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Gas prices are soaring, and there seems to be no end in sight. But there are specific things you can do to improve your gas mileage, and save money.
As we all know, the prices of gasoline have been increasing over the last several years. While there are crusades to boycott buying gas from certain companies or on certain days, there has been little response. And while the government investigates collusion between the oil companies, not much has come out of it.
What are we going to do about it? Walk everywhere? Ride bikes? Take public transportation? These are all viable and practical solutions, however they aren’t an option for all of us. There are ways that won’t affect your driving, but can help to make your driving more economical and fuel-efficient. Here at Turbolts, we have compiled the biggest list of tips when it comes to improving gas mileage.
Start out slowly
A cold engine can burn up to twice as much fuel as a warm engine. And hammering on a cold engine could lead to troubles down the road. Take it easy for the first few minutes of driving until the engine warms up.
Give yourself time
Speeding burns gas a lot quicker than steady driving. Speeding is often a result of being in a hurry to get somewhere, whether you’re late for work, school, a meeting or an appointment. Allow yourself extra time to get to your destination and you can drive at a safe and efficient speed. It would help to listen to traffic reports that can give you an idea of the conditions you’ll face or situations to avoid.
Plan out your day or week and the tasks you have ahead. Try to take care of all of your errands in one trip rather than five. Once again, the warmer engine will burn less fuel than the cold engine.
Cut down on extraneous weight
If you’re hauling that’s one thing. Or if you’re carpooling, that’s OK too. But if you have excess cargo in your vehicle, it may help to minimize the weight. It stands to reason that less weight will amount for less stress on your engine, which means less fuel burned.
Use the cruise control
That is, if your vehicle has it. Maintaining a constant speed puts less strain on the engine to conserve fuel. Use it when possible.
Choose a gear
If you have a vehicle with a manual transmission, finding the optimal gear will save fuel. When your engine is running quietly, it has found the right gear. Shift until the engine runs smoothly, usually at an RPM between 1500 and 3000.
Be cautious with instruments
Some of the instruments in your vehicle can suck out some of the power. Sparingly use such instruments as rear window defroster, heater and especially the air conditioner. Normal headlights running during the day can affect crupower as well.
Keep the windows closed
Auto manufacturers aerodynamically design the body style of every car to displace air for the least wind resistance. With your windows open, this affects the aerodynamics, resulting in more wind resistance. This means your engine needs more power, meaning more fuel burned.
Start the car and go
Get into your car and take care of all your pre-drive rituals before starting the car. Letting a cold engine idle is a waste. Adjust the seat and mirrors, light the cigarette, read your directions, buckle up the kids, do whatever you do first. Then start the car and drive. For those in cooler climates, clear off your windows before starting the car. Again, a cold, idling engine will guzzle gas.
Avoid parallel parking
If possible, avoid parallel parking. Multiple forward/reverse maneuvering obviously burns more gas than a pull in/out parking.
There are also ways that will affect your driving, but will save you money down the road. While maintenance of speed is a great way to conserve your gas, there are more specific ways to drive in order to save.
Steady speed saves brakes
One of the best ways to maintain a constant speed is to be aware of the driving conditions and potential obstacles that lie ahead. For example, if you see a car merging onto the freeway ahead of you, change lanes rather than brake suddenly. This keeps a steady speed, and saves the brakes. Or, if you see a traffic signal or stop sign ahead, taking your foot off the gas and slow down. Too many drivers hit the gas then brake abruptly at traffic lights and stop signs. Anticipate the stop and slow down gradually rather than forcefully. Other thing to look out for: upcoming turns, faster and slower drivers, and brake lights ahead.
Manuevering stop-and-go traffic
Stop and go traffic can be a nightmare to you, but it can also be a burden on your engine. The best way to help your motor when you’re stuck on a freeway parking lot is to find and maintain a constant roll, a gradual and steady speed that has little or no fluctuation. By doing so, your engine will burn fuel at a constant rate and won’t burn fuel unnecessarily.
Using low gear on hills
Hills and inclines are also a potential waste of gas. Because your car is fighting gravity to get up the grade, your engine will burn more fuel than on normal, level driving conditions. Try not to race uphill. Instead, maintain a normal speed in a low gear. Other drivers may honk at you and even get angry, but you can wave to them when you see them at the filling station at the bottom of the hill. A technique for driving downhill is to roll in neutral. Giving your car gas while driving downhill is like tossing quarters out your car window as you drive. Rolling downhill using gravity rather than gasoline saves you money.
Take the less traveled route
A long yet less traveled route is far better than a short, heavily traffic road. Less traveled road can give you more room to implement different fueling techniques compared to being surrounded with all other vehicles. Not only you save fuel, but also time and stress.
Driving slowly technique
There are also techniques to use the more militant driver, but they must be done in a safe manner. Driving slowly can be hazardous on the freeway if not done correctly. The problem is that if you drive too slowly, you can become a danger on the road. To keep yourself safe on freeways, follow slower moving trucks. Other drivers see big rigs and expect them to drive slower than the flow of traffic. But don’t drive too close behind the truck. Remember, if you can’t see their mirrors, they can’t see you!
Stay on driving lanes
If there aren’t any trucks to follow, make sure you stay in the designated driving lanes. The left-hand lane is generally regarded as the fast lane, but it is actually called the passing lane. The lane is for faster-moving vehicles to use to pass slower-moving vehicles. The right-hand is called the merging lane and is designed for drivers to merge onto and off of the highway. All other lanes are called the driving lanes. These lanes are where you should do most of your driving. If you intend to drive slowly, stay out of the passing lane and the merging lane, unless you plan to pass or merge. This will help in the overall flow of traffic. Also, if your highway is equipped with a carpool lane, don’t drive in it if the flow of traffic is normal. Driving slowly in the passing lane, merging lane or the carpool lane makes you a road hazard.
It is important to maintain your vehicle in good working order. There are a few things to check regularly that will help improve your vehicle’s gas mileage.
Check your tire pressure
Tires that are low on air take more power to roll, especially on turns. Keeping your tires at the proper PSI (pounds per square inch, which is labeled on the tire) specified by the manufacturer will save fuel. The more experienced driver may think about increasing the tire pressure. By doing so, the steering will be lighter, however you will lose on overall handling.
Have your vehicle serviced regularly
Servicing your vehicle insures that it is running in tip-top shape. Make sure the mechanic checks your filters. A dirty air filter will require more gasoline to get the right mixture of air and gas, wasting it. A dirty or clogged fuel filter will increase the burning of gasoline.
Keep your car clean
It may sound stupid, but even a clean exterior can improve your gas mileage somewhat, though it may not be very noticeable. Dirt and other particles can cut down on the aerodynamics of your vehicle.
Buy the right parts
Although hypermiling can be done without buying additional parts or accessories, having them can literally improve your mileage. Parts like:
- Performance chips that lets you control the amount of fuel used during acceleration.
- Air intake that allows you to push less on your pedal during acceleration by lowering the restrictive air flow into your engine.
- New shocks sets to minimize suspension travel.