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Fuel Saving Tips

Shut it off and coast

I live in and around hilly terrain. I used to work early in the moring and started experimenting with ways to save fuel. I've found that, on one particular road, I can go as far as 2 miles with the engine shut off and the car in neutral. This requires caution though!. You lose power steering and eventually you can lose the power to your brakes. Also, I only do this in my manual shift car, as coasting in neutral in an automatic can damage the transmission. If you do try this be sure to do so with little/no traffic around, and mostly straight roads. Also check your owners' manual as coasting over certain speeds can be damaging as well.

posted by Nothead99 on April 5, 2011

this tip works for 17% of voting Fuelly members.

Keep Throttle Constant

Keeping the throttle plate at a constant position will do wonders for your fuel economy. This will lead to slowing up hills, and slightly higher speeds going down them, but ultimately will give you higher overall mileage. It's a big reason why cruise controls can never match a human foot for fuel economy, they are reactive instead of proactive.

posted by carthoughts on March 30, 2011

this tip works for 88% of voting Fuelly members.

deer detector for your car.

Have you ever been frustrated by that yahoo behind you checking out the inside of your tailpipe. Of course it`s at night on a dark narrow tree lined road. What could possibly go wrong!!! Just let them pass and stay behind them a good safe distance. Let THEM hit the deer that jumps out into the road. Its a known fact that a deer ,or anything else for that matter, looks better splattered on the hood of someone elses car than yours. Your insurance company will thank you for it

posted by erob914 on March 29, 2011

this tip works for 94% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't drive a mile to save a penny a gallon

In my morning commute, I keep an eye on gas prices if I need gas on the way home. While the cheapest gas in town is about two and a half miles further past my work, it doesn't make sense to make a special trip to save three or four cents a gallon. According to, my van's year round average is 19.3 mpg or 17.3 cents/mile at $3.339/gal (last fill up). Driving five extra miles, two and a half there and back, to make a special trip for the cheapest gas would cost me 86.5 cents. Saving 86.5 cents means the cheaper gas would have to be over four cents cheaper for a 20 gallon tank. It would have to be eight cents cheaper on a 10 gallon fill up. Factor in the time saved, and it's not worth it. I only fill up at the "cheap" gas station if I'm already out and driving right past it.

posted by jgibbsjr on March 27, 2011

this tip works for 98% of voting Fuelly members.

On warm days, lower windows before using A/C

On hot days with the windows rolled up, your car's interior can quickly reach high temperatures. Roll down all the windows to vent the hot air before starting your air conditioning. The outside air will also feel cooler than the hot interior. Once I've gotten to the edge of the parking lot, the interior is much cooler. Your car will become cooler quicker and your A/C compressor will not have to work as hard (saving you gas). If you are able to leave the windows rolled down a half inch while parked, then your car's interior will not be much hotter than the outside air when you return.

posted by jgibbsjr on March 27, 2011

this tip works for 87% of voting Fuelly members.

Turn the engine off at long red lights

You can save some gas by turning your engine off at long red lights or at drive thru's. In my commute I usually have to wait a few minutes at a specific stop light. I turn my engine off while waiting for the green light. I can tell when the light is about to turn green by watching the crosswalk sign. When the crosswalk sign starts blinking to not cross, then I restart the engine. Saves about two minutes of idling (at zero mpg!). I also turn off the engine while I'm waiting at a drive through like at my bank. Improves my gas mileage by at least 1mpg.

posted by jgibbsjr on March 27, 2011

this tip works for 44% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't top it up

Personally, I rarely top up my car fully. There have been other posts regarding losing weight etc., well how much do you think a full tank of petrol weighs? Fill it up half way, save weight, accelerate/decelerate easier and gain better mpg. Sure, you may have to make more trips to the pumps, but how many times do you find yourself popping out to the petrol station because you forgot to grab a pint of milk when you did the weekly shop?

posted by cjeyes on March 2, 2011

this tip works for 7% of voting Fuelly members.

Look ahead

Look well ahead in the traffic to predict when you might need to stop or slow down. This way you can avoid or minimise heavy braking then accelerating again. Not only does this save a massive amount of fuel, but also reduces wear and tear and is much safer because you notice what's going around you. You drive more smoothly, not 'fighting' your way through the traffic.

posted by dman on February 22, 2011

this tip works for 99% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't warm up

Unless you live in a very cold climate or drive an old vehicle that is 25+ years old you shouldn't need to warm up your engine. Modern engines will run fine from start with auto chokes etc. You are just wasting fuel while idling and waiting. Get in it and go! Its a good idea not to put the vehicle under heavy load right away until warmed up, but that should only take a few minutes in normal conditions.

posted by dman on February 22, 2011

this tip works for 94% of voting Fuelly members.

Dont use cruise control on hills

Cruise control is good on flat roads but on hills it is much more economical to supply more power as the car requires it letting the momentum of the car do the work as much as possible. It takes some practice!

posted by TeryTibbs on February 17, 2011

this tip works for 81% of voting Fuelly members.

