Bright blue skies, a car full of loved ones, and the opportunity to sing along to an entire musical soundtrack—summer is the perfect time to hit the road. You don’t want anything to stand in your way, least of all frequent (and pricey) stops to fill your tank. Whether you’re headed across the state or across the country, here are our top tips to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize pain at the pump.
Tip #1: Drive with care.
FuelEconomy.gov cautions against aggressive driving (quick acceleration and braking, speeding, excessive idling), stating it can lower fuel efficiency by a surprising 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Drive cautiously and use cruise control to smooth out your speed. Continuing to move at a steady speed uses less fuel than the constant give-and-take of decelerating and accelerating.
Tip #2: Remove excess weight from your car.
Try to leave anything that could be weighing down your car at home. Is your roof rack for skis only? Take it off during the warmer months. Or for canoes and camping equipment on the weekend? Take it off for your daily commute. Not only does a roof rack affect weight, but also aerodynamics—think wind resistance! A large roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by 2% to 8% in city driving and 6% to 17% on the highway, reports FuelEconomy.gov. You may also want to remove third-row seats if not in use, too, and consider keeping just the summer essentials in your trunk.
Tip #3: Choose a tire that's optimized for fuel efficiency.
Every tire has its strengths. Some tires rock at reducing road noise, while others excel at gripping icy roads. Tire manufacturer qualities such as tread patterns and build materials can have a significant impact on fuel efficiency, just as they can on a tire's noise-cutting capabilities or cold weather performance. Firestone Complete Auto Care’s Champion Fuel Fighter Tires are specially crafted with a proprietary polymer technology and low rolling-resistance, all aimed at dramatically improving fuel efficiency.
Tip #4: Check your tire pressure regularly.
Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 PSI drop in average pressure of all tires, reports FuelEconomy.gov. With more than 50% of the vehicles on the road driving on at least one under-inflated tire, the savings could really add up for everyone! Monitoring how your tires interact with the road minimizes rolling resistance and wear on tires, leading to a longer life for your tires, a safer ride for you and your friends, and less money spent on gas—all things that make a great summer road trip. Make sure your tires are at the recommended pressure and learn more about the dangers of under- and over-inflation.
Tip #5: Keep your car tuned up.
Help your car enjoy the summer months as much as you do. A few important tune-ups include having the oil and air filter changed, the fuel injectors cleaned, and dirty spark plugs replaced. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune could improve gas mileage by an average of 4%, says FuelEconomy.gov. Depending on the maintenance problem that's fixed, you could see your mileage improve by as much as 40%. Whoa.
Bonus tip! Measure your gas mileage.
Try any of the above tips and monitor your vehicle’s improvement by tracking gas mileage. Keep a small notebook in your glove box or try a digital tool. Edmunds.com road-tested four of the most popular fuel tracker apps for the iPhone, with the Fuel Economy Calculator emerging as the winner.
Whether it’s adjusting your driving habits or choosing the best services for your vehicle, our technicians are here to help you enjoy summer and stress less about the cost of fuel. We know that when your car (and money) goes farther, so do you. Stop by your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a complete vehicle inspection and get upfront pricing on fuel savvy tires, like the Champion Fuel Fighter, plus easy installation scheduling when you shop tires online—any time, any day of the week. We've got the tire brands you trust, the prices you want, and the expert service you deserve.