Top 25 Fuel Economy TipsTuesday, July 22, 2008 10:27
Has the recent spike in gas prices had a big financial impact on you? For almost every person driving, gas prices have impacted them in one way or another. We have decided to produce a list to help lessen the impact of rising gas prices. Here are the top 25:
Planning is Essential
Finding the best gas prices:
Use tools on the internet such as GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. Prices can fluctuate greatly in different areas, finding the cheapest stations will save you tremendously.
Research a Wholesale Alternative
Costco, Sam’s Club and Safeway stores sometimes offer their members discounts of up to ten cents per gallon on gasoline if you are a member. Our local Safeway store gives us a ten cent discount on gas after we spend $50 on groceries.
Alter your commute time
If at all possible; schedule your trips and errands for times when there isn’t as much traffic on the roads. In an incredibly comprehensive research paper, Omninerd found that commute times varied greatly depending on the time he left his house. If your schedule allows it, try traveling to your destination earlier or later in order to avoid rush hour.
Combine your trips: Instead of impulsively driving, schedule a list of errands and complete them in one drive. If you need groceries, a hair cut and have to pick the kids up from school, do them all in one trip.
Lose the extra weight
Don’t pack your car with unneeded weight as it can greatly affect your fuel economy (Subwoofers, golf clubs, etc). Bankrate has stated that “For every 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy.”
Air resistance plays a big role in preventing your vehicle from moving. You car uses about half of the energy produced simply to disperse the air. (The other half is used in acceleration). Help your car reduce drag and remove anything that may adversely affect its drag: bicycle racks, cargo units (like a Thule), etc.
Fuel Efficiency with your Car
Purchase a fuel-efficient car
If you are in the market for a new car, fuel economy should absolutely be considered.
- For the best cars on gas: the most fuel-efficient vehicles tested
- For the best SUVs on gas: fuel-effective SUVs
- For the best performance but also good on gas vehicles that are fuel efficient and perform
Maintenance is Key
A car in poor running condition will use additional gas than one that has been maintained properly. According to this checklist at AAP, an unclean air filter can reduce your gas mileage up to 20 percent. Spark plugs can have a similar effect, reducing mileage up to 12 percent.
Consider Synthetic Oil
There have been numerous studies on the fuel efficiency of synthetic oil. While it does cost more for an oil change, the savings can recouped with better MPG.
Be cautious of worthless fuel efficiency products
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has commented on these products saying most gas-saving products are worthless: “Be wary of any gas-saving claims for automotive devices or oil and gas additives. Even for the few gas-saving products that have been found to work, the savings have been small.” Consumer Reports also noted “Don’t waste your money.”
Tire Pressure is important!
Under inflated tires are not just dangerous — they significantly reduce your fuel economy (By up to 25%). Over inflated tires are also inefficient in achieving optimal fuel economy. Balancing tires and keeping them aligned is also very important.
Drive at a constant moderate speed
Edmunds.com found that the best way to improve fuel efficiency was to accelerate slowly and to brake over a longer distance. Aside from purchasing a new vehicle, this is the single most effective step you can take to reduce your costs. According to fueleconomy.gov: “As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas.”
Acceleration and deceleration will reduce your gas mileage. By eliminating the human interaction with the gas pedal, you will be able to improve fuel effificiency.
As a general rule if you are idling more than 30 seconds shut your vehicle off. Starting your vehicle does use a surge of gas but not enough to justify not shutting your vehicle off.
Anticipate upcoming stops
Stopping greatly affects fuel economy. Rather than race to each stop light, go at a slower pace so you are constantly moving instead.
You always hear that Air Conditioning significantly reduces your gas mileage. While this is true, driving with your windows rolled down has an impact on the drag of your car. Either way results in about a 10% reduction of fuel efficiency. According to research results show there isn’t a noticable difference between driving with the windows down or using the A/C. Consumer Reports preformed similar tests with similar results:
“A/C uses about 1 mpg, but safety (and comfort) increase with use. Opening windows made no significant difference in our gas mileage.”
When on the freeway try to find a large truck or car that will enable you to ‘draft’ behind the vehicle. This significantly helps reduce the drag produced by your vehicle and will save you a few cents at the pump!
Reduce your Driving all together!
The best way to save gas altogether is to stop driving. Use alternative modes of transportation such as bicycling, carpools, public transportation, etc.
When Buying Gasoline
Wednesdays are cheapest
“Gas prices are statistically the cheapest on Wednesdays, but this is only true over a large number of days. Obviously it won’t always be cheaper. Quoted from WikiHow, ”Gas prices often jump before holidays, too”.
A few cents are not worth the longer travel
Certainly buying gas at a cheaper location saves you money, but if it requires you to go a few miles out of your way sometimes it isn’t worth it. If you calculate the cost t
Purchase gas during the coolest times of the day
HowToAdvice.com states: “During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind – gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel”. When you fill your tank up, you don’t pay according to density so make the best and get the most out of your fill up.
Use the correct gasoline octane level required for your vehicle
A common misconception about gasoline octane is that the higher the octane, the better the mileage you get. This isn’t necessarily true. High performance cars or vehicles requiring high octane levels will benefit from the higher octane, but if you vehicle isn’t designed for premium fuel, don’t buy it.
Topping off your tank isn’t worthwhile
Overfilling often leads to wasted gas. Allow the pump to stop the gas flow.
Tighten your Gas Cap
AAP: “Improperly seated gas caps allow 147,000,000 gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S.”
Gas credit cards often have incentives to save a few cents on gasoline.
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