Help Me Improve My Gas Mileage


Please help me improve our cars gas mileage!

It goes without saying that today’s higher gas prices have impacted us all. I’m seeking your help as I hope to improve the gas mileage of our beloved 2000 S70 GLT SE 190-hp, 2.4-liter I-5. Our current mpg is approximately 18.8 in-town with 99% of our driving being in-town. Granted the EPA rating for our Volvo is 19 to 27 so our current mpg is almost in line with the in-town estimate. We use only premium grade fuel and high mileage rated motor oil. No modifications have been made to the engine.

While you might suggest we consider a newer automobile I believe it is safe to say that my wife is dead set against it for a number of logical reasons. The number one reason being the cost of a new car and second being our fondness for our S70.

I look forward to all comments and suggestions.



  1. Be sure that your tires are properly inflated to at least the manufacturer’s recommended pressures. Inflating the tires to 2 or 3 lbs. over the recommended pressures may help your gas mileage to a tiny extent.

  2. DO NOT warm up the car for more than 30 seconds, unless the temperatures are well below freezing. Modern cars do not need extended warm-up, and sitting while the engine idles yields ZERO mpg for the period of time that you are sitting there.

  3. Be sure that the cooling system thermostat is working properly and is of the correct heat range. A defective thermostat will cause the engine to run “cold” with the result that you will be running the engine on a “rich” fuel/air mixture.

  4. Combine your trips, rather than making individual local outings for each errand.

  5. Do not patronize drive-up windows at banks or restaurants. Your wallet and your waistline will both benefit from shutting off the engine, parking the car, and walking into the establishment.

  6. Make sure that you are not hauling around unnecessary weight in the trunk (like those snow tires!).

  7. Be sure that your engine’s air filter is clean.

  8. Use the grade of gasoline that is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. That may not be premium, and if your car is designed to run on regular gas, using premium yields no benefits and obviously costs more at each fill-up.

  9. If you have a roof rack on the car, take it off.

  10. When it is time for new tires, seek out a brand/model with a low rolling resistance. Consumer Reports notes this information in their tire reviews.


My only suggestions are to keep the vehicle properly maintained, keep the tires properly inflated, drive conservatively, and (at the next tire change) opt for high mileage all-season tires (summer tires if you live down south).


Drive to minimize acceleration and braking. Accelerate as gently as possible and anticipate stops to minimize braking. Also, minimize the usage of the car. They get GREAT mileage with the key in your pocket. Forgo the A/C as much as possible…


When you park the car in a lot, go immediately to a far away spot if you are able to walk from there. They are often near the entrance to the lot and you will save gas by parking immediately and not cruising for a spot close to the door.

If you have two cars, drive the one that gets the best mileage the most. The S70 should not be your commuter unless the other is something like a Suburban.


Whew! ?What a relief! ?When I first read the title of your thread I asuumed you would be asking for advice on miracle gadgets to install, or special fuel additives with all their fantastic claims. ?I’m glad to find out you are a sensible person.

All of the above suggestions are good ones. But face it, you purchased a car for its charms and special advantages that did not include prosaic fuel economy. You may be able to squeeze out another 1-2 mpg by adopting the above tips, but you have no hope of competing with the compact fuel-sippers. Bite the bullet. Understand that the weekly budget for gasoline has gone up equally for the rest of us too.


Thanks for your straight forward reply, it made me smile. In the memoriable words of Bill Murray, “That’s the fact Jack!”.



Thank you for your suggetions.


Your comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.



Your ideas have merit. Thanks for your help.



Thanks for taking the time to provide such a detail reply. Your suggestions should be very helpful


You got a lot of good suggestions.  I will only suggest that how you drive (easy on the accelerator and not too fast) will likely have the most effect.


Your getting EPA your not going to beat it by much in town. I would not worry much about this anymore unless you see a significant drop.

Given your 99% in town mileage I imagine your vehicle does not see many miles per year hence not burning lots of fuel. Lastly you could replace it with say a Corolla/Civic but its mileage would likely only be in the mid 20’s even though rated higher. Hardly worth the expenditure to drive around in a tin can compared to your comfy Volvo. Most cars do not even make their city EPA rating when driven the type of driving you do.


If your car has a tachometer (RPM gauge), make sure that you’re driving in a lower gear, i.e., RPMs are below 2 or 3000. Which is to say, if you driving along at some speed, and the engine is turning at 3000 RPMs, give the car a little more gas and the transmission should up-shift, dropping the RPMs by 1000 or so.