Driving with fuel efficiency in mind makes a big difference, and can be simple to implement. Small changes in your driving habits can save you hundreds of dollars in gas each year, and reduce wear on your vehicle.
Drive sensibly and avoid aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking. Aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by 15 to 30 percent at highway speeds and 10 to 40 percent in stop-and-go traffic.
1. Avoid Idling
Idling vehicles use more fuel than drivers realize, which can increase their gas expenses. How much fuel a vehicle uses during idling depends on its engine size, weight and the type of fuel it runs on.
Idling also contributes to air pollution and global warming. An EDF report states that idling cars and trucks release 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
Taking steps to reduce unnecessary idling is an easy way to improve fleet fuel efficiency, especially as gas prices rise. Reducing idling is also good for the environment because it helps prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released into the air every 10 minutes.
2. Drive the Speed Limit
Driving at a speed limit is one of the best ways to save gas, as it helps you stay comfortable and maintain control of your vehicle. But you must be aware that there are many instances when the posted speed limit is not optimal, including on the highway or in construction zones.
In these situations, you must drive safely under the limit to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
A few extra seconds per day of driving at a more reasonable speed is a small sacrifice to make, but it can add up over time. Reducing your speed by 5 to 10 mph can improve fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
3. Invest in a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
Investing in a fuel-efficient vehicle is a great way to save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint. It’s also a good way to lower your overall vehicle ownership cost.
The EPA rates vehicles based on their city/highway/combined miles per gallon. Those ratings are usually the best way to judge whether or not a vehicle is a good fit for you.
Hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars are a great choice if you want to maximize your fuel efficiency. These vehicles combine a gas engine with an electric motor that operates when you’re idling or at slow speeds.
4. Use Cruise Control
Cruise control is designed to keep your speed consistent by allowing you to set the desired speed and the system will adjust the power input to maintain that speed. This is a convenient feature that could help save you money on gas.
In addition to helping to save you money on fuel, it can also improve the overall efficiency of your vehicle. This will reduce wear and tear on your car’s engine, transmission, and brakes.
The best time to use cruise control is when you are driving on a highway or a dual carriageway with no stops.
However, you should be careful with it when the road is wet or icy. Cruise control doesn’t recognize these changes, so it will keep its speed even if the road becomes more difficult to drive on.
5. Drive Smart
Driving smart while you’re on the road can help you get better gas mileage, and it can also save you money in the long run. Drive defensively, avoid distractions and stay focused on the road.
Speeding is one of the biggest culprits in wasted gas and poor fuel economy, so avoid driving too fast for your car’s capabilities.
Hard acceleration and sudden braking waste gas, too.
If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, you can’t afford to push the pedal to the metal.
If you’re on a long trip, slow down and take your time to make the turn or pass a vehicle. This is a good way to keep your gas tank full, and it will give you more time to stop for traffic or take the scenic route.