Muscle cars are show vehicles. They’re flashy, powerful, and turn heads on the road. However, they’re usually subpar in terms of fuel efficiency.
You can’t outright change your car’s gas mileage, but you can apply these 10 driving and maintenance habits to conserve fuel and cut back on spending at the pump.
On the Road
Aside from the car itself, your driving is the main determinant of fuel consumption. You must practice responsible driving habits to maximize your car’s fuel efficiency and ensure its long-term health. Here’s what you can do.
1. Avoid Sudden Starts and Stops
Make your engine’s life easier and avoid sudden starts and stops. Quick acceleration uses a lot of horsepower, which consumes more gas than a steady increase in speed. Hard braking doesn’t directly consume fuel, but it does contribute to erratic traffic patterns that increase fuel consumption in the long run. Slow down to an appropriate pace to encourage a smoother flow of traffic.
2. Shift Gears Correctly
Most muscle cars have manual transmissions, which means you have to time each gear shift correctly to minimize the strain on your engine. You might like to listen to your car purr as it reaches over 3,000 RPMs, but you won’t like how often you have to stop for gas. Shift gears at the appropriate time to cut fuel consumption and keep your engine healthy.
3. Follow the Speed Limit
Most car owners know that driving faster burns more fuel, but they don’t know exactly how much impact speed really has. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), every 5 miles driven above 60 mph equates to 20 cents per gallon of gas. We know that driving under 60 mph on the highway almost defeats the purpose of owning a muscle car, but follow the speed limit as best you can.
4. Only Use AC at Higher Speeds
If you must drive above the speed limit, you can offset some of the extra fuel consumption by only using the air conditioning at higher speeds. AC can reduce fuel economy by 25% if you leave it running for extended periods. Use your windows on side streets and save your AC for the highways where it relies on less fuel to pump out cool air.
5. Stop Idling
Your car’s gas mileage dips to its lowest level when idling. You should start driving as soon as you turn on the engine. Don’t sit in your parking spot and let gas waste away as you scroll on your phone. If you find yourself in a traffic jam with no end in sight, turn your car off until things get moving again.
Proper vehicle maintenance also improves your car’s mileage and lays the foundation for a long life on the road. Apply these maintenance tips to keep your vehicle in good shape and get the most out of every tank.
1. Take Advantage of Fuel Discounts
With the current state of gas prices, you should take advantage of fuel discounts in any way you can. Look for gas discounts, coupons, and promo codes from local businesses. Sign up for rewards programs to save money on gas in the long run.
This advice especially applies to muscle cars that take premium or diesel fuel. Prices for these expensive fuels have reached unprecedented heights that car and truck owners can’t keep up with for much longer. You must find innovative ways to manage your fuel costs and keep your muscle car running. Every reduction helps, no matter how small.
2. Track Your Vehicle’s Mileage
Gas mileage can decrease based on engine health and other mechanical factors, so tracking changes in your car’s mileage can help you identify problems before they become more serious. You might also notice how ebbs and flows in mileage coincide with your driving habits.
3. Replace Air and Fuel Filters Often
Change your air and fuel filters as instructed by your owner’s manual, or change them even more often if you drive through dirty conditions. These filters help stabilize your car’s mileage by making fuel consumption smoother and more efficient. You’d be surprised how quickly they can get clogged up with dirt, dust, and other debris.
4. Take Care of Your Tires
Your tires play a crucial role in fuel efficiency. Underinflated tires force your engine to compensate and work harder, which burns more gas. On the other hand, tires with sufficient air pressure help your car glide along the road and reduce the engine’s workload. Make sure your tires have the correct PSI.
5. Store an Emergency Fuel Supply
Keep an emergency fuel supply in airtight containers so you can operate your gas-powered machines without relying on gas stations. If gas prices weren’t already high enough, an economic crash could raise them even more. Leave nothing to chance and store your own supply of fuel.
Treat Your Muscle Car Right
Muscle cars are built to look bold and push the boundaries of driving, but that doesn’t mean you should beat your vehicle up. Instead, practice responsible driving habits to maximize fuel efficiency and monitor the car to make sure its essential parts help its gas mileage, not hurt it. Your muscle car is your favorite toy, so treat it right with proper driving and maintenance.
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