How to Get Better Fuel Economy Right Now

By Tori T.

Getting the best fuel economy possible is on pretty much everyone’s mind right now, whether you’re going the hybrid route or sticking with conventional technology. What are some ways to maximize mpg? Glad you asked – we’ve got tips galore:

1. Chill. Traffic, distracted drivers around you and running late can get the best of each of us, then next thing we know, we’re accelerating and braking rapidly, weaving and having false starts at signals. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) website, says aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by a whopping 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent in the city.  Aim for smooth acceleration and braking.

2. Empty. Do you need to lug all that stuff around in your vehicle at all times? The DOE estimates that an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mpg by up to 2 percent. Minimize carrying unnecessary weight.

3. Idle. Don’t, actually. Shut off your engine if you’re parked rather than sitting there idling. It could burn a quarter to half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on your engine size and if the A/C is on, according to the DOE. On the other hand, don’t keep shutting your engine off and turning it on as an alternate solution; you could wear out the starter.

4. Tires. There's a straight line between mpg and tires. When they’re properly inflated, you can improve your fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent, according to the DOE, while underinflation could lower your mpg by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires, not to mention cause the tires to wear more quickly. Check your vehicle’s door sticker for minimum cold tire inflation pressure.

5. Accessorize. Minimize the use of heated seats, A/C and other power-drawing accessories. These draw electrical energy, which comes from the high-voltage battery via the DC/DC converter. All energy used will have to be replaced either by running the engine or collecting energy while braking if you're in a hybrid.

6. Slow. Another form of aggressive driving – speeding – can be a big fuel waster. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Reducing your speed from 65 to 55 mph can improve your fuel economy by up to 15 percent, and reducing your speed from 70 to 55 mph can improve your fuel economy by up to a whopping 25%. So what’s your hurry?

