Doing your own maintenance and repairs on your vehicle can have positive effects on your performance and fuel efficiency, but one area that many drivers overlook is their own habits on the road. It may hurt to admit it, but putting the pedal to the floor as soon as the light turns green probably isn't the best way to save on gas.
Paul Scott of Plug-In America recently offered some tips to the Los Angeles Times with regards to things you can do to improve fuel efficiency. Scott is an advocate for electric vehicles, and his driving techniques increases fuel efficiency for gas-powered cars as well as battery range for electric vehicles.
"The average driver in America is extremely inefficient in the way they drive," Scott told the news source.
Examples of this include accelerating immediately as soon as the light turns green. Not only can this be slightly dangerous, but it hurts your fuel efficiency. In fact, sudden acceleration in general can be a problem for gas mileage - instead you want to ramp up your speed slowly and smoothly. Some vehicles have an "eco-mode" to assist with this.
The brakes are another area where drivers can up their gas mileage. Hitting your brakes eventually means you'll need to accelerate again, which is where you lose fuel. Yet there are many instances where you can avoid using brakes. For example, keep multiple car lengths from the driver in front of you to reduce your brake usage. Also anticipate red lights and simply slow your vehicle rather than come to a hard stop - there's a good chance the light will turn green before you need to brake completely.
"I once drove from Long Beach to Santa Monica on the 405 during rush hour and hit my brakes only one time," Scott told the news source. "Part of that was luck, but it also was diligence."
Scott also has some extreme techniques. For example, rather than accelerate on the freeway, he drafts behind large trucks, much like a NASCAR driver. He also keeps his top speed around 60 miles per hour - something that less patient drivers may have an issue with.
Of course, maintenance comes into play as well. Keeping your tires properly inflated and performing regular tune-ups on your vehicle can also increase fuel efficiency, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.