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How to Increase Fuel Mileage for a RAV4

by Arthur Barnhouse

Since its introduction in the mid-1990s, the Toyota RAV4 has consistently managed to achieve good fuel economy ratings for a small SUV. Depending on the engine type and transmission, the RAV4 is capable of up to 25 mpg in city driving and up to 31 mpg on the highway, according to MPGoMatic.com. If you own a RAV4, however, you must not take your vehicle's fuel efficiency for granted. There are always ways to improve gas mileage and, in so doing, save your hard-earned money.

Remove all extra cargo from your RAV4. The more weight you haul around, the more gas you're going to burn. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission, just an additional 100 lb. will decrease your gas mileage by 2 percent. Also, you need to uninstall any parts you've used to accessorize your Toyota, including larger tires. Go back to a purely stock RAV4.

Perform maintenance on your RAV4 at regular intervals. A vehicle that runs smoothly will, of course, be more fuel efficient. This means that you must change your engine oil approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and check to make sure that your tires are fully inflated. You'll also need to take your RAV4 to a mechanic for a yearly tune-up. Spark plugs, air and fuel filters, and transmission fluids all need to be checked and changed accordingly to provide optimum gas mileage.

Drive smart. While this might, at first, seem like an easy task to accomplish, it's more difficult than you may think. It demands that, as a driver, you be constantly aware of how you're operating your RAV4. Sudden bursts of acceleration, harsh braking and traveling a mere 5 mph over 60 mph will all greatly reduce your gas mileage, notes the U.S. Department of Energy. Anticipate your stops, accelerate slowly and use cruise control whenever possible on long expanses of flat highway.

Do not place anything on the roof of your RAV4, even if it is equipped with a roof rack. Whether it's a kayak, a bike or just luggage, it will ruin your SUV's aerodynamics and have a negative impact on your gas mileage, warns the Federal Trade Commission.

Make as few trips as possible. If you have multiple errands to run during the day, try to accomplish all of them on a single trip. Plan ahead, and cover as many stops as possible in the least distance. Also, if at all possible, try to avoid areas that tend to have traffic problems and multiple stoplights.

Turn off your RAV4 if you find yourself stuck in traffic or in a long line at the drive-thru. While your engine is running it's burning gas, but you're not actually going anywhere. Obviously, this reduces how many miles you can get per gallon of gas.

About the Author

Arthur Barnhouse has written numerous short stories, contributed content to various websites and was an invited speaker at a university symposium on creative writing. He began writing in 2002 and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Barnhouse has driven across the United States numerous times and draws upon his travel experiences in his writing.

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