The cost of fuel is on everyone’s mind these days. Some people buy more fuel efficient cars to help reduce gas expenditure, some rely on credit card perks to shave off a couple cents, and others hunt for the cheapest price in town to make them feel like they scored a deal. Well, what if you could improve your fuel economy and save even more money without spending a penny on your existing car? That may sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Keep reading to find out how.
The first step in saving money on gas is to change your driving habits. The idea is to drive smoothly and efficiently. Rather than accelerating aggressively from a stop, ease into the pedal so that you accelerate up to speed smoothly. Studies show that driving aggressively can reduce your gas mileage by 10-40%. Being smooth isn’t limited to just accelerating – braking play a huge part too. Instead of stopping abruptly in traffic, look ahead and use a combination of gradually braking and coasting to reach the slowdown. The idea is, if the traffic begins to move before you reach it, you won’t have to accelerate as much to get back up to speed because you’re keeping most of your momentum moving forward.
Another way to drive smooth, is to be efficient with your routes. If you’re running multiple errands, be sure to plan your route so that you’re not backtracking, or driving in circles to each destination. The less total miles you drive, the less gas you use. To improve on this further, if you have a non-urgent errand today and several tomorrow, wait to do all of them at once.
This next step is similar to the last – changing your driving habits by reducing your speed means increased fuel economy. According to the US Department of Energy, for every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like spending $0.20 more per gallon, or reducing your fuel economy by 7%. In addition to being more efficient, it’s safer too. Instead of speeding and throwing money out of your tailpipe in process, slow down just a bit and you’ll be a little richer and safer at the same time.
One of the most overlooked maintenance tasks on your vehicle is checking your tire pressure. Not only does incorrect tire pressure reduce your fuel economy, but it also leads to premature wear – both of which will cost you. For every 1 psi drop in tire pressure, expect to lower gas mileage by 0.2%. Now that may not sound like much, but when you consider that the average American drives over 13,000 miles a year, that little number adds up quickly.
If the inside of your car or trunk is like a small storage locker, consider emptying it out to save yourself money. According to fueleconomy.gov, for every 100lbs of extra weight in your car, you can expect to lose 1% in fuel efficiency. You may be surprised how quickly the weight adds up as you empty out the trunk. As an added bonus, your car will feel roomier and may even smell a bit nicer too.
In recent years, there’s been a growing trend of adding a roof rack to your car, whether it’s for hauling a roof box, bikes, skis, or even just aesthetics. One thing you may not know about this popular accessory is that it may be costing you up to 25% more in gas. Even more alarming, roof racks were responsible for almost 1% of the country’s annual fuel consumption! The takeaway here is, if you’re not using it, remove it.
Regardless of the type of car you drive, or where you live, making these simple changes to the way you drive can save you a considerable amount of money. Not only that, but you help reduce global gas consumption and the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere, both of which are good for our planet. In addition, you’ll put less wear and tear on your car, which means less money spent in maintenance and repairs. Little changes can make big differences!