With today’s ever-increasing gas prices, it seems almost everyone wants to know how to save money on gas and get better gas mileage. Getting better gas mileage means you’ll fill your tank up less and have the instant gratification of seeing your savings.
However, did you know that by improving fuel mileage, you might enjoy other benefits such as reducing or avoiding expensive vehicle repairs or lowering the odds of getting a speeding ticket?
Because you’ll be putting less wear and tear on your car, it will probably last longer, which means you won’t have to replace it as often (more savings for you).
Finally, no matter what your opinion is on climate change and sustainable consciousness, decreasing your fuel consumption does help lower your carbon footprint.
1. Avoid Rough Terrain and Mountains
According to the experts at FuelEconomy.gov, gasoline fuel efficiency improves when you drive on paved roads with little or no hills or mountains. However, at some point in time, you may need to travel in areas with mountainous terrain or drive on unpaved roads.
Depending on where you live, this could be an occasional event such as going on vacation or a daily event as you travel to the places where you live, work, play or worship. A tip to get more gas mileage when driving in hilly areas is to take advantage of inertia and coast when going downhill.
2. Tame Your Lead Foot
“Putting the pedal to the metal” may work for high-speed chases in action-packed movies and television shows, but it’s a poor practice when striving for maximum fuel economy. It’s better to accelerate slowly, maintain a steady speed, and avoid sudden stops.
Fast acceleration, sudden starts and stops, and other aggressive driving techniques can lower gas mileage from 5% to 33%* depending on whether you are driving in town or on the highway, so this one tip has the potential to save money while increasing fuel mileage. As a bonus, driving responsibly helps prevent accidents and injuries or fines for breaking traffic laws.
3. Cruise On Down the Highway
If your car is equipped with a cruise control feature, put it to work boosting gasoline fuel efficiency. Remember, maintaining a constant speed is a good way to get more miles per gallon.
4. Don’t Idle
You may not realize just how much it costs to let your car idle while going through the drive-through window at the bank or fast-food restaurant or while you are stopped in traffic.
Letting the motor idle can use as much as a half of gallon of gas, which can be quite costly given today’s high costs of gasoline.* If you have no choice but to let the motor idle, turning off the air conditioner will help save a little on the overall fuel consumption.
5. Drive Less
Driving less does not have to mean you become housebound. What it does mean is investing a little time in planning and grouping trips to make the most efficient use of time and fuel. For instance, if you know you have to pick up a child attending an extra-curricular event at a distant location, see if you can do any other errands while you are there. Can you combine a shopping trip with the pick-up?
6. Follow Manufacturer Recommendations for Fluids and Maintenance
Read the owner’s manual and use the fluids recommended for your vehicle. You’ll be assured your car is working at peak efficiency, which translates into better fuel economy. As a bonus, you’ll reap the soft savings of having to repair the vehicle less frequently.
7. Follow the 3-Second Rule
Following other cars too closely is dangerous and illegal. It’s also costly because you must constantly apply the brakes to keep from hitting the other vehicle. If you follow the three second rule, you’ll maintain a safe distance, avoid accidents and injuries, and improve your fuel efficiency.
Three Second Rule
As the car in front of you passes a landmark like a sign or mail box, start counting. Mark the time when you pass the same landmark. Your goal is to pass the landmark no sooner than three seconds after the first car passes it.
8. Heed Indicator Light Warnings
Warning lights are installed by auto manufacturers to alert the driver to potential problems. Ignoring a check engine light or other indicator light could cause reduced fuel efficiency and maybe even damage your car.
Take your car to the dealership or an authorized service outlet whenever you see an indicator light warning or for regularly scheduled maintenance visits, and you’ll be protecting your bank account as well as preventing excessive wear and tear on your vehicle by keeping it well maintained.
In addition, check your tire pressure regularly especially in summer and winter when temperature variations can cause it to fluctuate. Properly inflated tires increase fuel efficiency and could save you from a delay caused by a flat tire or an accident caused by an under-inflated tire.
9. Lighten Up Your Load
Isn’t it strange how cars seem to attract clutter? You had good intentions of dropping off those 20 bags of unwanted household goods and clothing at the local mission but somehow, time slipped away and you ending up hauling them all over town all week. Unfortunately, hauling around extra weight hinders vehicle performance and causes the car to use more fuel. You can save yourself between 4 to 7 cents per gallon by lightening up your load, especially if you drive a smaller vehicle.*
It’s just as important to limit the weight carried on the outside of the vehicle as that carried on the inside. Remove bike racks and other equipment carriers when not in use and be judicious about using your vehicle to tow other vehicles such as small trailers.
10. Obey the Law
Driving the speed limit and following the other rules of the road helps maximize gasoline fuel efficiency and keeps you safer. For example, would you willing pay an additional quarter per gallon for gasoline every time you fill up the tank?
According to fueleconomy.gov, it costs $0.25 for every 5 miles you drive over 50 mph. You don’t need to be a math major to see how driving too fast skyrockets fuel costs through the roof – not to mention the fines you’ll have to pay if you get a speeding ticket.
Bonus Tip: Plan Your Trips
We touched on this briefly, but it’s amazing how pre-planning can help with saving money on gas. For instance, if you travel a route every day and notice a sign telling you there will be construction in that area for the next six weeks, you might save some time and avoid wasted gas caused by having to let your car idle in a long line of stopped traffic if you choose a different route.
Planning longer trips such as business trips or vacation travel makes sense as well. The wealth of information available on the Internet today makes it easy to plot a route that allows you to take advantage of freeways to detour around major cities and congested areas and avoid construction or other delays.
If you make a commitment to save money on gas and follow through on your commitment, you may be pleasantly surprised to find you can get more miles per gallon while keeping more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket. Your car will perform better because you are keeping it in peak condition, so time spent commuting is more enjoyable and stress free.
Employing energy saving solutions like these make you feel good because you are doing your part to protect the environment and be a good environmental steward. Given all these potential benefits, what do you have to lose by trying some of these ideas to save money on gas and get more miles to the gallon?
What’s your favorite tip for lowering your fuel costs on your vehicle?
*Savings percentages and estimates based on information found on fueleconomy.gov
Fuel prices image by hisks under royalty free license via SXC
Filling up the tank image by resposta under royalty free license via