15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

fuel-wallet-gaugeFor many drivers, changing your driving habits, or improving upon your driving habits, can actually improve your fuel economy up to 30% right away (depending on how you drive). The following tips on driving more efficiently and maintaining your car will help you improve the fuel economy of your car or truck. The more you can do, the more you will save. See how many of these you already do and possibly improve upon the ones you don’t.

15 Driving Tips For Better Fuel Economy

  • Use cruise control to maintain a steady speed on the open highway.
  • Know the correct starting procedure for your particular make, model and year of car. Don’t race a cold engine to warm it up.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine. Start driving right after the engine is started and warmed up, but avoid rapid acceleration.
  • Maintain steady speeds for the best fuel economy. A car uses extra fuel when it accelerates. “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.”
  • Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for merging traffic, slow-downs and red lights.
  • Travel at moderate speeds on the open road. Higher speeds require more gasoline use to overcome air resistance.
  • Use the air conditioner only when needed. Air conditioning dramatically reduces fuel economy.
  • Spark plugs should be in good condition. Spark plugs in lesser condition can reduce gas mileage up to 12%
  • Check the air filter twice a year. A dirty air filter increases fuel consumption and can cause poor performance. A dirty air filter can reduce can reduce gas mileage up to 20%.
  • Inflate tires according to the recommendation in the owner’s manual. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.
  • Use the right octane level for your vehicle – Using premium gasoline in an engine designed to run on regular doesn’t improve performance. Even some vehicles that call for higher octane fuels can run on regular unleaded, though with some loss of performance may occur. (Check your owner’s manual to be sure)
  • Be sure your gas cap is snug or tight. “Improperly seated gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S.”
  • Lighten up your load – Carry only the bare necessities. Don’t haul things around in your trunk that you don’t need. “For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy.” This will vary with the size of your vehicle (car, truck, van, suv, etc)
  • Reduce drag – About half of your vehicle’s energy is expended overcoming air resistance. (The other half is expended in acceleration.) Reduce your car’s workload — remove anything that might cause drag (such as luggage racks, bike racks, ski racks, etc)
  • Take care of car-care “incidentals” that can affect fuel use. For example, a defective radiator thermostat can waste gas by extending the engine’s warm-up time or decreasing the engine’s operating temperature. A stuck brake caliper can create drag, which also wastes fuel.

And Last … But not least … Drive less!

Walk – Ride your bike – Take public transit – Carpool – Combine errands – It’s may be obvious, but is  easy to forget … the less you drive, the less you’ll spend on gas.

Do what works best for you!