53 ways to get great gas mileage


New member
Nov 4, 2005
got this info off of the april 2006 petersen 4 wheel & off-road.


1.go ahead buy that hybrid- we wont mock you. much. a hybrid gets its ideal fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic, not the highway (because it shuts the engine off and runs on the battery at stop). but if you start modifying a hybrid with beey tires and so on to seem less dorky, it starts defeating the purpose of buying a hybrid: fuel economy. and it could void the warranty, depending on what you do.

2.go ahead, buy that econobox- we wont mock you. actually, we will. but it might be cost-effective to use that as the daily driver and save you 4x4 for the weekend excursions.

3.automatic versus manual transmission? nowadays, automatics are becoming increasingly better than you are at shifting at the most opportune moment. in some new cars, the automatics are actually getting better mileage than the stick version. but manual trannies are still lighter in weight and commonly have more gear choices- plus rowing your own gears adds to performance satisfaction. for now, we'd still go manual for fun and to have the edge on fuel economy.

4.the more torquey the engine, the easier it is for the truck to get up to speed without effort. when the engine doesnt have to work hard, you win. that's why a diesel can get better gas mileage than a gas engine- up to 30 percent.

5.don't have guilt about buying a hemi. it now comes with the multi-displacement system (MDS), which shuts off cylinders when the power isnt needed (making it a four-banger!), then behaves like a v-8 when you need the extra get up and go.

6.don't increase your speed to get up a grade. you'll get better fuel economy by maintaining the speed. do what it takes to climb a hill off road, but the thought remains the same.

7.when the air filter gets dirty. less air is able to flow through it. that effects performance, because when there's more air, less fuel is needed for the ideal air/fuel ratio. get one thats high flow, washable, and reusable (such as from advanced flow engineering, www.afefilters.com). a clean filter can improve things by 10 percent.

8.roof racks, bicicyle carriers, and other add-ons cause aerodynamic drag. these can suck up to 50 percent of engine power on the highway. and don't drive around with that kayak, canoe, or mountain bike longer than necessary.

9.there's no escaping indling in traffic or at stoplights, but don't do it on the trail or in the morning to warm up your truck. more than 17 percent of energy is lost on this action. not to mention your'e getting 0 mpg.

10.if you do nee the a/c, heater, or defrster, set it on a low fan speed. if you have rear air and no one is sitting back there, then why is it on?

11.while your'e at it, stop using the seat heater.

12.accessories suck energy from the engine. that means air conditioning, lights, foglights, window wipers, and even power steering. swap in a high-output alternator or powersteering pump and you could see a 1 percent improvement. dont use the accessories if you dont need them.

13.a continously variable transmission doesn't hunt absentmindedly for gears, making it efficient technology, so consider that option if your new-vehicle choice has it.

14.replace the fuel filter if it's going clogged. less gas will be able to flow to the engine; you'll ride the accelerator more, and believe it or not, it'll still take more fuel to help the engine compensate.

15. if you drive with your windows down at high speeds, it increases drag, which decreases fuel economy.

16.a bad O2 sensor can reduce fuel economy a whopping 40 percent. in fact, if the check engine light comes on, don't ignore that.

17.less fuel is needed to accelerate if you're moving that if you're stopped. therefore, theres no rush to get to that stoplight. maybe it'll be green by the time you get there.

18.don't use thicker motor oil than what the manufacturer recommends because the engine has to exert more effort. running the proper grade can boost mpg by 2 percent.

19. avoid traffic. unlike a hybrid, stopping and going burns gas.

20.just because cheap gas makes your wallet happy, it might not make your truck happy. if the gas doesn't have the right amount of octane and some other big-word ingredients detonation could result. also, additives that prevent the bad deposits might be absent, which could clog the fuel injectors- which hurts the fuel economy. if you fill up and your truck starts running crappy, don't buy gas from there again.

21.keep up with oil changes, because if your oil gets dirty, it gets thicker, and we already covered what happens with thick oil. and change the oil filter too. routine maintanence is important for mpg.

22.brake drag can contribute to poor fuel economy. make sure the calipers are retracting all the way and that the drums are correctly adjusted.

23.carpool. or telecommute. what boss could argue with working from home since it will save the planet and mean you don't need a raise to pay for gas?

24.pull of the carb and put in fuel injection. fuel injection is more efficient and can get better fuel economy that a carb. the cost of doing this will take forever to make economic sense, so use it as an excuse to get fuel injection for better wheeling experiences.

25.if the wheels/tires are out of alignment, more drag is created and it'll take extra energy to keep the truck going straight down the road. plus, the tires will wear out sooner.

26.is your thermostat functioning the way it should? cold engines gulp fuel.

27.why are you using premium gas? unless you've done significant engine mods, 87 octane is fine.

28.towing will reduce your mileage numbers. there's more wind resistance, more weight, and more drag.

29.over-or under-gearing your truck will make the engine work outside of its peak efficiency range.

30.ensure that the spark plugs, plug wires, cap, points, and rotor are all clean, not cracked or worn out, and are set correctly. dirty spark plugs can misfire; make sure you clean and gap them right. hows the ignition timing?

31.some people believe if they drive with the tailgate down, they'll get better fuel economy. no sense trying to convince them other wise. but we've found no difference.

32.swapping out the stock engine-driven fan and fan shroud for an electric fan (such as one from flex-a-lite, www.flex-a-lite.com) is designed to keep the engine cooler as well as get rid of the drag from the stock fan, which in turn can bump up the mileage.

