Even if you drive a car that boasts decent mpg, you probably still grimace when you pull up to the gas pump and see the price per gallon is approximately a pound of flesh and part of your soul. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to get the most out of every drop of gas.

Take Care of Your Car

Show your car a little love. It will love you back. Some simple maintenance can improve fuel economy.

  • Replace the air filter. This can improve efficiency by up to 10 percent, according to goodhousekeeping.com.
  • Get your tires aligned, since misaligned tires make your engine work harder.
  • A healthy engine is a less thirsty one, so take your machine in for a tune up.
  • Underinflated tires increase strain on the engine, so check your tire pressure about once a month and fill in air as needed.
  • When it’s time for an oil change, use an oil that has “energy conserving” on the performance label. That means the oil has friction-reducing additives.

Drive Gently

During good weather, it is tempting to turn the highway into a personal race track, but, for the sake of your wallet, refrain. Use these driving tips to save fuel:

  • Drive slowly. Fifty-five mph is the average ideal speed for fuel economy, although the number varies between vehicles.
  • Lay off the brakes. Anticipate when you’ll need to stop and let your car coast for a while before you use the brakes.
  • Don’t idle. Newer cars don’t need to warm up before they start moving. In fact, they’ll warm up faster if they are moving. If you think you won’t go anywhere for a minute or two, turn off the engine.

Fill Up Wisely

fill up wisely

Image via Flickr by Upupa4me

There are even some tips you can apply to save on fuel while you’re making that dreaded trip to the gas station.

  • Do not top off the tank. Any gas you try to put in after the pump automatically shuts off will properly seep out anyway.
  • To protect against excessive evaporation, make sure you close the gas cap securely.
  • Use the lowest octane gas that is safe for your vehicle. Premium gasoline doesn’t really do anything for fuel economy.

Other Tips to Save

Here are some other practices you might try in order to get the most out of every tank:

  • Keep your cool in the summer by choosing air conditioning on the highway and rolling your windows down when you’re in town. Air conditioning increases fuel consumption, but it is more efficient than having the windows open at higher speeds. Open windows increase drag on the car.
  • Park in the shade to decrease gas evaporation.
  • A dangerous but effective way to save on fuel is drafting. Driving 100 feet behind a semi truck decreases drag on your vehicle. The closer you get, the more you save on fuel. Do it at your own risk.

The best way to save on fuel? Drive less. Okay, that is not always an option, but applying the above tips can help you save on gas no matter how often you find yourself behind the wheel.