Fuel prices are almost never at convenient prices for anyone. This it becomes more and more important to not only have a relatively fuel-efficient car, but to also drive efficiently and thus maximize your car’s fuel economy. This will benefit drivers not only by increasing your vehicle’s longevity; it can also help reduce the effects that vehicles have on the environment. Most of all it will save you money and make your driving experience safer. There are so many tips and tricks for getting the most from your full tank of gas, some you may not even be aware of.
HOW YOU DRIVE AND HOW YOU MAINTAIN YOUR CAR
When it comes to fuel efficiency, there are two classifications of factors that together produce the number of miles per gallon your vehicle can potentially deliver. Some owners don’t realize that vehicle maintenance has almost a direct effect on mileage figures. Regular maintenance like changing the engine oil that your vehicle manufacturer’s recommends (you can find this in the owner’s manual) is an integral element to proper engine care. Even regularly changing the air and oil filters, keeping the spark plugs in proper condition both help to maximize efficiency and also to improve performance and reduce harmful emissions.
The inflation, balance and alignment of your tires also factors into everything. This matters because when your tires are working properly, it actually reduces frictional resistance between the rubber and the road by, and that boosts the effect of fuel efficiency since the vehicle does not have to exert as much energy on moving. At the same time, be wary of the extra weight from cargo in or on your vehicle. The drag and/or increased weight created causes your car’s engine to have to work harder, thereby reducing efficiency.
Always keep an eye on your fuel economy and document the number of gallons and distance traveled at each service station stop. This gives you a good indication of how your driving habits affect fuel economy. Be on the lookout for sudden drops in mileage as this can indicate that you’re experiencing engine some problems.
MAXIMIZING YOUR MILEAGE
Driving “efficiently” is synonymous with driving “sensibly.” Aggressive starts and stops waste fuel along with speeding and are generally unsafe. You should observe the speed limit, as this can save fuel beyond simply keeping you out of the eyes of police. Both reasons essentially lead to saving money as well. There have been tests conducted that show that driving at the posted speed limit of 55 mph can save about 13% of the fuel you’ll burn if you were to increase your speed to 65 mph. Pressing the accelerator to propel yourself up to 75 mph will use up roughly another 12% more than if you’re going 65 mph. With a fuel savings of 25% when throttling back from 75 mph to 55 mph, it won’t take long to realize some serious savings, especially if you do a lot of open road driving.
Other tips designed to help maximize your car’s fuel economy:
- Use your air conditioner when absolutely needed. Rather than rolling the windows down to cool off, which creates extra drag, try keeping the windows up and utilizing your car’s ventilation system to provide a flow of air through the cabin. The AC/Heating systems use energy from the car and if your cabin is already at a comfortable climate, there is no need to turn them on.
- Most modern cars don’t require more than about a minute to “warm up” when started, so try to avoid excessive idling. Your car consumes fuel as soon as the engine is on, even when not driving. Similar how keeping the electrical systems in your car on can drain your battery, keeping your engine on even when not driving can suck up enough gas to shorten the duration of your next trip
- In addition to the above tip on idling, some newer cars have a start & stop system that automatically shuts the engine down when stopped. They are designed to restart once the brake pedal is released. These can reduce fuel consumption up to 5%, but even if your car does not do this, you can get similar results by turning off your engine if you’ll be idling for more than one minute. Many drivers do this when waiting for a train to pass a railroad crossing.
- Shade does not just help keep your interior cool and prevent sun damage on the dash and steering, it also allows for less fuel. A cooler car also leads to you minimizing your use of the ac/heater as well.
OTHER WAYS TO MANAGE FUEL ECONOMY AND SAVE MONEY
When buying a new car, you should always look into the miles-per-gallon rating. Buying your gasoline at a lower price obviously saves money but there is always a discrepancy in fuel costs from one gas station to the next. Some gas stations may have certain days of the week when fuel prices are reduced and you should try to fill up on those days versus the higher price days. The internet has made checking such factors a much easier endeavor than driving to every station in your area to shop and compare.