5 Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage From Your SUV

Red Fiat SUV - Pine Grove Auto Sales of Pine Grove, PA

Image via Flickr by automobileitalia

When you need to move big items, drive around some friends, or venture onto less than stellar roads, an SUV is a great choice. The biggest problem most people have with an SUV is their less than fantastic gas mileage. Although you’ll likely never get exceptional mileage, there are a few things you can do to help you save.

Get Rid of Extra Weight

Although SUVs are known for being able to lug all sorts of heavy items around, the extra weight makes your vehicle work harder to gain momentum. Carriers that attach to the top of a vehicle are even worse, for they also mess with its aerodynamics. Accordingly, if possible, it’s better to use a carrier that you can stick on the back of your vehicle instead. When your carrier isn’t in use, remove it so that it’s not weighing you down or holding you back.


Erratic driving burns more gas as you constantly slow down and speed up. Leaving early enough to account for traffic issues and remaining calm when things go wrong on the road are good not only for your gas usage but for your safety as well. Accidents are often caused by unpredictable driving, so everyone can benefit from remembering to stay peaceful.

Don’t Idle

Idling burns up to half a gallon of gas per hour — maybe more if you’re using the AC during that time. Starting the car uses the same amount of gas as idling for approximately ten seconds does, so turning the car off is the best idea if you’re going to be stopped for more than a minute. Avoiding idling also cuts down on emissions from your car, which is better for the environment.

Use Cruise Control

Depending on what terrain you are traveling, this one could be helpful. If you are driving on really hilly roads, however, it’s best to have cruise control turned off, because it will increase your speed faster going uphill than you would manually in an attempt to maintain your desired speed. Flat roads, however, are an ideal place to use cruise control. Doing so will help you maintain an even speed and avoid going more quickly than you should, which uses more gas. Because flat, straight roads are easier to speed on, using cruise control could also help you avoid getting a ticket, saving you even more.

Keep the Car Maintained

Functioning parts are essential to a properly running vehicle, so keeping up with your maintenance is important. Regular oil changes and using high-quality tires are a couple of examples of regular maintenance that help keep everything running smoothly. Keeping the air filters clear of debris will also help your car run better. Find a mechanic you trust to help you maintain your car — or if you feel up to it, you can learn how to do the work yourself. Although SUVs are known as gas guzzlers, using these techniques can help cut down on your gas usage. Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments, you’ll be free to enjoy your SUV and all the benefits that it provides.