Cars come in all shape and sizes nowadays. Owning a car has become a necessity for all American families. It provides independence and freedom of movement. And all of us have been dreaming of owning one since high-school when we took the bus everywhere.
But there’s also a down side to owning a car. You need to have money for gas and for maintenance. And while gas prices have been going down, getting more miles out of your tank, is always a good thing.
Achieving this goal isn’t hard at all. All you have to do is simply be mindful regarding several things and you’ll take fewer trips to the gas station in no time at all.
Today, I’m going to share with you my top 7 fuel efficient driving tips.
1. Inflate your tires
Most neglect this small detail and that’s why I’ve placed it on top of the lists. Keeping your tires properly inflated saves fuel by reducing the amount of drag your engine must overcome. In your car’s manual, you’ll find a section that indicates the ideal maximum pressure for your car tires. You should also be able to find that information on the back of the fuel cap. Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4%.
In order to make sure your tires are properly inflated, keep a tire gauge in your car. Most will recommend that you check tire pressure once a month, but I found that if I do it weekly, I save a little more fuel. When you need to inflate the tires, either buy a pump or just visit a gas station with a free air pump. Pull up there, check each tire for the pressure level, and then fill up the tires, using the gauge every 30 seconds or so to check the level. Keep doing it until the tire pressure on each will is at the optimum value.
2. Don’t be a lead foot
Most people are guilty of this one. Heck, I was too. I would put the pedal to the metal once that stop turned green as if I were in a NASCAR race. While high-speed driving and jack-rabbit give us thrills, it also burns a pretty big hole in our wallets.
Press the accelerator pedal gently. A good rule of thumb for optimal fuel efficient driving is to take about five seconds to accelerate your vehicle up to 15 miles per hour from a stop.
Also going 65 mph on the highway instead of 75 can cut your fuel use up to 20 percent.
3. Don’t slam the brakes
Unless the road conditions demand it, avoid breaking hard. When approaching a stop sign or red light simply take your foot off the accelerator. Let the engine’s drop in power slow the vehicle, particularly by also changing to a lower gear. Coasting helps you conserve fuel and save money. It’s not only a fuel efficient driving habit, it’s also easier on your tires and brakes, which helps you save on maintenance and repair costs.
4. Open windows versus air conditioning ?
I found that this is one of the most debated issues when dealing with gas efficient driving. From my experience, it’s not that clean cut.
We all know that air conditioning gobbles down fuel using somewhere between 8-10% so not using it seems a no brainer, right? Wrong.
Having you windows open at high speeds not only decreases the aerodynamic of the car (thus increasing fuel consumption), but can also be dangerous. My friend James got into a pretty nasty car accident on the highway because of this. He was driving at 75 mph with the window open when a gust of wind blew a ton of dust into his face. Startled and not being able to keep his eyes open, he lost control of the car and went off the road. The car flipped and he was seriously injured, but luckily he made it.
This inspired me to do a little more research into this issue. I found out that having your windows open in order to avoid the use of air conditioning becomes fuel inefficient above the speed of 60mph. That’s the moment when air friction due to the car’s loss in aerodynamics starts slowing you down significantly. The engine must make up for this drag by burning more fuel and this effect only increases if you are driving through a windy storm.
5. Minimize the weight
Unless you are going on a long trip, having your trunk full of things is a bad idea. For every 100 pounds of weight in your vehicle, fuel economy decreases by one to two percent. Please note that placing bulky items on a roof rack will also lead to increased fuel consumption due to air drag.
6. Turn off the engine will idling
Most cars don’t need to be “warmed up” by idling before setting off. This simply wastes fuel. Start your car when you are ready to go. Once on the road, minimize fuel wasted in idling by stopping the engine whenever your car is stopped or held up for an extended period of time.
By having the engine switched off, even for a short period, you will save more fuel than is lost from the burst of fuel involved in restarting the engine. The net increased wear and tear from this practice is negligible. Some modern cars cut off the engine automatically if idling for more than 3 seconds.
7. Keep up with maintenance
This is very important. If you don’t take care of your car, all the tips & tricks in the world will not make your driving fuel efficient. Every automobile’s owner’s manual has a list of recommended maintenance interventions, along the recommended mileage for the car’s service. Not only do these maintenance stops extend the life of your car, they also help quite a bit with fuel efficiency. A faulty engine always burns more fuel than it was initially designed to.
These simple tips will get you more miles for your buck and also keep you safe when you’re on the road.
What other fuel efficient driving tips you know of? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.