Gas prices have reached an all-time high, and everyone’s feeling the pinch. And no one, not even the experts, knows when gas prices will go down. No wonder then that everyone’s trying to save gas these days. Check out our tips for fuel-efficient driving techniques to help you get more miles out of a gallon of gas.
Regardless of how much money you make, you’re probably feeling the pinch each time you drive up to the gas station. Prices per gallon in some states have almost reached $6 (We feel you, California!) But it’s not just in Cali. People all over the country are struggling. Nevada and Hawaii are also seeing pretty steep gas prices.
Right now, the prospect of getting better gas mileage is quite appealing to everyone. However, the question is, what is the best way to go about it? Also, how can you drive more efficiently to save money on gas?
Putting the ‘pedal to the metal’ wastes gas because the faster you accelerate, the more fuel you waste. Show a little TLC while you accelerate to help you save gas. While driving in the city, you can save fuel by stepping on the accelerator pedal gently. To be as fuel-efficient as possible, accelerate your vehicle from a stop to 15 miles/hour in 5 seconds. Imagine you have a cup of coffee on your dashboard. Accelerate in such a way that it does not spill. Lose your lead foot and save 10%-40% on gas mileage.
You lose forward momentum every time you slam your brakes. Look around to see how traffic is behaving. You can often see when it’s time to slow down well in advance. You will save fuel and money by taking your foot off the accelerator and coasting to slow down instead of slamming your brakes hard.
Avoid jackrabbiting at stops
Take your foot off the accelerator when you come to a stop at a light or in traffic. Actually, this is driving 101 – something you should have learned during your driving lessons. When the light turns green, or the traffic begins to move, begin driving smoothly, gently.
Don’t idle for long
It’s a popular misconception that sitting in your parked car does not expend gas. Newsflash – it does! The fuel consumption is lower than driving, but it still consumes gas. If you’re going to be parked for more than just a couple of minutes, turn off the engine.
Maintain a steady speed
When you don’t maintain a consistent driving speed, i.e., you’ll use more fuel if your speed dips and surges. It significantly increases the wear and tear on your vehicle. Accelerating suddenly may be exciting. But this is also is when your car consumes the most fuel. So unless it’s an emergency, there’s no harm in taking a little extra time to drive more carefully. Both your car and your wallet will welcome it.
Rapid acceleration is accompanied by rapid braking — the faster you slow down, the more speed you lose and must make up once cruising speed is regained. There’s no point in speeding up to a red light. If it turns green before you stop, you’ll lose momentum. This means the more speed you’ll have to make up and thus more gas consumed.
Avoid braking and stopping unnecessarily
Building on some of our previous points, braking suddenly is one of the more damaging factors to your mileage. That’s because it only results in more acceleration on the other end. Complete stops should be avoided unless absolutely necessary; compared to cruising speeds, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to bring a 3,000-plus pound vehicle to a complete stop.
Remember that coasting is your friend, especially in traffic. There’s no point in getting right on the bumper of the car in front of you if you’re not going to get any further ahead. Maintaining a slow speed will be better for your fuel economy and car’s components. It may also help keep traffic moving more consistently than a stop-start-stop pattern.
As we’ve been reiterating, speeding up will not improve your mileage. Maintaining a consistent speed that isn’t too fast (but isn’t too slow) will allow the car to operate at an optimum level, requiring less effort to maintain speed. As the car’s speed increases, the air resistance holding it back increases, requiring the engine to expend more power — and thus more fuel — to overcome it. The generally accepted happy medium speed is around 55 miles per hour, slightly slower than most highway speeds.
Use cruise control wherever possible
Using cruise control while driving on the highway will help maintain a constant speed and is a great way to save gas. Having your car on cruise control will reduce the number of times your vehicle slows and accelerates on the highway.
So if you’re mainly driving on level surfaces, use the cruise control to save gas. However, if you’re driving through a road with many ups and downs, you should maintain an average speed. Let your car to slow down (5 to 10 mph) when climbing and then gain a similar speed on the descent.
Keep an eye on your tires
It’s common knowledge that keeping your tires properly inflated within a few pounds of the maximum rating is critical for safety, but it also helps save fuel. The car has to work harder to move forward when the tires are low on air because the rolling resistance increases. While it may not seem like significant savings when multiplied by four tires and miles, the savings can certainly be worthwhile.
It’s also important to remember that changes in external pressure affect the air pressure inside your tire. Cooler air causes the pounds per square inch in the tire to drop, so it’s imperative to keep an eye on your tire pressure as the weather cools.
Keep track of your fuel consumption
Keep track of when you refuel and how long it takes between trips to the gas station. Make an effort to fill up your tank less frequently and space out your visits to the service station.
Don’t skip regular maintenance checks
Servicing your vehicle regularly is beneficial to both your engine and your fuel efficiency. When all of your engine’s components function properly, your car will run more smoothly. When your car runs smoothly, it consumes less gas. Use a car maintenance checklist to make sure your car is in ship shape.
Lose the excess weight
You might wonder if such a minor fix can help you save gas and be more fuel-efficient; it can! Simply because less weight inside your vehicle means better fuel efficiency. Removing unnecessary weight means the vehicle has to do less work to move forward, resulting in better gas mileage.
Turn off that AC
The use of air conditioning consumes gas. If you can get by without it in mild weather, even if you open the windows, you will save money. However, once it gets hot, turning on the air conditioning to cool the cabin and reduce humidity is a prudent outlay in your comfort and ability to stay alert while driving.
Don’t bother with premium gas
You can save money by not purchasing premium gas. Buy premium only if it is absolutely required. Your fuel filler door will indicate what type of gas is needed. Many vehicles list premium as recommended. This implies that it is optional. If only midgrade or premium fuel is available, this will work fine in a vehicle designed for regular gasoline.
Fill up on the good gas
Top Tier gas is worth spending on. It is held to a higher standard due to the voluntary participation of numerous gas station brands, including Chevron, Mobil, and Shell. Be aware that many well-known brands do not offer Top Tier gas. The gas contains detergent additives that help engines run more smoothly and efficiently. According to a AAA study, Top Tier gas has a cleansing effect on vehicles that use it, with intake valve deposit buildup reduced by up to 72% over the course of 5,000 miles.
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