The "Cash for Clunkers" deal, which wraps up its final day on August 24, has everyone pondering their mileage. Trading in your old gas guzzler for a newer model can instantly improve your mileage, but even with thousands in government incentives it may still hurt your pocketbook.

If you don't have the money to swap for a smart car or hybrid, you can still get better mileage from a clunker with a few easy fixes. (Follow a few of these simple tips to become more "green" - and keep more of it in your wallet. Check out Go Green, Save Money.)

Inflate Your Tires
Depending on how far your tires are from their listed inflation level - conveniently written on the tire's sidewall - you can squeeze up to 3% better fuel efficiency improvements simply by filling them up. It's as easy as pulling up to a gas station. If you're keen, you can invest a few dollars in a pocket sized pressure gauge to check your tires regularly. (Keep additional car expenses low to save even more. Read 12 Car Insurance Cost-Cutters.)

Improve Your Aerodynamics
Drag is one of the biggest forces your car fights in moving you forward. One of the primary design problems for auto-aerodynamics is the mirrors. Of course you don't want to remove them, but you can buy better molded replacements. If you want to get an idea of how even a small protrusion like mirrors contributes to drag, simply cup your hand and hold it outside the window while driving at highway speed.

By removing racks and other protuberances, your highway mileage can sometimes jump several miles per gallon higher. Pickup truck drivers can even streamline their vehicles by installing a box cover or just putting a piece of plywood between the wheel wells angling up towards the top of the tailgate.

Do The Maintenance
Making sure there is enough oil, changing old spark plugs and cleaning air filters doesn't yield as dramatic mileage improvements for younger cars as it does for older models, but you still get savings by having a well-tuned engine. (Sometimes buying a new car can be cheaper than shelling out for repairs. Check out Your Car: Fixer-Upper Or Scrap Metal?)

Get Cruise Control
Even if you have to install it yourself, cruise control doesn't cost much in time or money. It will save you a lot, however, by controlling your lead foot. Even if the mileage improvements are mediocre, you'll see a definite reduction in speeding tickets.

Install An Electronic Fuel Usage Monitor
These babies are getting cheaper and more common every day. The biggest benefit of a monitor is that it lets you know changes in real time as you experiment with improving your mileage. It can also introduce a challenge/sense of fun into the process as you keep trying to beat your best mileage. Who knows, it may even turn you on to hypermiling.

Summing it up, if you're not in the market for a new, fuel efficient car, there are still a lot of things you can do to squeeze better performance out of the one you have now. (Find out what steps you can take to reduce the depreciation of your vehicle. Read Top 10 Ways To Get Top Dollar For Your Car.)

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    The Honest Company Bundles Review: Are They Worth It?

    Learn more about The Honest Company and its bundle subscription services, which deliver discounted diapers, formula and other baby products to your doorstep.
  2. Investing News

    Today's Sell-off: Are We in a Margin Liquidation?

    If we're in market liquidation, is it good news or bad news? That party depends on your timeframe.
  3. Budgeting

    Blue Apron Review: Is It Worth It?

    Read about one of the top meal-kit delivery services in the United States, and learn more about what it offers and how much it costs.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Are U.S. Stocks Still the Place To Be in 2016?

    Understand why U.S. stocks are absolutely the place to be in 2016, even though the year has gotten off to an awful start for the market.
  5. Home & Auto

    Don't Be the Victim of Auto Loan Rip-Offs

    Subprime auto loans – and 60-day delinquencies – are up. These 4 signs of predatory auto loans can tip you off before you're caught in one.
  6. Investing News

    U.S. Recession Without a Yield Curve Warning?

    The inverted yield curve has correctly predicted past recessions in the U.S. economy. However, that prediction model may fail in the current scenario.
  7. Stock Analysis

    JCPenney's Path To Profitability (JCP)

    Learn about what J.C. Penney's management team has been doing to profitably grow its business as the company recovers from years of revenue declines.
  8. Home & Auto

    The Latest Airbag Recalls: What to Do

    The latest warnings are from Honda/Acura and Dodge. How to look up your car – and what to do if you find it on the recall list.
  9. Investing

    Retirees: 7 Lessons from 2008 for the Next Crisis

    When the last big market crisis hit, many retirees ran to the sidelines. Next time, there are better ways to manage your portfolio.
  10. Economics

    Industries That Thrive On Recession

    Recessions are not equally hard on everyone. In fact, there are some industries that even flourish amid the adversity.
  1. How does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affect my salary?

    Some companies build salary adjustments into their compensation structures to offset the effects of inflation on their employees. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Do interest rates increase during a recession?

    Interest rates rarely increase during a recession. Actually, the opposite tends to happen; as the economy contracts, interest ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can your car insurance company check your driving record?

    While your auto insurance company cannot pull your full motor vehicle report, or MVR, it does pull a record summary that ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center