If you're at all interested in fuel economy, I'm sure you've heard all the standard advice by now. Go take a look at the government's fuel economy advice and tell me, do you really see anything new? Slow down, keep your car maintained, don't drive to the curb to pick up your mail or take out your trash.
Luckily there's a lot more to it. Don't be confused, the EPA's advice is good stuff that you should follow, and I'll discuss it a bit, but for the average person there's still a little bit more to know. That said, I'll try to go over some of the most basic things you need to know to get great fuel economy, and then let you decide how aggressively you want to pursue each course of action.
The first, and likely most important, thing for you to realize is that aggressive driving kills fuel economy. Instead of driving, imagine yourself riding a bicycle. How strenuous would it be for you to pedal like mad from every light just to slam on the breaks to barely make a stop? How about going up hills? It's extremely easy to coast down, but huge energy savings can be had from taking it a little bit slower uphill and gaining your speed back on the downhill.
Finally, try going as fast as you can on your bike. You'll find that at a certain speed you just can't go any faster because the wind is just too much. Your car is the same way except you don't notice how much more difficult driving 75 is than driving 65.
Furthermore, don't ever let anyone tell you that there is a "best speed" for fuel economy that is something like 55 or 65 MPH. Every car has it's own "best speed," and that speed is usually as slow as you can go with the car in the highest gear or the torque converter engaged (if you're driving an automatic). Most so-called "best speeds" are just recommendations, and you should remember that slowing down, from any speed, will almost always increase your fuel economy.
Next, it's also important to keep your car in as best condition as possible. To continue with the biking analogy, you wouldn't want to show up to a race with a flat tire, bent rim, and wobbly handle bars, would you? So make sure you keep up with your basic maintenance like clean air filters, low weight oil, properly gapped spark plugs and well-inflated tires. In fact, overinflating your tires is one of the most common tricks used by hypermilers. While it's generally safe to do, you shouldn't inflate past the max psi on the sidewall of the tire and should understand that handling comfort may be affected.
Finally, don't forget that the best way to save gas is to use less. A tautology, to be sure, but a lot of time people forget they can take the bus, ride their bike, or even just plan trips so that they are taken care of on the way to or from work. If you really want to save gas (and not just get better fuel economy), stop letting your car idle to warm up, don't make frivolous trips, and try to work as close to home as possible.
I'll get much more in depth in the future about some advanced techniques, but try these basics out and see how well you do.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.