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How to Improve Gas Mileage without Damaging Your Engine

Posted by: Bell Performance

Within the United States, it is nearly impossible to buy gasoline that does not have 10 percent ethanol added to the blend.

12007555144_36ca3ea6fe_oRecently, the United States approved the sale of gas containing 15 percent ethanol and it is available in limited areas. The name for the new blend is E-15 gas, meaning that it has 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline.

When the Federal government announced that E-15 was available in the United States, some carmakers such as Honda, Nissan and Ford announced that warranties do not cover engine damage from using this blend of gas.

Ethanol-blended gasoline decreases performance and lowers mileage in almost all types of cars. Ethanol burns with less energy than regular gasoline, making drivers use more gas to go any distance. Road and Track Magazine concluded that using E10 fuel decreases your mileage by as much as 10 percent.

Also, ethanol produces less power than regular fuel – about one-third less. This creates incidences of decreased performance, reduced throttle response, and inefficient combustion.

With gas prices fluctuating between high prices and record high prices, it is no surprise that drivers will try to compensate for the decreased mileage they get with E10 and E15 fuels.

5 Tips to Increase MPGs Safely Without Damaging Your Car 

  1. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) recommends that you keep your tires properly inflated. This alone improves your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. When your tires are under inflated, you lose up to 0.3 percent mpg for every 1 psi below the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  1. The DOE also highlights the benefits of using the correct grade of motor oil. Using a heavier weight motor oil than specified decreases gas mileage by as much as 1.5 percent. Make sure the API label says “Energy Conserving”, as this assures you that the oil has friction-reducing additives.
  1. Change spark plugs before they are due for replacement. If your spark plugs have a life of 100,000 miles and you have 80,000 miles on them, it is time to change them. Misfires and incomplete combustion occur most often during spark plugs last 20,000 miles of life. One estimate is this costs drivers more than $560.00 in wasted fuel.
  1. Did you know your car gulps down 14 million gallons of air through the air filter each year? In pre-1999 vehicles, changing the air filter decreases fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. Newer cars have computer systems that adjust fuel flow for dirty filters. Nevertheless, change the air filter annually. 
  1. Misalignment of tires costs you as much as $187.50 per year in wasted gas as your attempts compensate for the added drag. Incidentally, nonaligned tires cause them to wear out faster and the estimate of that is worth $70 per year.

Follow these easy, tips and watch your mpg return to where it was when the car drove off the showroom lot.

What You Need To Know About Today's Ethanol Fuels

Photo Credit / Creative Commons / No Changes Made

This post was published on March 21, 2014 and was updated on April 15, 2021.

Topics: Cars and Light Trucks, Ethanol, Gas Mileage