The cost of commuting, running errands, or vacationing by car has risen sharply with higher gasoline prices, but you can significantly lower your driving costs with these gas-saving tips:
- Don’t drive a gas guzzler. Do you really need that SUV? Six cylinders instead of four? How about that big pickup truck?
- Keep your car properly maintained and tuned. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25% more gas.
- Use steel-belted radial tires. They increase gas mileage up to 10%.
- Don’t use high octane gas unless your car is pinging and knocking or you have a high-performance engine and the manufacturer recommends premium gas.
- Check your tire pressure weekly. For every pound of underinflation, you can lose up to six percent in gas mileage, so if your tires are five pounds underinflated, you’ll use up to 30% more gas.
- Don’t top off your tank when pumping gas. On a warm day, gasoline expands and can overflow.
- Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes.
- Save fuel by combining errands into one trip and avoid backtracking whenever possible.
Wasteful driving habits can double your fuel consumption. Develop gas-saving habits, such as:
- Always accelerate gently.
- Watch traffic ahead of you so you can anticipate slow-downs and avoid stops.
- Coast up to traffic jams by lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of approaching at full speed and slamming on the brakes. It takes 20% more gas to accelerate to normal speed from a full stop than it does from four or five miles per hour.
- Don’t drive too fast or too slow. It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph.
- Maintain a steady speed on the highway. Avoid getting stuck behind slow cars where you have to slow down to their pace and then speed up to pass.