Who wouldn’t like to see their gas money stretch further? Better gas mileage means fewer trips to the pump and more money in the pocket every month. As appealing as this seems, it’s remarkable that few drivers rarely “work” at saving gas. The funny thing is that if you put just a modest effort into this, you can increase your gas mileage by 10-20% or more. And it isn’t that hard to do!
- Keep your tires properly inflated – A huge percentage of cars on the road today have underinflated tires. Look on the door jam of your driver’s side door and you will see a sticker that states what the optimum inflation pressure for your car’s tires is. Inflate all four of your tires to this amount and check them every month or so.
- Avoid full throttle starts - Flooring the gas pedal not only wastes a lot of gas, it leads to drastically higher pollution rates. How’s this for a fact: one second of full throttle driving produces nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as a half hour of normal driving. Unless you are in some sort of hurry, take it easy when you accelerate!
- Anticipate stops - Try to anticipate stop lights and stop signs and let your vehicle coast as much as possible as you approach them.
- Drive slower – A technician at Thompson Chrysler gave us a great fact: driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10-15%. It’s a simple as that! Cars are far more efficient when they don’t have to push a lot of air out of the way at high speeds.
- Combine trips – When you plan to run several errands at once, you accomplish 2 things: First, the amount of total driving you do when errands are lumped together is usually less than separate trips. This, of course, saves gas money. Second, you likely emit less pollutants also because your engine and catalytic convertor are fully warmed up for more of your combined trip.
- Plan your trips to avoid rush hour – No question, stop-and-go driving burns a lot more gas and increases emissions of smog-forming pollutants. It isn’t much fun either. With a little planning, and perhaps some leniency from your boss, maybe you can avoid peak rush hour traffic.
- Hot inside the car? Try opening windows to cool off before you turn on the air conditioner. In case you were wondering, air conditioners do use more energy than driving with the windows down. The solution is to avoid using the AC until the heat is unbearable outside. Believe it or not, this can increase your gas mileage by almost 10%.