There's more to saving gas than driving the speed limit. There are many ways you can reduce your overall fuel consumption but it requires thinking it through and formulating new plans.
As the commercials say, "Your mileage may vary," but applying these nine tips will definitely cut down on your trips to the gas station.
1. Choose Wisely
Not everyone can afford to replace a gas guzzler with a fuel-efficient car. If you are in the market for a new car, however, why not invest in a high-mileage, fuel-efficient vehicle? The U.S. Department of Energy has compiled a comprehensive list of the most fuel-efficient cars, beginning with the ToyotaPrius (51 mpg city/48 highway) down to the Lamborghini Roadster (8 mpg city/13 highway). Of course, if you can afford a Lamborghini, you likely don't care about the price of gas.
2. Maintenance Tips
Keep tires inflated properly and next time buy low-rolling-resistance tires. Keep an eye on your mileage and, if you notice it slipping, check for engine or brake problems. Regularly schedule oil changes and tune-ups, according to the guidelines in your user's manual. Check for worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, and low transmission fluid. While you're at it, have your wheels aligned, tires rotated and replace a dirty air filter.
3. Drive Sanely
Drive like Evel Knievel and you'll pay for the thrill. Wind resistance increases dramatically with speed so, for every mile per hour over 55 you drive, your fuel economy goes down by 2 percent. Speeding, sudden braking and jack-rabbit starts are notoriously inefficient ways to drive. Not only will driving sanely maximize your fuel efficiency but it will also reduce wear and tear on your vehicle.
4. Smooth It Out
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends "smoothing" your driving by accelerating and decelerating gradually and anticipating stops and starts. If you have an overdrive gear, use it as soon as your speed is high enough. If you drive a manual transmission, shift to a higher gear smoothly and as soon as possible without bucking. As the Car Guys say, "Believe it or not, due to an unexplainedEinsteinian time warp, you'll also get to your destination in about the same time."
5. Think Ahead
Plan your stops and combine trips to avoid extra driving. A warmed-up engine and catalyst operates more smoothly, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference. Avoid rush hour andyou'll spend a lot less time idling and wasting gas.
6. Clean Up Your Act
Remove all that extra crap you've been toting around for ages. Carrying an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by roughly one percent.
7. Don't Warm It Up
Unlike many older cars and trucks, modern vehicles don't need to warm up. They have automatic chokes so you don't need to step on the gas pedal before starting the engine. The majority of vehicles only need 30 seconds to warm up in cold weather. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it slowly until it reaches proper operating temperature.
8. Fill-er-up With Regular
Unless your owner's manual says otherwise, your vehicle will be just as happy with regular gasoline. Premium, high-octane fuels improve neither fuel economy nor performance and will just waste your money.
9. Prudent Parking
Park in the shade on hot days to minimize fuel evaporation. Clean out the garage and use it as much as possible to keep your vehicle cool in summer and warm in winter. If you have to park outdoors, windshield shades can cut down on summer heat and reduce frost in the winter.
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