Search :

Slash Fuel Costs to Save Your Cash

Whether you drive a small hybrid or a gigantic SUV, chances are you can squeeze a bit more distance out of each gallon of fuel. At today's gas prices, an improvement of just one or two miles per gallon (MPG) can really add up. These ten gas saving tips have worked well for me over the years, and they can help you improve your car's fuel economy and take some of the sting out of high gas prices. Most of these tips will give you a very slight increase in MPG, but use several together and the fuel savings will add up.

1. Slow down
We're not talking about crawling along in the right lane backing up traffic. We're talking about staying within the posted speed limit or even a little over it. There's no magic number for optimal mileage; it varies from one car to the next. But if your car has a tachometer, try keeping it as low as possible in the highest gear. That's where you get the best mileage.
According to fueleconomy.gov, your gas mileage drops off sharply once you blow past 60 mph. By cutting your speed you can save 7 percent to 23 percent, depending on how heavy-footed your usual driving style. If you one of the "ten-over on the freeway" set, try driving the speed limit for a few days. You'll save a lot of fuel and your journey won't take much longer. (Just be sure you keep to the right, so you won't impede the less-enlightened.)

2. Check your tire pressure
Under-inflated tires are one of the most commonly ignored causes of crummy MPG. Tires lose air due to time (about 1 psi per month) and temperature (1 psi for every 10 degree drop); under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which means you need to burn more gas to keep your car moving. Buy a reliable tire gauge and check your tires at least once a month. Be sure to check them when the car has been sitting and they are cold, since driving the car warms up the tires along with the air inside them, which increases pressure and gives a falsely high reading. Use the inflation pressures shown in the owner's manual or on the plate in the driver's door jamb.

3. Accelerate with care
Jack-rabbit starts are an obvious fuel-waster -- but that doesn't mean you should crawl away from every light. If you drive an automatic, accelerate moderately so the transmission can shift up into the higher gears. Stick-shifters should shift early to keep the revs down, but don't lug the engine -- down shift if you need to accelerate. Keep an eye well down the road for potential slowdowns. If you accelerate to speed then have to brake right away, that's wasted fuel. Just because you can go from 0 to 60 mph in seven seconds doesn't mean you have to (unless you're trying to merge onto a busy highway). Aside from annoying other drivers on the road, you're wasting a lot of gasoline. According to fueleconomy. gov, you can save from 5 percent to 33 percent depending on just how manic you are behind the wheel.

4. Check your air filter
A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy. Air filters are easy to check and change; remove the filter and hold it up to the sun. If you can't see light coming through it, you need a new one. Consider a K&N or similar "permanent" filter which is cleaned rather than changed; they are much less restrictive than throw-away paper filters, plus they're better for the environment.

5. Hang with the trucks
Ever notice how, in bad traffic jams, cars seem to constantly speed up and slow down, while trucks tend to roll along at the same leisurely pace? A constant speed keeps shifting to a minimum -- important to those who have to wrangle with those ten-speed truck transmissions -- but it also aids economy, as it takes much more fuel to get a vehicle moving than it does to keep it moving. Rolling with the big rigs saves fuel (and aggravation).

6. Feel the breeze
Consider shutting off the air conditioner, opening the windows and enjoying the fresh air. It may be warmer, but at lower speeds you'll save fuel. That said, at higher speeds the air conditioning may be more efficient than the air resistance from open windows and sunroof. Bring an extra shirt in cases when you may be stuck in the heat and left in a puddle of sweat.

7. Clean out your car
If you're the type who takes a leisurely attitude towards car cleanliness -- and I definitely fall into that category -- periodically go through your car and see what can be tossed out or brought into the house. It doesn't take much to acquire an extra 40 or 50 lbs. of stuff, and the more weight your car has to lug around, the more fuel it burns.

8. Un-pimp your ride
Fancy wheels and tires may look cool, and they can certainly improve handling. But if they are wider than the stock tires, chances are they'll create more rolling resistance and decrease fuel economy. If you upgrade your wheels and tires, keep the old ones. For long road trips, the stock wheels give a smoother ride and better economy.

9. Downsize
If you're shopping for a new car, it's time to re-evaluate how much car you really need. Smaller cars are more fuel-efficient by nature, and today's small cars are roomier than ever -- one of my favorite subcompacts, the Nissan Versa, has so much interior room that the EPA classifies it as a mid-size. Worried about crash protection? The automakers are designing their small cars to survive crashes with bigger vehicles, and safety features like side-curtain airbags and electronic stability control are becoming commonplace in smaller cars. Also check out older used small cars, for even better savings. Out of production cars such as the Geo Metro are suddenly in high demand for their near 50 mpg capabilities.

10. Just don't drive
The fact is that if you can avoid driving, you'll save gas. Take the train, carpool, and consolidate your shopping trips. Walking or biking is good for your wallet and your health. And before you get in your car, always ask yourself: "Is this trip really necessary?"

About The Author Mike is a software developer, web designer, and loving father.Save on gas with a used Geo Metro.
Mileage And Fuel
Bmw Diesel Engines to be Made Available for U.s. Market
If You Are Looking Into A Hybrid You Should Consider The Toyota Prius
Why Gas Cards Make Perfect Cents
Upcoming Hybrids in the U.s. Market
Gas Prices Vary From Coast to Coast
Tips To Improve Your Gas Mileage
Convert Your Automobile to Run on Water - is it Scam?
Versa: the Newcomer to the Subcompact Class
Ford UK Invests 1 Billion
Some Benefits Of Hybrid Automobiles

more articles...

Sponsor