Consumer Reports’ Tips to Get the Most out of a Tank of Gas in 2022

With gasoline prices on the rise, Consumer Reports has some tips to get the most out of a tank of gas. Drivers don’t need to do all of these things at once, but each can keep you on the road longer and at the fuel pumps less.

Consumer Reports wants your tank of gas to go further (no pun intended)

Consumer Reports has tips to get the most out of a tank of gas
A driver fills the gas tank in an SUV | Logan Cyrus / AFP via Getty Images

One of the most significant suggestions from Consumer Reports is to keep at least a half tank of gas at all times, especially in the winter. If fuel deliveries don’t arrive in a timely fashion or lousy weather threatens the supply, you will at least have half a tank of gas to get you through. This is also a good idea during the holidays or bigger travel months. Having enough gas to get by can make the trip less stressful.

These days, finding cheap gas can be facilitated by an app or a website. Using a service such as GasBuddy can help you find a better price on gas either at home or on the road. It is a good idea to check it occasionally to see how prices at the gas stations around you are compared to others. Consumer Reports says that for the most part, gas prices decrease as you move away from the highways and city centers. Warehouse stores and major travel centers might have better prices due to the sheer amount of people moving through.

One minor suggestion is to try and minimize how much you drive around. If you know you have to go to the other side of the town at the end of the week, try to save your errands for that day. This can help you reserve gas when it can be harder to come across.

Driving the speed limit might help extend your tank of gas, Consumer Reports says

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It isn’t fun to hear, but driving the speed limit can help you conserve gas. Consumer Reports says that when you follow the speed limit and drive efficiently, you can extend a tank of gas. In a recent test, the experts at CR went 55 mph, 65 mph, and 75 mph in both a Nissan Altima and a Toyota RAV4 SUV. These tests showed that when drivers reduced the speed from 65 mph to 55 mph, the fuel economy increased by six mpg in the Altima and eight mpg in the RAV4. Higher speeds had a significant impact on the fuel economy.

Hard acceleration and braking contribute to a reduction in fuel economy too. “In our tests, frequent bursts of acceleration and braking reduced an older Toyota Camry’s mileage by 2 to 3 mpg,” Consumer Reports said. Hard braking can waste fuel that you used to get up to speed. If you can maintain a steady pace while driving, it can help extend your tank of gas. It is also worth noting that smooth acceleration and less hard braking can help extend the life of your engine, transmission, brakes, and tires.

Depending on what you drive, roof racks and other racks can significantly impact fuel economy. The Altima lost five mpg, and the RAV4 lost two mpg with an empty roof rack. The Altima lost 12 mpg with bikes on a bike rack, while the RAV4 SUV lost only five mpg. Any extra pieces on the sedan or SUV can cause more aerodynamic drag.

Top tier gas is better for your fuel economy

There is such thing as top-tier gas, which means better gas quality due to higher standards. 76, Chevron, Citgo, Exxon, Shell, Sunoco, Texaco, and Valero are just a few brands that offer top-tier gas. “The detergents in Top Tier gas can eventually clean any engine deposits that may accumulate when good-quality gas is more readily available.”

This is not to be confused with premium gas, which Consumer Reports says you can skip the premium gas unless it is required. Many cars will “recommend” premium gasoline, but it is only recommended. Be sure to check your fuel door to see which gasoline type your automaker recommends. Check your tire pressure to make sure you have enough air to ensure an even ride. If you are really struggling, skip the air conditioning. It can significantly impact fuel economy, but sometimes it is necessary.

It isn’t necessary to do all of these things at once, but each one can have an impact on better fuel economy. Consumer Reports testing shows that each suggestion might be able to extend your time away from the fuel pumps.

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