Without getting into a discussion of the potential causes, we can see a trend - gas prices are higher than ever and getting higher every year. It is unlikely that this trend will ever reverse itself by any measure if history is any guide. Motorists are more than ever moving to hybrids and smaller vehicles in search of a more fuel efficient vehicle. What a lot of you may not realize is that there might already be a more fuel-efficient vehicle than you think sitting right in your driveway. Its all a matter of making it so by tweaking your driving habits .
With some simple changes to your driving behavior it is relatively easy to squeeze another 10-15% more fuel economy out of your existing vehicle, regardless of how much of a gas guzzler it may happen to be. And that 10-15% savings at the fuel pumps will add up considerably over the course of a year!
- Check your tires. According to one large tire industry study, up to 25% of people are driving around with under-inflated tires. The Rubber Association of Canada claims that close to 200 million gallons of gasoline are wasted every year as a result of this. Under-inflated tires will wear unevenly causing more drag and resistance even while coasting. Check your tire pressure at least every couple of weeks and learn how to inflate your tires to an optimal level of pressure.
- Coast towards stops. Learn to coast towards red lights. If you can, get a sense of red lights that are about to turn green before you are about to stop. A car uses the most amount of fuel starting from a standing stop, which is why again, its also vital to try to eliminate as many “stop and go” bottlenecks on your commute.
- Watch your driving speed. Cars that are optimized to get good fuel economy at 55 MPH can eat fuel up pretty quick at 65.
- Shed extra weight. This might seem too commonsensical to even mention but you would be surprised how many of us are hauling around tons of unnecessary crap in the trunk of our cars. Even roof racks can contribute to extra weight. If its not vital to your day-to-day needs, put it in the garage. Every little bit of fuel savings adds up to the overall aggregate savings.
- Stay behind a transport truck. When on the highway, try to coast in the back of a transport truck and use as little gas as possible to maintain your speed.
- Apply the accelerator with a smooth and even pressure. Learn to use a consistent throttle pressure and avoid sudden forceful pressure on the gas pedal.
- Plan your errands more efficiently. This is simple, run as many errands as you need to in one route.
- Practice rat running. This is the use of secondary roads or residential side streets as opposed to the intended main roads in urban or suburban areas in order to avoid heavy traffic, lengthy traffic signals, or other obstacles lengthening a travel. Rat runs are frequently taken by motorists who are familiar with the local geography. Study your daily routes with online maps. Use maps to second guess any routes you have been taking. It could be there is a more efficient way to avoid a gas guzzling turnpike, toll, or off-ramp on your drive home.
- Avoid using “all season” tires in winter. If you live in a state with a fair amount of snow in the winter, it makes sense to fork out the bucks for a proper pair of snow tires. Also, clean as much snow off of your car as you can as snow and ice are wet and fairly heavy.
- Keep a log of your mileage. Do this every time you fill up to be consistent about it. Study the price per gallon, the amount used over the same period of time and try to eliminate any extra consumption where possible. Estimate the miles per gallon you are using for any anomalies.
- Be fastidious about maintenance. Something as simple as a clogged air filter can cause you to be wasting fuel. It is best that it is replaced every 12,000 miles or so, especially if you live in a rural area with a lot of dirt roads.
- Use the proper fuel. If your car is optimized to use a certain fuel only, you have to use it or else you could experience a lot of sudden stalls, misfires and knocking sounds. But if your owner’s manual says that premium fuel is “recommended”, then you can get away with using a lot cheaper regular gas.
- Use air conditioning in co-ordination with your speed. A/C should be turned off at low speeds, but at speeds higher than 40 MPH, the air drag created by having your windows rolled down actually starts to get more expensive than having them rolled up with the A/C on.
Stay behind a transport truck