How to be a more fuel efficient driver and save money on gas

Keeping tires inflated to their maximum recommended PSI is one way to improve fuel efficiency. NongAsimo/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Gas prices are in historical highs, averaging $4.80 per gallon in the US With the summer travel season fast approaching, more people are on the road, and the high gas bill is bound to hurt. To save money at the pump, be sure to use fuel efficiently while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

The transportation sector accounts for 27% of all national GHG emissions, making it the largest contributor of any sector. But if Americans reduced their personal driving by 10%, 110 million metric tons less carbon dioxide would be issued every year: the equivalent of shutting down 28 coal-fired power plants. To achieve this 10% reduction, each driver in the US would have to reduce their trips by 1,350 miles. Here are some simple ways to use less fuel and keep your tank full longer.

Stay up to date with maintenance

Taking care of your car and performing routine maintenance will ensure that it runs as efficiently as possible. Rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, keep air filter clean, and change engine oil every 3,000 to 4,000 miles. Properly inflated tires can also improve gas mileage by more than 3% (and it’s safer); Check each month that your tires are inflated to the maximum recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) for that make and model.

empty the trunk

Shed extra weight and don’t pack unnecessary items: Unable to unload vacation luggage, Goodwill donation bags, or sports gear from last week’s game can all add up to extra fuel. Excess weight creates drag on the engine and an additional 100 pounds can reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy by 2%, according to Forbes. Take what you need and leave what you don’t!

Shorten heating time

It’s nice to get into a car that’s already warmed up or cooled down, but those extra minutes burn fuel before you’re on the road. Older cars may take a little longer to warm up, but newer cars are ready to go in less than a minute.

An icy windshield or a warm-to-the-touch leather seat can increase warm-up time. Cover the windshield in the winter to prevent ice and snow buildup, and use a windshield sunshade in the summer to prevent the car interior from baking.

Improve aerodynamics

Reduce drag and make your car more aerodynamic, and more fuel efficient, by keeping your sunroofs and windows closed on the road. Roof racks and roof racks also add extra weight and reduce the car’s aerodynamics. Consumer Reports found that the mileage of a car fell almost 11% when a roof rack was added, and 19% with a roof rack and roof rack. Remove them from the car and store them inside after a trip, and reinstall them when you need them next.

Slow down, cool down

According to the US Department of Energy, while different cars reach their optimum fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage is generally slows down at speeds above 50 mph. So taking your time (and sticking to the speed limit) will help you drive more fuel efficiently.

Aggressive driving can use a lot of fuel; accelerating hard at green lights and stopping suddenly at red ones use more gas than doing more leisurely starts and stops. Drive at a steady speed and use cruise control on the highway when possible.

stop idle

If you’re picking up a friend, carrying groceries, or waiting at the curb, turn off your engine. uses at idle a lot of fuel — more than restarting the engine, according to the Sierra Club — and can use up to a gallon of gas per hour. That means skipping drive-thru and ordering inside is also better for your gas tank, and if, by some terrible stroke of luck, you find yourself stuck in stopped traffic, turn off the car until everything moves again.

Plan an Efficient Route

Wrong turns add up, just like sitting in traffic. The US Department of Energy reports that highway traffic can reduce gas mileage by 15-30%, and intermittent traffic by 10-40%. Avoid rush hours if possible, and check maps ahead of time to see which routes are congested (and how to get to your destination correctly). If the coast is clear, opt for the highway when possible to minimize repeated stops and starts.

Shift into high gear

When driving at high speeds, manual transmission vehicles burn more fuel when in a low gear. A car’s RPM (revolutions per minute) is higher in low gears, and the higher it is, the more fuel is used to produce torque and propel the car forward. At approximately 40 mph, a vehicle uses 25% more fuel in third gear than in fifthsays The Globe and Mail. Don’t delay shifting into a high gear once you can.

slide to a stop

Give yourself time to stop slowly for traffic lights and stop signs. If you see a stop ahead, slide slowly toward it instead of using the throttle and slamming on the brakes when you get to it. However, avoid skidding unless there is adequate distance between you and other drivers behind you; the absence of brake lights can cause confusion and accidents.

Opt for alternative forms of transportation

Instead of driving alone to work or school, coordinate with co-workers or classmates to ride together and split the cost of gas as many ways as there are people in the car. Or, skip the car altogether and opt for an alternative form of transportation. Especially for short trips, explore options on foot, by bike, or by public transportation. In large US cities, about 50% of all car trips are less than 4 miles, a distance that can often be achieved by bike, bus, or train. The best way to use less gas is to use nothing at all!

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