We love driving cars. Unfortunately, the traditional internal combustion engine burns gasoline that emits harmful gasses into the environment. In addition to emissions, extracting fuel from the earth can be an energy-intensive process that can harm local ecosystems. While we don’t plan on ditching our cars any time soon, there are a lot of simple driving tips you can use to save gas. Using less gasoline will have a positive effect on your bank account, and the environment. Try these out today, and you’ll notice the gas meter in your car points toward the F a little while longer. What better time to change your driving habits than on Earth Day?
1. Slow Down
As your speed exceeds 50 mph, your fuel efficiency will decrease dramatically. Fueleconomy.gov estimates for every 5 mph you drive over 50mph, it’s the same as paying an additional $0.15 per gallon of gasoline. For example, a driver driving 80 mph is hypothetically paying almost $1 more per gallon of gas than a car driving 50 mph.
One of the easiest driving tips to save gasoline is to coast. This takes foresight, but you can save a ton of gas by coasting longer and more frequently. Keep your eyes up at traffic lights. Most people accelerate all the way to the light, then waste all the car’s energy with sudden braking. If your timing is right, you may not even have to touch the brakes before the light turns green.
3. Accelerate Gradually
Driving aggressively can decrease your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds. That’s right. You could be burning 1/3 of your gasoline unnecessarily! Are you in a hurry to get to work? More often than not, fast acceleration only decreases travel time by a few seconds. Next time you’re driving in town, pay attention to drivers that accelerate quickly ahead of you. You’ll often meet them at the next stop light, having used much less gasoline than the fast driver did.
4. Use Cruise Control (Correctly)
In general, using cruise control will save gas by eliminating the inconsistent acceleration of the human foot. The only time cruise control could be detrimental to fuel economy is on a hilly highway. Cruise control has a tendency to ignore tip #3 while going up hills.
5. Inflate Your Tires
Here’s a simple tip you can use the next time you get in your car. Take a peek at your tires. Do they look low? Lower tires get lower fuel efficiency. Be sure to inflate your tires to the manufacturer recommended inflation level. However, be sure not to exceed this number, as this can be unsafe and cause uneven tire wear.
6. Get Rid of Junk
It may sound silly, but leaving junk like golf clubs or tools in your vehicle does reduce fuel efficiency slightly. Only haul what you need to get the most out of every tank of gas.
7. Avoid Rush Hour
While it may be unavoidable for some, avoiding rush hour will save gas. Rush hour is busy and unpredictable, causing drivers to break tip #1, #2, #3, and #4. Breaking 4 out of 10 gas saving tips is bound to add up.
8. Turn Off AC and Roll Down Windows
If you’re really frugal about gas usage, be sure to shut off the AC when it isn’t needed. Rolling the windows down also reduces efficiency, but it’s actually a more efficient alternative. While this argument has gone back and forth for years, Mythbusters concluded that having the windows rolled down is more fuel efficient than running the AC.
9. Avoid Roof Cargo
Fueleconomy.gov found that a blunt roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel efficiency by as much at 25% at interstate speeds! When possible, put cargo in the vehicle.
10. Buy an Efficient Car
If you’re commuting in a Hummer, maybe it’s time to consider a new vehicle. Car makers are continually improving fuel economy. Take a look at hybrid and electric vehicles on Carsforsale.com to find the best deals near you. Not sure what you want? Here are a few resources to help you consider the right fuel efficient car for you:
Let’s all work to take better care of the Earth this Earth Day. Next time you hop in your car, try out these gas saving driving tips and pay attention to your gas meter. You’ll be surprised at how much gasoline (and money) can be saved by developing a few simple driving habits.