With gas prices expected to rise all throughout the year, drivers will have to be mindful of their gas mileage. Here are a few ways to spend less money on gas by increasing your car’s efficiency in using it.
1. Drive sensibly.
To put simply, aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) is a waste of gas. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this kind of driving can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Plus, aggressive driving puts more that MPG’s at risk. Sensible driving is immensely safer for you and others, while helping you drive more efficiently. That, to me, is a win-win.
2. Keep speeds lower than 50 mph, when possible.
While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. The U.S. Department of Energy states that for each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph, you accumulate an additional $0.15 per gallon for gas.
3. Be mindful of the cargo you’re hauling.
Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by about 1%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Additionally, hauling cargo on your roof increases aerodynamic drag (wind resistance) and lowers fuel economy. A large, blunt roof-top cargo box, for example, can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% at Interstate speeds (65 mph to 75 mph).
If you need to use an external cargo container, removing it when it’s not in use will save fuel and money.
4. Avoid excessive idling.
Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. A good rule of thumb is to turn off your engine when your vehicle is going to be parked/idle for more than 10 seconds, as that’s approximately how much fuel it takes to restart your vehicle.
5. Use cruise control.
Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
Aside from exercising these fuel efficient driving techniques, keeping your tires properly inflated and following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule will also help you save money on gas.