FTC Consumer Alert
Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection Office of Consumer & Business Education
Good, Better, Best:
How to Improve Gas Mileage
Whether you are shopping for a new car or just trying to maintain the one you have, you can take
some steps to get the best mileage out of your gas purchases. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
the nation’s consumer protection agency, offers these tips to use fuel efficiently:
On the Road: Drive More Efficiently
• Stay within posted speed limits. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per
• Stop aggressive driving. You can improve your gas mileage up to five percent around town if
you avoid “jackrabbit” starts and stops by anticipating traffic conditions and driving gently.
• Avoid unnecessary idling. It wastes fuel, costs you money, and pollutes the air. Turn off the
engine if you anticipate a wait.
• Combine errands. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one
trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
• Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate. They improve the fuel economy of
your car when you’re driving on a highway.
• Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce a typical
car’s fuel economy by up to two percent.
• Avoid packing items on top of your car. A loaded roof rack or carrier creates wind resistance
and can decrease fuel economy by five percent.
At the Garage: Maintain Your Car
• Keep your engine tuned. Tuning your engine according to your owner’s manual can increase
gas mileage by an average of four percent. Increases vary depending on a car’s condition.
• Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned. It can increase gas mileage up to three percent.
• Change your oil. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), you can improve your gas mileage by using the manufacturer’s
recommended grade of motor oil. Motor oil that says “Energy Conservin