High gas prices have drivers across the nation seeking ways to save money at the pump. There has been an increase in sales of fuel efficient vehicles, but this is not the only way drivers can get the most of every gallon.
Driving efficiently can save gas
The way you drive has a significant impact on how much gas your car is using. Punching the accelerator when the light turns green may be exhilarating, but it also uses more fuel whenever you do so. Instead, take your time accelerating. This will allow the engine to do less work getting you to the next light, which will require less gas. Speeding in general can affect your vehicle's fuel economy. The U.S. Department of Energy reports gas mileage decreases quickly when you drive over 60 miles per hour. For every five miles over 60 MPH you're driving, it's like you're spending an average of 30 cents more per gallon.
Slamming on the brakes can have a similar effect as accelerating quickly, and these two actions can decrease your vehicle fuel economy by as much as 33 percent. To prevent yourself from having to stop short, make sure there's plenty of space between you and the cars in front of you on the road. This way, if they suddenly stop short, you'll have enough time to react, which will keep you safer and use less gasoline.
"Idle time is the devil's playground"
This common phrase applies to vehicles and fuel economy. Idling is one of the major ways many drivers waste gas unnecessarily. It may seem like it would take more gas to shut the vehicle off and restart it, but this actually only uses a few seconds' worth of fuel. A good rule of thumb can be to shut off the engine if you are going to be idling for more than 30 seconds. This may not apply when you're sitting in stop-and-go traffic, but if you're waiting for a friend in the driveway, there's no need to keep the car running. Many drivers may be tempted to let their vehicles warm up when they first start them. However, the engine will warm up just as quickly if you just start driving and you won't be wasting gas or time sitting around and waiting for optimal temperatures.
Maintenance is fuel economy's best friend
A vehicle that runs well will require less gasoline to run. Getting regular oil changes and replacing old filters can go a long way to using less gasoline to power your car. You should also consider inspecting spark plugs and fuel injectors regularly. A clogged injector can lead to a lean mixture in the combustion chamber. There won't be as much energy conversion from combustion and your car will wind up using more fuel to get the same power output as it would with clean injectors.
Spark plugs provide the ignition source for the combustion, so if they are not working properly, this can be detrimental to the engine's ability to propel your car forward. You can also look into other aspects of maintenance, including managing tire pressure. Too little air in the tires will increase the surface area on the road, which creates more friction and forces your vehicle to work harder, thus using more gasoline.
Following these helpful tips can help you get more out of every drop of gas. Regular maintenance will also keep your vehicle running better longer.