Whether you enjoy the power of a V-8 engine in your muscle car or need to haul heavy work gear in your truck, a V-8 is never going to be as good on gas as smaller engines, such as a four-cylinder. However, there are several ways to improve your gas mileage to help your vehicle become as fuel efficient as possible.
Stick to highways whenever possible. You are more likely to maintain a steady speed there, which provides better gas mileage. Stick to back roads if your highway is clogged every morning with stop-and-go traffic, which can lower your gas mileage. Drive on roads that allow you to use your cruise control as much as possible; a 2005 Edmunds.com test showed a Land Rover LR3 with a V-8 engine got about 14 percent better gas mileage using cruise control.
Accelerate slowly but steadily from a stop, such as at a traffic light. Large V-8 engines can speed up in a hurry, but when you run with the engine wide open, it blows through your gas quickly. According to Edmunds.com, this trick can increase your vehicle's fuel efficiency by up to 35 percent. If you're going to be sitting for a few minutes, turn off the car. Idling can use up to a half gallon of gas per hour, while cranking your car before leaving a traffic light uses significantly less. Cranking your car uses about the same amount of gas as idling for 10 seconds, and V-8 engines typically use more gas when idling than smaller engines.
Load the vehicle with items you need for work or the people you're transporting, but keep the extras to a minimum. For example, remove tools out of your V-8 work truck if you're not going to need them that day. Carrying an extra 100 pounds of tools or equipment can reduce your gas mileage by up to 2 percent.
- Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle to keep it in top running shape. Change the oil on time and get regular tune-ups. Check the air pressure in your tires and add air if necessary; driving on under-inflated tires negatively affects your gas mileage.
- Driving the speed limit or slightly slower can also help you save on gas; the faster you drive, the more gas it takes for your engine to function.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.