4 Ways Pickup Truck and SUV Drivers Can Save On Gas Donít let your SUV or truck break the bank at the pump. Use these tips to help save on gas this summer. BY TARA BAUKUS MELLO
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While taking a vacation this summer, be sure to follow these tips to get the best fuel economy.
“ Take a look at what you are carrying around and remove anything in your truck you don't need on a daily basis.”
While pickup trucks and truck-based SUVs are, by nature, not the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market, there are still ways that truck owners can save on gas. And, if you plan on doing a lot of driving this summer, chances are youíre going to be spending hundreds of dollars at the pump just to take a quick family vacation. Here are four ways to improve the fuel economy in your pickup or SUV, according to the Department of Energy.
1. Give your engine a tune-up. Many pickups are work trucks that really take a beating. If your engine is in need of a tune-up, chances are you are compromising your fuel economy by four percent on average, according to the Department of Energy. It could be even more if you have a more serious problem, such as an electronic oneóreplacing a faulty oxygen sensor, for example, can improve your mpg by up to 40 percent.
2. Maintain proper tire pressure. Truck†tires naturally lose air over time and low tire pressure reduces gas mileage. For every one pound per square inch (psi) drop of all four tires, there's a 0.3 percent fuel economy loss. Keep your tires inflated to the recommended tire pressure found in your ownerís manual to improve your gas mileage by 3.3 percent on average, says the Department of Energy.
3. Use the recommended grade of oil that is energy conserving. Using a different grade, sometimes called weight, of motor oil than is recommended by the manufacturer can also lower your gas mileage. Using 10W-30 in an engine that calls for 5W-30 can lower your fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent, while using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1 to 1.5 percent. To get the maximum fuel economy, the Department of Energy recommends using motor oil designated as "energy conserving," as it contains friction-reducing additives. The American Petroleum Institute designates these on product bottles with a yellow circular performance symbol.
4. Don't carry extra gear. The whole point of a pickup truck or SUV is to carry lots of cargo, but extra weight can greatly reduce fuel economy. Take a look at what you are carrying around and remove anything in your truck you don't need on a daily basis. For every extra 100 pounds you are toting around in the pickup bed, you are reducing your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent, says the Department of Energy.
Follow these simple truck and SUV fuel-efficiency tips, and you can at least make sure you're getting the most out of every gallon of gasoline you have to put in the tank.
Tara Baukus Mello is a contributor at shopautoweek.com. She specializes in providing practical advice for consumers on car buying and selling, as well as safety and technology.