Making Your Gas Dollars Go Farther
The reasons for improving your fuel economy are numerous, even when gas prices are low. Below is a list of tips that, if used in combination, can really improve your fuel efficiency and boost your budget.
Obviously, if you stop driving altogether, you’ll eliminate your fuel (and maintenance) costs altogether. LOL, this approach is simply not practical for most people, but driving less is worth thinking about.
-Plan and Combine your trips. Making several short trips from a cold start can require up to 2 times MORE gas, versus combining errands.
-Carpool or use Ride Share. It takes a little extra organization, but carpooling not only saves gas, but can save wear & tear on your vehicle. It can also save time as many urban freeways have HOV lanes for vehicles with multiple passengers which typically have far less traffic in them. Sharing a commute with a friend can even reduce wear and tear—on YOU!
-Work from home / Telecommute. If your employer has “seen the light” and allows for this, do it!
Since most of us have to drive, many of us want to know how to do it better. Here are some driving tips to help you improve fuel economy simply with the way you drive.
-Slow down and drive nice. Aggressive driving and excessive speeding can expend up to 33% more fuel. This is one of the most significant improvements in fuel efficiency you can make. This includes speeding on the highway, aggressive accelerations, and overall excessive speed. And I’m sure we don’t even need to mention that cutting your speed and aggressive driving habits can save a lot more than gasoline.
-Use your cruise control. Studies have also shown that using cruise control increases fuel efficiency and reduces driver fatigue as well. Just be sure you are familiar with how to use it—refer to your owner’s manual.
-Avoid excessive idling. Start driving as soon as you start up your car—no need to wait for it to ‘warm up’. The most current thinking on this is long as the engine has adequate oil pressure-which is normally 5-10 seconds after the car starts from cold, and sooner if warm, it is ready to be driven. Idling wastes ½ to ¼ gallon of gas per hour depending on engine size and use of AC. It is not necessarily recommended you shut off your engine at every stop, because excessive starting of your engine can wear out the starter and other parts. If you anticipate idling for a minute or more, then turn the motor off.
Inspect, Tune and Prepare Your Car Better
Virtually all of your vehicle’s mechanical systems can affect fuel efficiency if not properly maintained. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for checking the engine, cooling and ignition system, brakes, drive train and emission-control system If you are not a home expert, Joe’s Car & Truck Repair here in Colorado Springs can perform an inspection. Fixing a serious problem such as a faulty oxygen sensor can improve your fuel economy by up to 40%. Joe’s Car & Truck Repair also offers fuel injector and throttle body cleaning as well as more extensive services designed to give your higher-mileage car a boost in performance and fuel economy.
-Properly Inflate Your Tires. This is one of the most common tips you hear and it is very important, not only for fuel economy, but also for safety as well as for extending the life of your tires. Refer to your owner’s manual or the driver’s side door jamb sticker for the proper tire pressures. Check your tire pressures at least once per month.
-Reduce excessive weight and drag. Clean out your trunk and passenger areas and reduce clutter. Experts estimate that for every 100 lbs in excess weight, your fuel economy is reduced by 2%. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but at $3.65 per gallon, this costs you an extra $.18 to $.20 per gallon. If a gas station’s fuel was typically $.18 less than its competitors, you’d always buy from them, right? A 2% increase really adds up.
Drive a More Fuel Efficient Car
This seems obvious, but is worth mentioning here. Your particular vehicle has a maximum achievable fuel efficiency no matter how you drive and maintain it. Many gimmicky products have been introduced that claim huge increases in fuel efficiency, but few if any have ever been proven to meet the claims and some can actually harm your engine and reduce fuel economy. Think of it this way, if someone has actually invented a gadget or chemical to drastically increase your fuel efficiency, manufacturers would have already included it on your vehicle or specifically recommend you buy it.
A newer vehicle is going to tend to get better gas mileage when compared to models. Also worth considering is a re-evaluation of your needs in a vehicle. Maybe you’ve had a change in career, location, or other lifestyle change allows you to move to a more fuel efficient vehicle.
Thanks for reading and happy motoring. If you have any comments or questions, please contact us.