Ten Things You Can Do Today to Reduce Gas Consumption
You want to spend less money every time you fill up, so here are ten easy-to-do adjustments that will make your vehicle run better, safer and with greater fuel efficiency:
- Keep your vehicle tuned up. A smooth running vehicle will always use less fuel than one that huffs and puffs its way down the road. A professional tune up will increase MPG by as much as 4 percent. Fix a more serious problem such as an oxygen sensor and you'll improve your mileage as much as 30 percent.
- Keep your vehicle clean. Wind races smoothly over a clean car while mud on the undercarriage weighs it down.
- Combine your trips. Reduce the many trips between your house and the places you must go each day. Cut back on a few and you'll be buying less gas and putting fewer miles on your vehicle.
- Keep a gentle foot on the accelerator. Aggressive driving (rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town. Sensible driving can save your life as well as save your gas money. So don't stomp on the gas to leap out at intersections or to pass the guy in front of you.
- No lengthy idling. The worst mileage you'll ever get is when you're going nowhere and your engine continues to run. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Those ten – twenty minute waits can turn into dollars spent on fuel.
- Limit how long you warm-up your car in the winter. Need an explanation? See #5 above.
- Get the junk out of your trunk. Extra weight in the trunk means your engine has to work harder.
- Slow down. You might find this hard to believe, but you can improve your gas mileage as much as 15% if you drive at 55 mph rather than 65 mph.
- Use cruise control. When you maintain a constant speed you use less fuel.
- Inflate your tires properly. You will improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure on all four tires. Also, properly inflated tires last longer and are safer for you and your family.
Turning off your air conditioner to save gas is a MYTH
Well, maybe. Technically, turning up the air conditioning does burn more gas, especially at low speeds or in city driving. But when you approach highway speeds with your windows rolled down, the drag created by the open windows cancels out the extra fuel used to run the compressor, which is actually less at higher speeds when the engine is already turning out more RPMs anyway. Don't feel guilty about running the AC on your next road trip.