Where possible, accelerate gently, especially from a stop; an automatic transmission will upshift earlier for better mileage. With a manual, shift to higher gears as soon as possible, but don’t strain the engine. Many new cars have upshift lights on the dash to guide you.
See a traffic light, toll booth, or slow traffic? Take your foot off the pedal and let the car coast to a stop. If you’re stopping for more than a minute, turn off the engine.
Hold steady highway speeds. Generally, 40 mph is most economical, but if your transmission has a lockup clutch or overdrive, speeds of around 50 mph may be better. Ask your dealer if you’re not sure what kind of transmission you have. In climbing an upgrade, increase speed gradually as you approach, then hold as steady a throttle position as possible, even if your speed drops.
Keep windows closed and use the vent in warm weather to reduce aerodynamic drag. If it’s very hot, use the air conditioning rather than opening windows at highway speeds. In cold weather, let the engine idle for 30 to 60 seconds, then drive no faster than 40 mph until the engine warms.
Reduce car weight by leaving unnecessary heavy items out of the trunk. In winter remove ice and snow from the perimeter of the underbody. On vacation, pack lightly. Avoid using a roof rack, which causes air drag.
Inflate tires to the maximum pressure shown on the sidewalls; check pressure often. If tire wear is irregular, have the wheel alignment checked.
Have the engine tuned at least every 2 years or every 24,000 miles, and have the choke operation checked whenever you note a sharp drop in mileage. However, it’s normal to get lower mileage in short trips, cold weather, and heavy traffic.