You may not have control over the price of gas, but you can impact your consumption of it. The next time you hop in the car, consider these fuel efficiency tips to help save yourself an extra trip to the pump.
Take it Easy
When you are hurried or frustrated with drivers, take a breath before you decide to zoom ahead only to break hard at stops. According to the Department of Energy, rapid acceleration and sudden braking can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% on city streets. Is added gasoline cost worth the time you might save? Accelerate smoothly to a speed that can be maintained steadily without the need to slam breaks or take corners aggressively.
When you break free from rush hour gridlock, it’s tempting to leave everyone in the dust. But for every 5 mph that you drive over 50 mph, your gallon per gas consumption goes up $0.25. Think how annoying it is when gas prices go up even a few cents! If you search for the cheapest gas, and then fly down the highway at top speed, you aren’t saving energy or money. When you can’t keep a steady speed, utilize cruise control to help save gas.
A roof-top cargo box reduces fuel economy from wind resistance, but it packs on extra weight as well, which causes the vehicle to use more fuel. According to thefueleconomy.gov website, even leaving an empty box on your roof reduces fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, and up to 25% on the highway. Use rear-mount boxes or trays instead to get your fuel consumption down to 1-2%. And don’t forget about weight in your trunk or the vehicle itself.
When driving during short trips around town, you can economize fuel by driving with lowered windows. But when taking the long summer trip on the highway, it’s actually better to flip on the AC. Open windows will increase aerodynamic drag, which forces your car to work harder to move against wind at faster speeds. Air conditioning still adds to fuel inefficiency, so keep the temperature at the lowest setting that is comfortable for you.
Stop Your Engines
Idling can use up to a half gallon of gas per hour, depending on engine size and AC use. These days, most cars do not need much time to warm up in cold weather (a minute or less), and you get zero miles per gallon when you leave it running in your driveway. When running errands, go to your furthest destination first, and your car will stay warmed up and use less fuel for the rest of your tasks.
The best way to reduce your vehicle’s fuel consumption may be to walk, bike or carpool, but when you are behind the wheel, these tips can help you get the most from your fuel budget.