Lose Weight

"Obesity costs more in fuel. The same study that found the financial impact of obesity found that nearly 1 billion extra gallons of gas are consumed each year because of the extra weight in automobiles." - So there you have it, training and keeping healthy saves fuel.

posted by Nieto on February 11, 2011

this tip works for 81% of voting Fuelly members.

Reverse Park

When you arrive home, take the time to reverse park into your garage/parking lot. Do this while the engine is already up to temperature instead of spending time in the morning reversing and maneuvering the car out while the engine is cold and consuming more fuel. It also helps if you're late to work and reduces the wear and tear of a cold gearbox shifting between reverse and forward.

posted by BenjaminWKI on February 8, 2011

this tip works for 78% of voting Fuelly members.

Slack Your Speed

When driving through hilly terrain, just let your car lose its speed while keeping your right foot still. Don't worry as you'll gain all the speed back later when going downhill. Adjust your throttle accordingly so that you don't slow down too much. It pays to also gain speed to a sufficient level before hitting the uphill so that you don't need to accelerate mid way. Do not use cruise control at all. This system will to needlessly accelerate your car when climbing up hill to obsessively keep its set speed.

posted by BenjaminWKI on February 8, 2011

this tip works for 86% of voting Fuelly members.

Manual Override Your Automatic Gearbox

Modern automatic gearboxes will not shift up until you've achieved a predetermined minimum speed. This is noticeable towards the last few gears. The upside of this is that it guarantees that your engine are at the revs when it generates sufficient torque to carry you on into the higher gear without much loss in acceleration and without consuming more fuel in the process. The downside is that the gearboxes are unable to tell when you don't need that additional torque. Like going downhill or slow cruise on a flat road, this safety program makes your engine rev higher & consume more fuel until you achieve the minimum speed before it allows the next gear change. It will always assume the worst in that you're climbing uphill and will not shift up until its certain you're fast enough. You can override this program for gearboxes with the steptronic/tiptronic ability. Just notch the gearbox into manual and shift up a gear and then return it to "D". If the gearbox kicks down a gear during or back into the original gear after the process, you're doing it too early and not yet at enough speed to save any fuel from this trick. Through trial an error, you can find a speed range where you can notch up the gear to reduce revs and save a bit of fuel without having to increase speed to get the auto gearbox to finally shift.

posted by BenjaminWKI on February 8, 2011

this tip works for 35% of voting Fuelly members.


How about when filling always fill to the same amount each time.

posted by pecstitan on January 26, 2011

this tip works for 6% of voting Fuelly members.

..avoid highway "inch-worm" effect..

..ever run into a highway slowdown which has no apparent cause?..the cause is actually that most drivers follow too closely, and when one brakes, the following drivers tend to over-brake which only further slows traffic.. ..better to learn to gauge distance by eye, leaving plenty of space between you & the vehicle in front of you (as has been mentioned in here), so that you can simply let off the gas to keep a safe distance.. ..this works even in fairly heavy stop-and-go type traffic..yes, folks will cut in front of you, but watch them!..they end up hitting their brakes 90% of the time & seldom end up going much further/faster than you will..

posted by cee on January 17, 2011

this tip works for 100% of voting Fuelly members.

Do the Math!! Save gas, waste cash?

Before you over inflate tires or stop and restart at each stop light. I suggest doing the math. How much more are you going to be spending on new tires because of accelerated ware. How much is that new starter motor going cost. Sure you might save some gas but you could burn a lot of green and for me it's my economy 1st, ecology 2nd

posted by MGTDdude on January 12, 2011

this tip works for 62% of voting Fuelly members.

Winter is bad for tire pressure

Remember that tire pressure goes down between 1/2 and 1 lb for every 10 degree drop in outside air tempurature. So for us here in the north, we lost 50 degrees in less than a week, so those tires could be down 5 pounds even if you just topped them off. Also low tires are terrible in snow.

posted by aarenz on December 20, 2010

this tip works for 87% of voting Fuelly members.

Denso Iridium Spark Plugs +0.5MPG

While many Spark Plugs out there tooting better MPG are dubious, Denso (OEM Toyota) Iridium plugs do provide a NUDGE better MPG. Although pricey, they are in (the same 1NZ-FE engine as my Scion xA w/o) in the more fuel efficient Toyota Yaris. Test data from Denso and modders suggest a very modest ~1.5% gain (eg like going from 30.0 to 30.5mpg), so don't expect a huge increase! Still, every bit helps when squeezing out those last MPG!

posted by babygdav on December 18, 2010

this tip works for 29% of voting Fuelly members.

Too poor for a $200 Scantool? Try $25!

Many Bluetooth OBDII scan tools work fine with modern smartphones. (eg. ELM327 works with OBDscope on my Nokia. Verify it'll work with your phone - many others to choose from like OBDLink, OBDKey, DIAMEX, etc on Amazon & eBay.) Easily get useful instantaneous MPG ETC with a ~$25 reader for better hypermiling!

posted by babygdav on December 18, 2010

this tip works for 89% of voting Fuelly members.

