How to Increase Your Car’s Fuel Mileage: Part 1

Credit: Santeri Viinamäki
Home » How to Increase Your Car’s Fuel Mileage: Part 1

Optimise Your Driving Habits to Increase Mileage

1. Use cruise control

Cruise control is especially important when you are driving on the highway.

It helps you to maintain constant speed thereby saving unnecessary fuel consumption.

Remember that every time you press the acceleration pedal or the braking pedal you will be interrupting the transmission system which will lead to more fuel consumption.

Some power users prefer not to use cruise control on hilly routes. Cruise control will power you up the hill at the speed limit forcing you to brake more on the downhill.  If the route is hilly you may want to travel below the speed limit on the uphill and then use gravity on the downhill to get you back to the safe speed limit.

2. Maintain an even speed

When you tell someone to drive more efficiently they often just start driving slower. As any F1 driver will tell you slow is not always the most efficient way to go.

In fact slow speeds are amongst the least efficient and many cars will actually improve economy as they speed up.  Up until a certain point that is – usually around 50 mph (80 kph) roughly.

Beyond that speed, aerodynamic drag kicks in and your car can’t fight the physics so going faster as you drive, the more air your car has to displace. This can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 33%.

On freeways and highways it’s a better idea to stick to the speed limit. Save fuel and allow more reaction time for safer driving.

3. Accelerate smoothly

Your car’s engine will be most efficient when you accelerate gently because the revolutions per minute are best achieved slowly until they pick.  Try and stay below 2,500 RPMs, in general.

If you are driving a manual transmission car, avoid shift into higher gears. Being in the biggest gear possible will generally save you fuel as a rule and try to avoid being in the low gears for too long.

4. Minimise braking

Obviously braking is a great idea!  If you need to brake, please do!  But what we mean is that you ought to  anticipate the road ahead in order to minimise your need to brake in the first place.  Try to avoid a stop-start driving style.

Why?  You burn fuel to get your car up to speed and then braking is literally turning that money into heat.  If you can anticipate the obstacles ahead you can take your foot off the gas and just reduce speed slowly through coasting.

Ideally by the time you’ve got to the obstacle or red light it’s changed to green or cleared up and you can accelerate to a safe speed again.

Coasting is a cheaper way to decelerate

Accelerating from a rolling start uses much less fuel than accelerating from a complete stand still (and reduces journey time) so again – it’s a win win and helps you consume less fuel.

5. Minimise idling

Idling wastes fuel because it gets you nowhere!

If you drive in extremely cold conditions, it can be advisable to allow the engine to idle for a few minutes before you start driving, but often idling can be reduced or avoided.

First try and plan your trip before you turn the engine on.  Once in the car an extra layer can keep you warm if its cold.  If you’re killing time on a hot day in the air conditioning, considering parking and heading into an air conditioned cafe.

If you are looking to warm up your car, the best way to achieve this is to drive your car steadily until it reaches its optimal operating temperature.

6. Find your car’s sweet spot

The concept of the engine’s sweet spot is a fundamental point when you are trying to establish the best speed for fuel efficiency.

GOFAR helps you to find your car engine’s sweet spot visually and then guides you on driving efficiently. This saves on fuel and reduces wear on your brakes and vehicle components.

7. Use your car’s overdrive

If you’re using an automatic transmission car, the overdrive functionality will be enabled on the “D” shifter.

In some car models, it will be indicated as “D2”. This functionality is especially important when trying to brake downhill or when the engine is unable to proceed uphill at regular speed.

When you drive at high speeds, try using the overdrive gear so that you can save on fuel.

Credit: KRoock74

8. Don’t drive around looking for a closer parking spot

People try to compete for the open spot in front of a store or an entertainment centre.

When you drive around looking for that spot, you are just wasting fuel.

Instead, look for a spot in the half-empty parking lot farther down instead of burning fuel for nothing.  A short walk is good for your health!

9. Maintain a safe distance with the car in front

This safety advice is also vital for increasing your car’s mileage.

The closer you are to the car in front of you the more you will need to brake and accelerate and the less time you’ll have to do so.

If you maintain a safe distance, all you need to do is to coast and allow the car in front of you to drive further ahead without changing your speed.

And it’s not just helping you – it helps everyone behind you too because traffic is really a team sport.  If we all drive steadily then we all go a little quicker.  If you get one person in the traffic column who’s driving in a jerky stop -tart fashion, it affects all of us and slows us all down. Drive smoothly.

10. Avoid turns and stops

If you’re really fine-tuning a route – for example a regular commute that’s worth optimising – then you can plan your route to avoid traffic lights and congested traffic or to avoid big hills.

11. Avoid using the air conditioner

If you are driving in the city at lower speeds then you could just roll down the windows.

However, studies have shown that when driving on the highway, where the speeds are higher, rolling down the windows creates extra drag which is bad for fuel efficiency.

Roll up the windows, and put on the air conditioner when on the highway to increase your car’s aerodynamics.

If you’re trying to control how much fuel your car consumes, you need to monitor how hard your engine works.

Critical parameters to monitor include the air conditioning, acceleration, and speed.

 Plan Ahead to Increase Your Car’s Mileage

1. Combine your trips

Keep a list of all the things that you need to accomplish in a day, and then try to accomplish all of them in one trip.

You will consume less petrol than somebody who drove all day in order to complete all tasks.

2. Choose your route carefully

The more vehicles on the route you choose, the more likely you will need to brake and accelerate.

Choose your route with the least traffic as this will enable you to utilise cruise control better.

Use highways instead of local city streets.

3. Maintain a good log of your mileage

Every dollar you spend on fuel will count.

If you regularly drive four business purposes, the internal revenue service will require that you produce sufficient evidence for business deductions.

Work expenses are tax deductible and will go a long way in saving the amount of money you use on fuel.

Danny Adams sitting in a chair with a laptop

Danny Adams

Co-founder of GOFAR and with a Computer Science background from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Aerospace, Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (Honours), UNSW. I want to transform data from cars into useful services so -> drivers save time & money -> emissions fall -> Australian roads are safer. So we built an ATO-compliant logbook app called GOFAR. I write to help you understand how to use GOFAR to maximise business travel. Reach out via

Related Posts

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice from GOFAR. We recommend consulting with an independent legal, taxation, or financial expert to ensure the information is applicable to your specific situation. Please note that relevant regulations and laws may evolve over time.
Check Car Buy Now