner


Maintain your 4Runner to make sure it gets the best possible gas mileage. Get regular oil changes with the correct grade of oil--the lightest grade that will work in your climate--to keep your engine from working harder than it should and burning extra fuel.

Make sure your coolant is full and properly mixed to prevent the engine from running hot. Also, check your air and fuel filters to make sure they're not dirty or clogged.

Get your spark plugs checked by your mechanic. Faulty spark plugs alone can decrease your gas mileage by up to 30 percent.

Driving Habits

Accelerate slowly and brake gently. According to Castrol, more than 80 percent of your fuel is used for accelerating. And tests conducted by found that gentle accelerating and braking increased fuel economy by more than 30 percent over aggressive acceleration and braking hard.

If your 4Runner is equipped with cruise control, use it on the highway, and keep it at the speed limit. A constant, slower speed will conserve gas over changing speeds and traveling at more than 65 mph.

Limit your use of four-wheel drive. When conditions call for it, your 4Runner's 4WD capabilities are useful. But don't forget to shift back to 2WD when you're back on clear pavement.

Most newer 4Runners come with automatic transmissions. However, if you have an older, manual transmission model, shift at a lower engine RPM (such as 2,500 rather than 3,000) and get into a high gear quickly. Also, you can use your clutch to disengage the transmission and coast on gentle downhill slopes.

 How Do I Increase the MPG on a Ford Triton 5.4L?

Refer to the Ford engine manual for the 5.4 liter V-8, and keep the engine tuned at its recommended intervals. If you do not keep this type of engine in tune, its gas mileage can lower by as much as 20 percent. The 5.4 liter engine is computer controlled and therefore needs specialized tuning that is only available from a certified Ford mechanic. That is the only way for it to be done correctly.

Change the oil in the engine regularly, and always replace the filter with each oil change. New engine oil will reduce the friction on the engine's interior moving parts, and less friction means better gas mileage.

Driving the vehicle efficiently is one of the best ways to increase fuel economy. Idling wastes gas, so keep the engine running only as long as needed. Don't "hot rod" the vehicle and don't rev the engine. The faster you drive the more energy the engine needs to produce to move this heavy vehicle. Increased wind resistance at higher speeds is also a factor: Your engine burns more gas to overcome it. If applicable to your make and model vehicle, use the cruise control whenever possible.

 How to Increase MPG in a Subaru Impreza

Decrease the speed at which you drive your Impreza. Though the car's sporty handling and power tempt you to test the limits of the speedometer, excessive speed results in fewer miles per gallon. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, keeping your speed below 60 miles per hour can increase fuel efficiency between 7 and 23 percent.

Stop aggressive driving. The car's adept suspension, braking and acceleration can lead to sudden stops, weaves through traffic and forceful acceleration but all of these activities hurt fuel economy. Steady driving at a constant speed, while avoiding constant braking and subsequent acceleration, will improve gas mileage.

Switch the Impreza's engine oil to a premium or high-performance synthetic, especially if your car is turbocharged. A quality synthetic will drastically reduce the friction of internal parts, prolong the life of the engine and increase efficiency.

Inspect the Impreza's air filter, particularly if you do any off-road driving. A dirt-clogged filter will choke the engine and, according to the Federal Trade Commission, can limit fuel economy by up to 10 percent. If the filter is visibly dirty or it has not been replaced for a year or two, install a new one. Consider a high-performance filter, which will enhance the amount of air available to the Impreza's engine.

Stop hauling around excessive weight, in particular, cargo on the exterior of the car, even if your Impreza is equipped with a roof rack. Not only will the additional weight of luggage, bicycles or other sporting equipment burden the engine, it will spoil the car's aerodynamics. Weight, combined with poor aerodynamics, will decrease the Impreza's fuel efficiency.

 How to Increase MPG on a Classic VW Beetle

Check your fan operation frequently. Many VW Bugs can run hot, which puts additional, unnecessary strain on the engine. This can cause your fuel economy to dip. Check you fan operation whenever your fill your gas tank, especially in warmer weather. Make sure that there is no obstruction preventing the fan from turning freely.

Change your spark plugs regularly and make sure they are gapped correctly. A car that keeps missing can use excess fuel. Routine spark-plug care can help prevent this problem.

Shift into a higher gear as soon as safely possible. Revving your engine or driving in gear that is too low will use more fuel than smooth shifting.

Do not let your VW Bug idle for more than two minutes. If you are in a line are stopped at a traffic jam, turn off your engine.

Turn down your air conditioning. Make sure to use the recirculation feature in the climate-control system. Your car doesn't work as hard to cool recirculated air, leading to increased fuel savings.

Items you will need

  • Spark plugs