With soaring gas prices and an increasingly environmentally conscious world, many people are seeking new ways to cut back on fuel consumption and improve their gas mileage. Even adopting a few of these habits can greatly increase your fuel efficiency and keep that dial closer to “F” on your gauge.
1. Accelerate and Brake Gradually
Rapid acceleration and hard braking wears on your vehicle and consumes more fuel. Depending on your car, accelerating and braking gradually can improve your fuel economy by as much as 30 percent.
2. Avoid Using the AC
Running any electrical accessories, like your air conditioning and defroster, requires extra fuel, reducing your MPG. Try to avoid leaving the AC on, and crack the windows if you need to.
3. Keep Tires at the Correct Pressure
Under- or overinflated tires can reduce your fuel efficiency and safety on the roads. Check your tires regularly to make sure they are maintained at the level recommended by the manufacturer.
4. Don’t Idle
Idling wastes precious fuel as you sit in your driveway or on the street. If you know you will be waiting for more than a couple minutes, turn off the engine. You will not only save on gas, but you will also limit your emissions and carbon footprint.
5. Pack Lightly
Extra weight in the car is good in the winter when you need more rear traction; however, until then, keep the extra weight to a minimum. Heavy loads require more energy to move and, therefore, more fuel from your car. Travel lightly, and you’ll consume lightly.
6. Close Your Windows
There is debate over how much your windows affect drag and fuel efficiency on the road. A good rule of thumb is to keep them closed when you are on the highway to reduce that added drag at higher speeds, and leave them down on city roads in hot months (so you don’t overuse the AC).
7. Maintain Your Vehicle
No amount of good driving habits will make up for the benefits of a regularly maintained vehicle. Take your car in periodically to keep it up to date. Simple fixes like dirty filters and low fluid levels can greatly affect the overall efficiency (and lifetime) of your vehicle.
8. Combine Trips
Nothing saves on gas like fewer trips and less traveling. Wherever possible, plan ahead so you can combine errands throughout the week. Why do all your chores in five trips when you can do them in one or two?
9. Use Cruise Control
Cruise control saves on gas by keeping your car at a constant rate over long distances. Eliminating excessive acceleration and deceleration reduces the amount of fuel your car needs to expend to keep your car moving—saving you gas and money.
10. Drive a Fuel Efficient Car
Finally, one of the best ways to save on gas (and save money in the long-run) is to invest in a fuel efficient car. Many dealers are now producing their own lines of hybrid cars, so there are plenty of options to choose from to fit your particular needs and styles. From the Honda Fit EV, originally only available at Honda dealers in Los Angeles and other parts of California, to the Toyota Prius, compare your options to see where you can save the most.
Though gas prices are high, there are plenty of ways you can save on gas and keep money in your wallet. Just make a few changes to your driving behavior and car maintenance and you will see the difference!