Save Money on Gas: Tips for Better Gas Mileage & Fuel Economy

These gas-saving tips will make a noticeable difference in your fuel costs.

Why spend more at the gas pump when you can easily spend less? Follow these simple tips and you'll see a noticeable difference in your fuel costs. The savings are based on driving 20,000 miles per year, in a car that gets 20 mpg, with gasoline priced at $3.75 a gallon.

Save $900 by keeping your tires at the right pressure

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Change spark plugs before they're due

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Save $350 by changing your air filter early and often

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Save $177.50 by keeping your car aligned

If your tires are bowed out of alignment by just .017 in., it's the equivalent of dragging your tire sideways for 102 miles for every 20,000 you drive. That’ll cost you $187.50 a year in wasted gas. It will wear your tires faster, costing you $70 more a year.

Here’s an easy way to check your alignment without taking your car in to the shop. Buy a tread depth gauge ($2) and measure the tread depth on both edges of each tire (rear tires too). If one side of the tire is worn more than the other, your car needs to be aligned. An alignment costs about $80, so you'll still save $177.50 the first year alone.

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Lead foot = light wallet

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Replace a broken or missing spoiler

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Speed kills—your gas mileage and your wallet

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Replace your oxygen sensor(s) before the light goes on

Oxygen sensors monitor the efficiency of combustion by tracking the amount of oxygen remaining in the exhaust. But they degrade over time and that can cost you up to 15 percent in gas mileage. When they fail, the computer lights up your "service engine soon" light, forcing you to incur an $80 diagnostic fee. On pre-1996 vehicles, replace your oxygen sensor every 60,000 miles to keep your mileage at its peak. On 1996 and newer vehicles, replace the sensors every 100,000 miles. Oxygen sensors cost about $60 each. Some vehicles have as many as four, but the sensors installed behind the catalytic converter rarely fail.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Socket/ratchet set
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Tread depth gauge
  • Oxygen sensor socket

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Spark plugs
  • Air filter
  • Replacement air dam (spoiler)
  • Oxygen sensor (s)
  • Tires