Improving personal fuel economy

Transportation accounts for about 40 percent of our total use of fossil fuels. We have many opportunities to reduce the fossil fuel consumption through better driving, vehicle maintence, and by opting for transit, biking and walking whenever possible.

Recommended actions are listed briefly below. Click on the links for more detail.

Driving habits

  • Drive sensibly – Avoid aggressive driving and rapid stops: save 5 to 33%
  • Observe the speed limit – Every 5 mph increment over 60 mph burns roughly 7% more fuel
  • Clean out your car – Every 100 pounds removed from your trunk saves you 2%
  • Remove ski & bike racks – Roof racks can reduce mileage by 5 to 20%
  • Avoid idling – Idling vehicles get 0 mpg. Turn off the engine every time you park
  • Use cruise control – Use cruise on the highway, but consider turning it off in hills
  • Use overdrive – Use the highest gear whenever possible to save on gas and maintenance
  • Combine trips – Multiple errands on one trip saves time, money, and wear and tear
  • Commuting options – Avoid rush hour, drive your most efficient car, carpool, or telecommute
  • Buy a more fuel efficient vehicle – An increase from 20 mpg to 30 mpg can save as much as $3,000 over five years

Vehicle maintenance

  • Keep tires properly inflated – Properly inflated tires can save over 3%
  • Buy fuel-efficient tires – New low-rolling-resistance tire designs can save 4 to 8%
  • Keep the engine tuned – Is the “check engine” light on? You could be wasting 4 to 40%
  • Use the recommended grade of motor oil - Wrong oil grades can cost 2%

Alternatives to driving

  • Ride your bike – It’s fun, it’s easy, and the fuel and parking are both free
  • Ride the bus – Arrive relaxed, don’t worry about parking, and save wear and tear on your car
  • Walk – Walking is healthy for you and fosters healthy communities

Resources

2016 Fuel Economy Guide

Download the 2016 Fuel Economy Guide, published by the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency

  • Fuel economy
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Projected annual fuel costs
  • Top 10 lists for most efficient vehicles
  • Best-in-class lists for many varieties

Visit FuelEconomy.gov for online fuel info for vehicle model years dating back to 1984. The site is updated weekly to include new model year vehicles.

  • Find-and-Compare Cars Database
  • MyMPG tool
  • Road trip fuel cost calculator
  • Gas mileage tips

In this section

Real-life examples

  • Example 1: Roof racks
  • Example 2: Commuting options
  • Example 3: Fuel-efficient tires
  • Example 4: Vehicle speed

Driving tips to
improve fuel economy

Maintenance tips to
improve fuel economy

Alternatives to driving

Transportation Case Studies

How Eagle County cut fleet costs and fuel consumption

Nitrogen is nifty for holding tire pressure

Retrofitted school buses save fuel, electricity, time, emissions