33.adding overdrive to the transmission will lower the engien rpm to help keep it in peak range. you can get a kit from advance adapters (www.advanceadapters.com), such as the ranger torque splitter two-speed overdrive for the manual trans, which adds a gear between each gear already in the transmission, essentialy turning your four speed into an eight-speed. it's one of the priciest fuel economy fixes, but the overdrive kit will also help with towing and offer more gear choices off road. also, higher gears and lower speeds equals an engine turning slower. less gas is needed to do that.

34.think swapping in a bigger engine is counterproductive to getting better fuel economy? if you've put larger tires and a lift kit on a rig that has a small engine, it might be working harder to maintain freeway speeds. but drop in a v-8, and it will probably improve your mileage because it's better matched to how you've outfitted the truck.

35.have an in-vehicle entertainment system, must be nice to be rich. shut it off when no one is watching. it's a drain.

36.add a performance (calibration) chip that can reprogram your vehicle computer, adjusting ignition timing and the air/fuel mix for performance that's suited to your driving style, wether a power programmer or control module. (try BD power, www.bdpower.com or JET, www.jetchip.com.) there should be an increase in both hp and gas mileage, among other benefits. consider it if you tow.

37.keep the tires at the recommended air pressure. you can reduce fuel economy by 3.3 percent if you don't.

38.an exhaust system or headers (such as from borla, www.borla.com) can improve performance, becuase when air runs into resistance, it can build backpressure. you dont necessarily need the biggest tailpipe, though.

39.big tires equal more rolling resistance. skinny tires create less friction on the pavement. do you need a 44-inch tire on the street? more weight requires more effort to move, and lowers your fuel economy.

40.make sure your speedometer is correctly calibrated, otherwise you have no idea about your true fuel economy.

41.airdams, spoilers, and tonneaus provide better airflow, and drag. the smoother the body of the vehicle, the better mileage.

42.if your wheeling is seasonal, consider takind off the big rubber for something more street friendly until you're ready to hit the trail again.

43.drive someone elses vehicle. or if they figure out your master plan, maybe sign up for a co-op (check out www.zipcar.com); gas and insurance is paid for.

44.don't accelerate hard or gun it. that wastes fuel.

45.use cruise control on most roads. it keeps the mph and internal activity steady.

46.lighten the load. clear out the bed of spare parts and tools, and clean the interior (those Mcfood wrappers add up). for every 100 extra pounds you're hauling, that 1-2 percent worse gas mileage your'e getting.

47.make sure your camper or bedcap is level with the top of the cab. it's aerodynamics again.

48.burnt fuel leaves behind all sorts of garbage that can get stuck in the combustion chambers and valves. using an additive (like justice brothers fuel injection system cleaner, www.justicebrothers.com) can be poured into the tank to help remove carbon and other deposits. to slow the burn rate of combustion, there are also octane boosters.

49.if you bolted in a larger axle, dont worry about any additional weight from that. think more about the tire size and final gear ratio combo. get technical support about choosing the right gearing if you're not sure (such as from reider racing, www.reiderracing.com).

50.fourwheel drive puts power (work) to all four corners instead of propelling your vehicle with just the rear two wheels. this means more drivetrain turning, and therefore more drag on your engine. its not rocket science.

51.bought a new truck stuffed in a new mill? dont forget that there's a break-in period, so you may not see its top fuel economy until as many as 5,000 miles on a gas-fueled engine, and up to 20,000 miles for a diesel.

52.dont speed. every 5 mph over 60 mph can cost up to $0.21 more per gallon

53.aluminum wheels are lighter than steel wheels, and every pound of weight added decreases fuel economy.

ok this took forever so i hope u enjoy. :D/


Ford 4x4 31inch skinnies a

How about manual locking hubs vs.automatic hubs and manual transfer case vs. Pushbutton



96 Bronco 5.0
Staff member
Oct 18, 2005
Coronado, CA
How about manual locking hubs vs.automatic hubs and manual transfer case vs. Pushbutton

Our 96 was bought new with automatic hubs.  They blew out twice, so swapped to Warn manual, never saw a MPG change in sos daily commute to sos base over a period of 4 years at 13.5 MPG.

manual transfer case vs. Pushbutton, I assume the pushbutton would obtain very low MPG loss only due to added weight of the module, shift motor and wiring wiring harness, speed sensor, etc.

Consider registering here.


Last edited by a moderator:


96 Bronco 5.0
Staff member
Oct 18, 2005
Coronado, CA

Project M.P.G. in a Centurion 460; miesk5 Note, Results are Comparable to Tests in other Ford Engines

Source: by performanceunlimited.com http://performanceunlimited.com/projectmpg/

I have always factored in any cost to improve MPG in the overall $ "savings".


reducing weight (of the Bronco and toold, accessories and ... passengers; driver's get a pass)

proper tire pressure

ensure that brakes are not dragging

driving style/ light foot

check for trouble codes

Cost Items:


COLD air intake - insulate air intake from grille area to throttle body.AND BY Crown Auto Parts Inc.;

"Under inflated tires Increase rolling resistance 1-2 mpg;

Dirty air filter Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture 2.0 mpg;

Worn spark plugs Cause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel 2.0 mpg;

Worn O2 sensor Unable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture 3 mpg;

Dirty or substandard engine oil Increases internal engine friction 0.4 mpg;

Loose gas cap Allows fuel to evaporate 2.0 mpg;

Potential loss in fuel economy if all of the above were neglected 11.4 mpg..


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