7. Cruise. Using cruise control helps you save fuel in two ways. First, it controls your maximum speed, which can help you stay below 60 mph. Second, it maintains a constant speed, which means you won’t be pumping extra fuel into your engine to accelerate. Many modern vehicles will let you monitor your mpg while you’re driving. You should aim to set your cruise control at your vehicle’s most fuel-efficient speed, as long as it’s at or below the legal limit.
rich 07/11/2014
I have a 2014 Ford CMax Se model. Live in north east pa. with plenty of hills and valleys. My mpg is 50.
Eric W 08/17/2013
We consistently get over 47 mpg and only have 2600 miles on our 3-week old Fusion Hybrid. On many of our 20 mile runs we've gotten 60 mpg!  We are mostly driving 45 mph or slower with 5 to 10 miles between stoplights so this may help.  We also do not speed and slowly accelerate.  Can't wait for it to break in!
Charlie 08/16/2013
Driving conditions and habits makes a big difference. Type of fuel will also affect mileage. Almost every gas station in the areas of Texas that I drive provide 10% alcohol regular. I do not know how EPA tests are done, whether with straight gas or 10%. I believe actual MPG will be less with the 10% blend. It certainly is with the 85% ethanol blends. Type of terrain will affect also. Flat terrain is going to be better than hilly. Average speed makes a big difference, I get 33 MPG on long haul interstate trips at 70-75 (legal in Texas), jumps to 42 mpg at 60, and probably even better if I drop to 55, stay in the right lane, enjoy the scenery and ignore everyone passing me by.(locally and long haul, the actual time on road is not that much different between 75 and 60) Work commute  (32 miles rural/highway each way) I get 50-51 mpg. Anything electric reduces mileage, I have an Energi plug in hybrid, AC, window defroster and headlights cut 4-5 miles of initial battery only distance. If I can get building management to install a charging station at work I expect I would get 60+ MPG on my commutes. I also use the various feedback display options to see how changes in driving affect mileage.
Denise 08/16/2013
I am getting great mpg with my Fusion. I am just over 3000 miles and have consistently run around 45 mpg. I just reset the average mpg and am getting around 55 mpg. I think it makes a difference on the type of driving you do. If there's a lot of interstate driving at 75 mph then the average really drops. Some of my local trips I'm getting around 85 mpg.
Keith 08/15/2013
I am getting around 44 mpg by paying attention to taking my foot off the accelerator and letting the electric power kick in earlier than it normally would have. It works especially well on downhill sections of the road.
Robert F 08/15/2013
Robert:I have a new Ford fusion and I live in a hilly area in rural Maine 
I adjusted my driving by watching the the gage in Engage mode and drive watching the electric motor operation. I get 52.5 MPG constantly. I even checked by doing a old fashion way, fill the tank and divide by gallons and yes 52.5 MPG. And I'm not driving like a old fart
scott lovaasen 08/15/2013
Scott L. I purchased a 2013 ford fusion hybrid in June of this year. I know have just over 2000 mile on it. I put it to a mileage test last week on a 160 mi. trip back from our lake cabin. this route was on two lane and four lane highways with speed limits 35mph. to 65mph. with most of the trip was at the 65mph. zone. The first 60 miles of the trip I held the cruise at 60 mph and got 47.5 mpg. The rest of the trip I drove at 62 mph under electric vehicle and 64mph when the gas engine was on. I would drive under the gas power until I had 3/4 charge on the battery and the drop the cruise control to 62mph and it would go to electric vehicle until the engine need to charge the battery. By doing this I got 46.0 mpg. for the rest of the trip. I am very satisfied with this vehicle.
Terri K 08/15/2013
2013 Fusion Hybrid - can't even come close to 49 mpg - average is 34.  Have 5,000 miles on the car.  Don't understand how Ford can claim 49 mpg
Bob 07/16/2013
If there are 15 comments where are the other 12?
Chief 07/14/2013
I have had my fusion hybrid for 5 months and have already put on 7800 miles.  After the car passed the 3000 mile mark, the gas mileage consistantly improved.  Now the average gas mileage for a tank of gas is between 45 and 49 mpg depending on driving conditions.  Everyone that complains about poor mileage has not driven their car beyond the break in time.  All mechanical devices require a break in period for optimal performance. 
CAGood 05/08/2013
I must agree I love the car but I am not impressed with the MPG I have never seen the 47mpg I have less than 3,000 miles on it. I have changed my driving and breaking I use the ECO cruise I generally drive without the radio and the last 700 miles without the heated seats! Ford has NOT lived up the it's promise my average has been between 36-42MPG, although a couple times 43 has shown up for a short trip but inconsistent. Must say the elderly folks I take to appointments have found it ez to get into and out of and appreciate the lights on the floor and doors at night
James B 04/24/2013
2005 jetta diesel 45 miles to the gal. 75mile per hour think the hybrid has a long way to go.
Robert 02/26/2013
Bob Carol-Our C-Max avg. 36.5mpg for 2550 miles from Mi to Daytona for Race week & back driving 4 miles higher than allowed on X way (e.g. 74mph). Note: fully loaded (about 400 additional pounds beside us 2). Got better mileage in the Smokies getting about 42 mpg since gas engine was off going down hills. Lost about .75 mpg for trip driving in heavy rain and snow storm tonight for last 4 hours or would of been 37.25mpg.
If you use Econ Cruise which we did for whole trip, it is about 1.5 miles better than regular cruise. In Florida for the week got 42.8mpg without any electric on since it was a present 68F to 84F for Race week with windows partly opened. Previously up North we only average around 33mpg because of the electrical demand -heated seats, etc. and appears gas engine must warm up for about 8 to 10 min. depending on how cold before going to electric mode. Driving at high speeds Gas engine with electrical assist are on together. Note: C-Max can pass and get into traffic quite fast. Quite happy with C-Max - one con if sitting in back seat bring extra cushion - to hard for long trips. Presently surprised at quality sound of std. Radio. We our leasing at 24,000 miles a year and if purchased price is under $30,000 lease fee is only 10 cents a mile and Ford will buy back mileaged to 19,500 miles.
Steve 02/25/2013
Good article! Our 2 Fusion Hybrids are amazing at fuel economy. One very important factor in there types of cars not covered in the article is the seasonal temperature of your location. Batteries and your car engine love warm climates. We average 52 mpg in our 2010 Fusion's during the Sumner while in the winter it drops to 38 mpg.
Thaddeus O 02/06/2013
Good Luck, We purchased a C-Max and we're getting 29.5MPG. I'm very disappointed. We could have saved thousands and just got a Focus and had better gas mileage.
JJMJRDEC J 12/28/2012
body weight is a critical factor also the wheels do not have enough free rotation,to much drag should be designed to free wheel similar to a bike. one long shot idea at body reduction is to perforate entire body with holes ,then install plastic over all perforated parts. cost is a factor and also impact forces must be study.
Craig 12/05/2012
One word "DIESEL" come on Mulally, you've been talking diesel for years put up or shut up
Lisa George 12/04/2012
I got a Ford C-Max 3 weeks ago. I absolutely love the car, everything about it.......EXCEPT the gas mileage has been very disappointing. I am a type A personality, and have been pretty compulsive about using good driving habits, and have only been able to achieve 36 mpg average so far. Any suggestions on what I can do to increase my mpg.......36 mpg is a far cry from the stated 47mpg as advertised! (I have paid careful attention to coasting, and slow easy starts and braking, and avoid fast accelerations at all times!)
Marilyn 11/12/2012
I've had my C-Max for just over a month and I am getting 42.8 mpg. I have gotten it up to 43.2 but it won't stay there. How could I increase it? I've heard that the gas changes in the winter months and that will decrease the mpg. Thoughts, suggestions?
You can shave at least 1-2mpg off your mpg if you use E10 as the EPA tests with 100 gasoline. I have been averaging about 42mpg with normal driving in my C-Max SEL.
Roman S 10/23/2012
Carol, a lot of website say if a hybrid is driven using some of these tips it should exceed the EPA estimates. Yet, so far everyone is reporting MPG for C-Max of about 40mpg or less. No one seems to be getting 47. I just put a deposit on one, so hopefully it'll be worth it.
Carol P 10/19/2012
It's all true. I changed my driving habits when I bought my C-Max two weeks ago and I have reached 40.5 mpg so far. I challenge myself every day to increase the number! I drive 100 miles to and from work daily.
rob 10/11/2012
Thanks !
Gary L 10/10/2012
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How to Get Better Fuel Economy Right Now
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