Improve your gas mileage.
Improper driving habits could be costing you a lot in terms of fuel as well as wear and tear on your car. One Natural Resource Defense Council analysis determined that the average driver can save about $800 per year with more efficient driving and maintenance strategies.
How to improve your gas mileage:
Change Your Driving Style
- Avoid Aggressive Driving: Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
- No Idling: If you’re waiting to pick up someone up, trapped in a huge traffic jam, at the ATM, drive through, car wash or even a very long light, turn off your engine. Across the country, idling cars waste millions of gallons of gasoline every day. If your wait is longer than 30 seconds, restarting the engine uses less gas than leaving it running.
- Use Cruise Control: Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
- Use Overdrive Gears: When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
- Check Your Tire Pressure: More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have under-inflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. Properly inflating tires or buying low-rolling resistance tires could increase fuel economy by 3% or more.
- Change Tires at End of Season: At the end of the snow season, when it you no longer reasonably need your snow tires, change back into your normal tires. Snow tires have a lot more road resistance and slow you down. Also by changing your tires as soon as you can will help keep them in good shape for longer.
- Regular Maintenance: Take your car in for regular maintenance (check your owner’s manual to find out how often your car needs a tune-up). Following the recommended maintenance schedule keeps your car running better and longer. A poorly tuned or poorly maintained engine can increase gasoline consumption by as much as 4%.
- Use the Recommended Motor Oil: Use the motor oil grade designed for your engine and choose a fuel-efficient oil marked with the “Energy Conserving” label by the American Petroleum Institute. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2%.
- Unload: There’s no need to carry around heavy items and items that cause drag on your car. Remove heavy items from your trunk, unnecessary boxes, and especially roof racks and rocket boxes on top. Removing heavy items from your trunk and roof racks can improve fuel economy by 2%. And a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5%.
- Try a Different Gasoline: Consider switching from premium to mid-grade or regular gasoline for vehicles that do not require premium. Consult your owner’s manual first.
- Share A Ride: Share a ride to work, telecommute or use transit. If each commuter car carried just one more passenger once a week, we would cut America’s gasoline consumption by more than 50 million gallons each week. And commuting by car one day less per week saves you $236 per year on average.
- Shift Driving Hours: If you tend to drive during peak times and encounter heavy traffic, consider shifting your commute times to an hour before or an hour later. Not only will this save you time not, but it will also reduce gas wasted while waiting in traffic.
- Combine Errands: Choose to run errands all at once on the same day and decide on an efficient route that will help you avoid back tracking. Also, pick areas of town that include multiple stops in one area, that way you can park your car once and walk to everything.
- Park in the Shade: Gasoline evaporates in the heat and does so quicker in the hot sun. Park in the shade if possible to minimize evaporation. Also, by keeping your car cooler, you’ll need less A/C to cool your car when you get back.
- Buy an Efficient Car: If you’re in the market for a new car, get one that uses less gas, such as a hybrid. Compare models in the same class and pick the one with the highest miles-per-gallon rating.