Fuel Saving Tips
We have good news and bad news. Bad news first - It seems like fuel is not getting any cheaper any time soon. Now the good news…. There are measures you can take to curb fuel consumption and save yourself a little money in the process. Below are tips to help you improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency so you can
1. Slow Down
This is simple and will do wonders for your fuel economy. Many people drive 5 to 10 miles above the posted speed limit, especially on the highway. While this will get you to your destination a little faster, it can really decrease your gas mileage. Driving the speed limit will help you to conserve fuel. It may get you to your destination a few minutes later but you can plan for this by leaving a few minutes earlier.
2. Keep your tires properly inflated
The phrase “rolling resistance” refers to the friction created when the tires of your car roll along the road. When it comes to saving fuel, you want your tires’ rolling resistance to be as low as possible. Lower resistance = less friction = less fuel consumption. You can keep your rolling resistance low by regularly checking your tire pressure and filling your tires with air when the air pressure is low. The tire pressure should especially be checked when the temperature has dropped because tires can lose 1 to 2 lbs. of air pressure for every 10°F the temperature drops outside.
3. Clean out your car
Having a dirty car may not seem like a recipe for more repeat trips to the pump but getting all the excess weight out of your car will let you squeeze every last bit of fuel economy from your vehicle. Also, all the little things you keep in your car that may not weigh much on their own – a bag of golf clubs or a stroller, for example – can add up to significant unnecessary weight if they are sitting in your car together all the time.
4. Have your car maintained regularly
Whether it’s getting your oil changed on time, replacing your air filter, or having a tune-up done, making sure your vehicle is properly maintained is key to saving money at the pump. Simply replacing your air filter on a regular basis can improve engine performance and gas mileage. Also, using the right grade of motor oil and having your oil changed on time can result in an increase in fuel economy. Add a simple tune-up and your gas mileage could be boosted by 4%. This goes to show you that properly maintaining your vehicle can pay off in the long run.
5. Be smart about when you fill up
There is no reason to top off your tank between fill-ups. Wait until you have a quarter tank of fuel to refill it. This gives you time to find a good deal on your next refill and you can benefit from hauling around less fuel (i.e. less weight) while you do. Also, when you do hit the pump, fill up your vehicle all the way. Spending money there might seem like you’re saving money but you are actually wasting fuel and time driving to the gas station more frequently.
6. Drive smarter, not harder
Only drive as much as you need to. If you can combine trips, do it. If you can carpool, even better. If parking spots are scarce, take the first one you find. If you can take the bus or train to work and it is cheaper than driving, do it. If you can ride a bicycle or walk to your destination, get some exercise while saving gas. If you’re stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, take a lesson from the trucks – ever notice how they don’t stop and go but keep rolling at a very slow, leisurely pace? They do that so they don’t have to keep switching gears (most trucks have manual transmissions) but it also saves gas because it takes less fuel to keep a vehicle moving than it does to take off from a full stop.
7. Know when to run the air conditioner
It has been said by many that running the air conditioner can burn through gas quickly. This is true only if you are doing city driving or are in stop-and-go traffic. If you are not driving on the highway, by all means, open the windows instead of running the A/C. If you are driving on the highway, running the air conditioner is fine. Keeping the windows up and the A/C on while on the highway cuts way down on wind resistance, thus burning less fuel.
8. Drive more efficiently
It can be tempting to put the pedal to the metal when the light turns green but doing that can empty your gas tank quicker than you think. Studies have shown that accelerating moderately and stopping gradually may cut fuel consumption by as much as 35%. Some experts even suggest that, when a light turns green, you should take your foot off the brake, let the car get to its coasting speed on its own (if the vehicle has an automatic transmission), and then accelerate. It only takes a few extra seconds and could help you save gas.
9. Map it out
Technology has gotten to the point where it can help you save fuel. Before you take a trip, use a map app or a mapping website to calculate the shortest and fastest route to your destination. If you do it right before you leave, you can even check the traffic to see if you might get stuck. If traffic is heavy, you can adjust your route accordingly.
10. Be a frugal shopper
When looking for a place to fill up, be choosy. It is perfectly reasonable to look for a fuel station with the lowest price. You don’t have to drive around to do it either. Thanks to advances in technology, you can now use a smartphone to look up fuel prices with cheap-gas-finding apps. If you don’t have a smartphone, there are quite a few websites that can help you find places to buy less expensive fuel. Another thing to be on the lookout for is gas stations that charge you more to pay with a credit card than cash. Keep some cash on you or hit an ATM before filling up to avoid being charged more.