Your bad driving habits could be costing you
at the fuel pump. Following these driving tips will help you
save money on gas.
Easy does it. You might enjoy flooring
it at a stop light, but you're wasting gas and putting more
strain on your car.
"Any sort of lead-footedness is going to
give you worse mileage," says Brian Moody, road test
editor at Edmunds.com.
Driving aggressively out on the highway can
lower your car's gas mileage by 33 percent. Driving like a
hot-headed teen around town can pull down your vehicle's fuel
efficiency by 5 percent.
So drive like a grownup. Slowly accelerate after
every stop sign and stop light. Go easy on the accelerator
out on the highway.
Your car will thank you for it, especially if
you drive an automatic. An automatic transmission runs better
with gradual acceleration.
Be a smooth driver. Abrupt stops aren't
great for your car or your car's fuel efficiency. So anticipate
stops whenever you can. Letting your car coast to a stop is
a good way to improve your gas mileage. Using cruise control
out on the highway will help you maintain a smooth, constant
speed and may boost your gas mileage. Becoming a smoother
driver will help keep your fuel bills in check.
Follow the speed limit. Speeding is a
very expensive way to drive. Driving above the speed limit
may get you where you want to go in less time, but it also
means more trips to the gas pump.
"Driving at excessive speeds is going to
pull down your fuel efficiency," says Jim Kliesch, research
associate at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient
Economy and vehicle analyst for GreenerCars.com.
And the faster you drive, the bigger the fuel-economy
hit on your car. Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower
your car's fuel economy by 10 percent. Driving 70 mph instead
of 55 mph will lower your car's fuel economy by 17 percent.
So stop treating speed limit signs as suggestions and slow
down already. Obeying the speed limit is the safest and cheapest
way to drive.
Avoid rush hour. Not only is stop-and-go
traffic stressful and annoying, it's bad for your car's gas
mileage. So avoid driving at rush hour whenever you can. Stagger
your work hours so you can time your weekday commuting at
less busy times of the day.
Combine trips. You can save fuel and
cut down on the wear and tear on your car by choosing the
shortest route to your destination and combining short trips
whenever possible. Several short trips taken from a cold start
can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multistop trip of
the same distance with a warm engine.
Travel light. Remove any excess items
from your car. Less weight means better mileage. Carrying
an extra 100 pounds in the trunk of your car may cut your
car's fuel economy by 1 percent to 2 percent.
Clear the roof. A loaded roof rack increases
your car's air drag and can pull down your car's mileage by
5 percent. Avoid carrying items on your car's roof whenever
Go easy on the air conditioning. Roll
down your car's windows and let in the summer breeze. Using
the gas-hogging air conditioning as sparingly as possible
will give your car's fuel economy a real boost. Air conditioning
can drag down your car's fuel economy by 10 percent to 20
On days when air conditioning is a must, first
try cooling your car the old fashioned way -- rolling down
the windows, opening the vents, peeling back the sunroof.
You'd be amazed how much hot air you can clear out of your
car just by opening up for awhile.
Flipping on the air conditioning full blast
as soon as you hop into a hot car is a big waste of gas and
Keep in mind, though, that at highway speeds, modern cars are more fuel efficient with the air conditioning on than with the air off and windows down.
Don't be idle. When you idle your car,
its fuel economy crashes down to zero miles per gallon. The
larger your engine the more gas you wind up wasting while
idling your car. Get with the times. Modern vehicles don't
need to warm up, so don't bother trying.
Watch your foot. Avoid resting your left
foot on the brake while driving. The slightest pressure could
cause a drag that will require additional gas. You'll also
wear out the brakes sooner.