How To Save Money On Gas
July 22, 2022
Tips and Tricks To Improve Fuel Economy On Your Off-Road Vehicle
You don't need us to tell you that fuel prices are out of control right now, but even if they weren't, it's a safe bet that most of us would rather spend our money on cool upgrades rather than igniting our hard-earned dollar bills on fire and shoving them back into the gas tank. There's hope, though, as there are plenty of things you can do right now to save yourself some money between trips to the pump.
Lately we've been doing some experimenting on different tactics to get the best fuel economy possible, and a few things have made some slight improvements. One improvement itself might not make a huge difference, but combining several fuel-savings tactics together can really add up in savings. So, today we want to show you some of our favorite tactics you can use to improve your fuel economy, and many of them don't cost any additional money to do.
Gas Money Saving Tactic 1: Run Tires With Optimal Air Pressure
One of the biggest gas guzzlers out there are the tires you run on your vehicle, and for several reasons. For starters, most of us are running larger than stock tires without regearing our axles - naturally, bigger tires will be heavier, and if we've upgraded to larger tires, the chances are that they're gonna have a lot more aggressive tread on them as well.
Most of us are fully aware that a bigger tire is going to lower our gas mileage, but we're okay with the trade off. But now that we have these big, aggressive tires, what can we do to increase our fuel economy with them?
This is where tire maintenance becomes more critical than ever to save money on gas, with the most important thing you can do being to run tires at the most optimal pressures possible. The tricky part, though, is that every vehicle is unique and your optimal tire pressure to achieve the best possible fuel economy might be slightly different than someone else's. It's certainly situational and circumstantial - for example, the more weight you're carrying or holding, the more air pressure you'll need to run your tires. There are a few tactics you can do to visually and physically inspect your tires to see if your air pressure is optimal, mentioned below.
Reduce Sidewall Bulge
The first tactic here is to reduce the sidewall bulge of your tire. Reducing sidewall bulge, or how much the tire squats, reduces the size of the footprint of the contact patch on the road. The less contact patch there is, the easier it is for that tire to roll down the highway, and of course the engine doesn't have to work as hard to roll the tires - that takes less fuel than if the engine has to work harder.
Check Tire Pressure Regularly
A good part of tire maintenance is checking the tire pressures regularly, and if you're careful about it you should try to keep tabs on your tires' inflation level every week or so. This way, you'll be able to make sure that your tires are always running the way they should to get the best fuel economy possible.
Don't Overinflate Your Tires
Be careful not to overinflate your tires when trying to improve your fuel economy either - too much air pressure will lead to premature tire wear, just like running without enough air pressure can.
Rotate Your Tires Often
It may take some testing, and with an improved tire maintenance plan to improve fuel economy comes an increase in tire rotations as well to keep your tires running at peak performance. We said earlier that these fuel economy increase tactics wouldn't cost you any money, but if you're rotating your tires regularly and checking the air pressure in them often, but still noticing some premature wear, you may need to have an alignment done to your suspension or have your drivetrain components checked for looseness. If that's the case, it's best to have these things taken care of regardless of whether you're trying to save on gas or not.
Gas Money Saving Tactic 2: Reduce The Weight and Increase the Aerodynamics Of Your Vehicle
The next gas-saving tactic on our list is something that we've already touched on, and that's the weight of our vehicles and how much excess weight we might be carrying around with us that we don't need to be. For example, now that it's summertime you don't really need to carry all your recovery gear around with you, so you can just throw all your stuff in a tote bag and have everything in one convenient place for when you need it. All told, that might weigh about 50 pounds - that might not sound like a lot, but imagine if that one tote saved you its weight in bills each month. It probably doesn't, but having this kind of mentality can really help you go further between trips to the pump.
The same can be said for exterior accessories that create more wind drag. Do we really need a roof top tent on our rigs to drive to the office every day, or a roof rack or cargo basket, or the huge light bar that sits on top of your windshield? How often do these get used on a daily basis? Don't get us wrong - it looks cool as hell, but imagine all the extra stuff you could buy with all the gas money you save by keeping your vehicle only hauling around the weight that it needs to carry.
All told, shedding some weight and pounds and improving the aerodynamics of your vehicle as best as possible is a great way to improve your gas mileage. Jeeps are the exception here - it's basically hopeless as far as their construction goes, but every little bit still counts.
Read More: Secrets To Know Before Off-Roading
Gas Money Saving Tactic 3: Drive Responsibly
So what else can we do to improve fuel economy? Well, if you thought that taking things out of your vehicle often is going to be a challenge, this one will be very difficult if not impossible for the majority of us. But it may just be that the number one tactic to improve our vehicle's fuel economy is just driving like a normal person.
We know, we know - we can hear the gasps of disbelief and feel the ill-willed stares right now. But all jokes aside, slowing down and driving conservatively can increase your fuel economy by anywhere from 15 to 30 percent, according to AlternateFuelsDataCenter.gov.
So, imagine if we didn't accelerate as hard, if we used our cruise control at the posted speed limits or at least close to them, and stopped passing everyone we caught up to. Imagine getting 20% more mileage out of a tank of gas - if it costs you $100 every time you fill up and you started saving 20%, that means you would save $20 on every fillup - that's a free tank of gas every five fill-ups, just for driving sensibly. Combine that with regular air pressure checks in the tires, reducing your vehicle's weight, and possibly improving the aerodynamics, and the savings get even better.
What Else Can You Do To Save Gas Money?
That's not all, though - there are additional little odds and ends that can help you save on gas, which we've listed in the bullet points below:
- Make sure your engine's air filter is clean. If it isn't, replace it. Or, install a cold air intake on your make and model.
- Make sure the spark plugs are swapped out per manufacturer guidelines.
- Install a high-flow muffler or exhaust.
- Research if there is a dynamic code upgrade for your vehicle that enhances the fuel flow transmission shift points and ignition advance.
- Use a fuel system cleaner if you want to get technical, then have your fuel injectors flow tested to make sure they're running at optimal pressures and aren't worn out.
These last several suggestions will cost some coin, but most of them are just maintenance items and should be done as required anyways. Either way, whether it's a maintenance item or just some easy modifications, these things all play a part in helping your engine work as effortlessly as possible. And in the end, it'll save you a bunch of money at the pump.
Shop Wheels, Tires and Suspension For Off-Road Vehicles at TrailBuilt Off-Road
All that money you're saving can easily be reinvested in our store for a new set of wheels and tires, or that suspension lift you've always wanted, or even just some camping gear to use on the weekends, because now you know how to save on gas to help afford those weekend getaways. Be sure to check out our store and get all the new wheels, tires, suspension kits, and accessories you need, and hit us up at any time if you have any questions. We'll see you out on the trails!