Summer has arrived! Americans from coast-to-coast are taking advantage of the warmer weather, school breaks, and vacation days to visit family or explore the many destinations and marvels of our nation. Whether driving to your local airport to catch a flight or through several states for a road trip, the Biden Administration and the Department of Energy (DOE) want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle this summer. That’s why we’re sharing a list of tips and tricks for drivers with gas-powered vehicles to stay cool and maximize efficiency to help save a little at the pump.   

Maximizing Efficiency

  • Aggressive driving (speeding and rapid acceleration and braking) can lower your gas mileage by up to 30% at highway speeds and up to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Driving sensibly (smooth acceleration and braking) is safer and may save more than gas money.
  • Following the speed limit can help retain your vehicle’s available gas for longer, as average gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Each 5 mph over 50 mph is the same as paying an additional $0.34 per gallon for gas.
  • Removing unnecessary extra weight from your car can increase your miles per gallon. For example, hauling items on your car’s roof makes your car less aerodynamic. Using rear-mount cargo boxes or trays increase gas efficiency and reduce fuel usage by much less — up to 2% during city driving and up to 5% on the highway.
  • Turn off your car when it is parked, as idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour.
  • Using cruise control during highway driving will help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, limit your gas output. 

Driving in Hot Weather

  • Drive with the windows open for a short time before using the air conditioning. This allows hot air to release from the cabin, which puts less demand on the air conditioning system and will help your vehicle cool down faster.
  • Lower the windows in your vehicle when driving at lower speeds, and use the air conditioning system when driving at highway speeds.
  • Park in shaded and covered areas, or use a sunshade to prevent a steamy cabin. 

Maintaining Your Vehicle and Proper Fueling Regimen

  • Maintaining your vehicle’s engine health can lead to serious improvements in your fuel efficiency. Properly maintained vehicles have better overall gas milage by an average of 4%, saving the driver approximately $0.19 per gallon.
  • Taking your car in to fix a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, is not only a necessity for safe driving but could improve your mileage by at least 40%.
  • Keeping your tires properly inflated could improve your gas milage by an average of 0.6% and potentially as much as 3%. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.2% for every pound per square inch drop in average pressure.
  • By ensuring that you use your vehicle’s recommended grade of motor oil, you could save $0.05 to $0.10 for every gallon of gasoline.

With higher prices at the pump and more vehicle options to choose from, auto manufacturers are noticing more Americans are making the switch to electric vehicles. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, do your research as you consider your purchase to determine if purchasing a battery electric vehicle, hybrid electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is the right fit for your family. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles can reduce a driver’s costs dramatically by reducing how many times you need to go to the pump.

Remember, improved gas mileage is good for your vehicle and your pocketbook. DOE wants to help you and all drivers maximize their vehicle’s energy efficiency to preserve the gas in your tank.

As you plan summer road trips or simply commute around your community, we encourage you to use the tips above and visit fueleconomy.gov for more information on how to use your vehicle more efficiently.