Low Rolling Resistance Eco Tires +MPG

Tirerack has an interesting chart showing a Prius outfitted with 7 tires. 50 mpg base tire, 53.8mpg for the best eco tire tested! Many are affordable (<$75 each) and some are rated 600 A B for longevity. Easily get 3-8%+ MPG with low rolling resistance tires!

posted by babygdav on December 18, 2010

this tip works for 76% of voting Fuelly members.

1/2 TANK only fillups!

Weight = Poor MPG. Lose 30lbs+ (~6lbs per gal * 1/2 of a 10 gal tank. Larger savings with bigger tank cars.) of deadweight right away! Benefit is you get more breaks to walk about, and are more conscious of driving eco.

posted by babygdav on December 18, 2010

this tip works for 18% of voting Fuelly members.

1NZ-FE Toyota Engine w/ Poor MPG?

Have a fuel injection cleaning done! Toyota has released a TSB on this issue that affects my Scion xA AND other Toyotas that use the same. Before, I'd hover around 26-29 mpg driving about town, after, easily 31-34mpg! (Really HATE Toyota for not proactively fixing these TSBs!! ESP. my Scion xA's weak AC issue!)

posted by babygdav on December 18, 2010

this tip works for 100% of voting Fuelly members.


Not advertising so not mentioning any products, but i just bought a device that plugs into your obdII and it tells me my instant mpg and avg mpg. also gives me many readings that i dont fully understand and can read codes and can reset engine light (usefull for inspections) but i have learnt a great deal about the way i drive by staring at this device, luckily didnt hit any trees on the way to work (yet) but i find it useful since i can tell what footing my car gives me the best mileage.

posted by kgarcha on December 15, 2010

this tip works for 100% of voting Fuelly members.

Use a draft text message

If you don't have a camera phone, and the gas station is out of reciept paper, just create a draft text message. I jot down my odo reading, trip miles since last fuel up, price, date, and where I gas'd up.

posted by thorxes on December 14, 2010

this tip works for 93% of voting Fuelly members.

Join Fuelly!!

Ever since joining this website just over a year ago I have become way more conscious of my driving habits and how far I can go on one tank of gas! I drive slower, coast more, time red lights and make sure my tires are fully inflated (or a few pounds over). Anyone who wants to save money on gas and get better fuel economy just needs to sign up here! I have gotten rid of my leased Mercedes diesel and starting this week am driving my wifes minivan and I guarantee the average fuel economy will get way better now that I am driving it. My wife has a lead foot and doesn't understand the concept of coasting!

posted by SummitSonata on December 7, 2010

this tip works for 96% of voting Fuelly members.

Pay no attn to the man behind the curtain.

When driving, I tend to pay fairly little attention to what the person directly in front of me is doing. Instead I try to look through his windows and watch the person in front of him (even further when I'm in a truck). Also, when I see the car that's two cars ahead of me step on the brake, I usually simply lift off the gas and start slowing down before the person in front of me notices in some instances. In cases of minor speed changes this improves my gas mileage because I don't have to make up for excessive momentum losses caused by over-braking.

posted by mpickles on December 5, 2010

this tip works for 96% of voting Fuelly members.

Back in early

When parking, it's always best to face outwards so that you do less manoeuvering when the engine is cold. If you can't find a 'drive through' spot to drive in one side and out the other, reverse in when you park while the engine is warm.

posted by PaulWay on December 4, 2010

this tip works for 75% of voting Fuelly members.

Coasting is your friend

Coasting as far as safely possible before coming to a stop saves me more gas than anything else. Many modern engines will either cut off the flow of fuel or significantly reduce the flow of fuel to the engine if you coast longer than a couple of seconds. In addition to saving gas, losing at least 1/4 to 1/3 of your speed by coasting before coming to a stop significantly reduces wear on your brakes, keeping even more cash in your pocket.

posted by Sparky12 on November 11, 2010

this tip works for 94% of voting Fuelly members.

AC + FAN, circulate inside air to save fuel

In hot climates, and when entering a hot car, open the windows, start the car, turn on the AC in coolest mode, medium fan speed. After a mile or two, turn off the AC back to FAN. The fan will for a few seconds to a minute and some, still blow cold air, due to the cooling circuit in the car still being cold. As it slowly warms up and you start to feel warm, turn on the AC again. Do this FAN routine for short trips,and try to set the AC to fan when you're about a minute away from your destination. In many cases (when it's hot outside) it is better to circulate the air inside a car. Circulating hot air from outside in the car would make the AC less effective, and could potentially suck in a lot of car exhaust (especially when waiting in front of stoplights, or in traffic jams). When the weather is colder, you might benefit from using the outside air through the blowers, or just turning down a window.

posted by ProDigit on November 3, 2010

this tip works for 67% of voting Fuelly members.