Even though many of us are driving less these days–and gas is relatively cheap nationwide–you can still save at the pump with a few simple tricks.
If you’re planning a road trip, then you’ll definitely want to take advantage of these ways to save!
Take It Easy
The number one way to get better gas mileage is to avoid sudden starts and stops. Slamming on the gas to accelerate quickly burns more fuel than a slower, steadier drive. Ditto for braking fast. It’s better to decelerate by easing off the gas than using the brakes while driving. Give yourself plenty of space to stop at intersections and apply the brake gently.
The faster you drive, the harder your car has to work. That’s because as you speed up, wind resistance increases. According to Consumer Reports, increasing speed from 55 to 65 decreased fuel economy by up to eight miles per gallon.
Reduce Weight and Drag
Carrying cargo can have a huge impact on gas mileage. Roof-mounted racks for bicycles or other recreation gear are the worst offenders. However, even hitch-mounted racks are an issue. Although there’s less drag when the racks are empty, even then you’ll lose a few miles per gallon.
Don’t use your vehicle as a mobile storage unit, either. Your vehicle will have to work a little harder for every extra pound you carry. If you need to transport something heavy, drop it off instead of driving around for a few days (or weeks).
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Underinflated tires can cause a small drop in fuel economy. In fact, there’s nothing good about driving with underinflated tires. They can cause issues with steering and braking–and the tread will wear down faster, too.
Don’t Idle in Line
If you’re waiting in line for coffee, turn off your car instead of letting it idle. Experts recommend that you turn off the engine if you’ll be sitting for more than 30 seconds.
Use Cruise Control the Right Way
Cruise control is a wonderful invention. Not only does it make road trips easier, but it can also improve your fuel economy. Well… it helps on flat roads, anyway. If you use cruise control on terrain with lots of ups and downs, you may end up burning extra gas as your car tries to maintain an even speed.
Check Your Gas Cap
Accidentally leaving your gas cap off is bad news for your car and the environment. If you notice an issue, fix it immediately. Having a broken gas cap is just as bad.