The Volvo Parts, Accessories &
Performance Specialists Since 1963

Tips For Better Fuel Efficiency & More MPGs

2011-03-09 - IPD Staff

With fuel prices up we have all likely become hyper aware of the impact that fuel prices have in our lives and finances.

I think we are all also aware that given time higher fuel prices are likely to return, and while Ipd may be seen by some as solely a performance leader we are just as active in maintaining and maximizing vehicle efficiency for the cars we love. After all, you don’t make horse power by throwing unburned gasoline out the tailpipe! So in an expanding effort to increase the economy and efficiency of your Volvo you’ll likely find the side effect of performance shows up as well. This may be the only time you get to have your cake and eat it too!

Start with the engine. The easier we can make the engines job, the better (more efficient) it will perform. Tune up items like spark plugs, wires, cap/rotor, filters, fresh fluids, and even performance items like higher flowing exhaust and performance ignition coils will help the engine breath and operate with less resistance and increased performance resulting in higher MPG.

Here are a few tips from our federal government on how to reduce your fuel consumption.

Step one: Drive slower. Now I know this sounds un-American but consider driving a few MPH under the speed limit rather than over it.While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Typically each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.26 per gallon for gas. Ouch!

Step two: Drop any extra weight. Go through your vehicle’s trunk, glove box, interior and remove the loose change, clothes and bags, Ipd catalogs, and any other unnecessary items that are weighing down your journey (ok, maybe keep the Ipd catalogs). You’d be surprised how quickly the weight adds up and an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%.That’s like paying $0.04 to $0.07 more per gallon for gas.

Step three: Automatic transmissions need love too. Poor quality fluid, contamination, and heat can cause transmission fluid to wear and breakdown. This may only sound like a ‘good idea’ to change and doesn’t seem to be such a big deal but consider that the transmission fluid viscosity directly translates into how well engine power can be harnessed at the torque convertor and transferred to the wheels. Thin worn out fluid means poor transfer of energy and results in lower fuel economy. Inefficient transmission operation from worn out fluid can be like adding $0.10 more per gallon for gas.

Step four: Tire pressure. Make sure your tires are at the correct operating pressure for the load you are carrying. If you’re car pooling consider the extra 400-500 pounds you’ll be carrying and adjust your air pressure accordingly!

Step five: Air conditioning. Turning on the AC does cause your vehicle to burn more fuel, but driving with the windows down can be much worse due to the increase of drag on the vehicle. If you are driving in city traffic or generally at slower speeds, then you are better off leaving your windows down on hot days. However, if you’re driving at highway speeds roll up the windows and use air conditioning to cool off!