Gas prices are bad enough, but the way you drive also has an effect on how much gas you use. With gas price averages in the United States at nearly $5 per gallon, it’s prudent to do what you can.
There are several ways to save gas while you’re driving and some of these tips include reducing speeds, eliminating drag (luggage and other items on top of the car) and reducing idle time. To increase savings, find the cheapest car insurance to keep money in your pocket and consider the below tips.
- Increase Patience. When you stop quickly, accelerate aggressively and drive like you have to beat every other car to the finish line, you’re going to waste a lot of fuel. The inertia that comes with stopping (and starting) a multi-ton object needs a lot of energy to change, and in this case, the energy is gas. A good way to keep an eye on how much gas you might be using is to watch the tachometer. The more revs, the more fuel that’s being used.
- Don’t Be a Drag. That is, you’re better off moving cargo to the back so that it is rear-mounted, as opposed to fitting it on top. This is true of bikes and skis too, if possible. You can increase your fuel economy anywhere from 2-25% (road and speed dependent) by eliminating rooftop cargo.
- Eliminate Weight. Just as you don’t want to add drag, you also don’t want to be carrying around more weight than is necessary. Anything that isn’t going to be used immediately should be stored elsewhere or given away. It is estimated that for every 100 pounds eliminated, you’ll improve your miles per gallon by 1%. A great reason to go on that diet you’ve been meaning to! And fill up your tank only when you need to as a full tank can weigh upwards of 100 pounds.
- Don’t Idle. Whether you’re warming up your car or waiting for someone, idlingwastes fuel. It also increases pollution and can damage the exhaust system. In the past, it made sense to let your car idle instead of turning it off and on, but now with fuel-injected systems, that just isn’t the case.
- Find the Best Route.It might be your daily trip to the supermarket or a vacation destination you’ve never gone to before, but finding the best route to your location will save you fuel costs. GPS will give you the shortest route possible, though you often have to weigh that against current traffic and stop signs and lights, which will cost you more fuel.
- Use the Right Oil.Be certain you are using the right engine oil for your car. Things have changed over the decades and the oil used these days is generally thinner. Using the wrong motor oil will make your engine and other vehicle parts work harder which will ultimately cost you more in gas.
- Fill Up at the Coolest Part of the Day. When gas is cool, it’s more dense, meaning when you are at the gas pump filling your tank at the coolest part of the day; you’re going to get more gas. When the temperature rises, gas becomes less dense, and you’ll end up getting less in your tank.
- Watch Tire Pressure. Keep an air pressure gauge in the vehicle so you can check the tire pressure whenever you need to. Severely under inflated tires, even 10 pounds or less, result in wasting gas. The Department of Energy estimates that for every 1 psi that your car’s four tires lack, it results in .1% poorer fuel economy.
- Roll Down the Windows. There are some days when you need the car’s air conditioner to keep the sweat from rolling down your back. However, the more you use it, the more you’ll be spending in gas, too. Try not to overuse the A/C and instead, roll down the windows or consider driving when it’s cooler out.
- Combine Trips. When you take several trips from a cold start, you are using twice as much gas than you would if you combined all of your day’s trips into one. Keep a running list of items you need and take a moment before heading out to be certain you aren’t forgetting something. Plan events and appointments consecutively so you can accomplish them all at once.
There are many ways to cut back on your fuel costs, and the best one to consider might be to simply drive less. When you can bike or walk to a location you’re not only saving gas money you’re also helping the environment.