Summer is here again but long gone are the days where you could literally fill up your gas tank for about $10. While you won’t be able to control gas prices, there are a few simple things you can do to control your car’s fuel efficiency. Most of my driving is during the week driving to work or running the kids around with all of their extra curricular activities. When the weekend arrives, I try to do as little driving as possible. It I had to give you just one tip, it would be to drive only when you have to.
But, since that is not always a practical solution for most people, I took a look around the internet looking for the best tips I could find to save gas and here is what I found including my personal favorite….
- Drive only when you have too. Every time you go to put your key into the ignition to start your car it costs money. You’ll save a lot more in the long run if you make fewer trips.
- Avoid the rush hour. Driving during busy hours means more braking, more idling and more wasted gas. The best solution is to not travel during the rush hour. One Iowa based Ford dealer suggests that if you have to travel in rush hour a lot, then you could consider buying a fuel-efficient car which uses much less fuel in town than a normal petrol or diesel.
- Avoid excessive idling. If you’re going to be stopped for longer than one minute, turn your car off. In some cases, I read that by avoiding excessive idling you can save up to 19% on fuel consumption.
- Cruise Control can save gas. In my search, there was some debate on this one, but I think I am leaning toward using cruise control – I think it depends on the type of driver you are and the size of engine you have. In my opinion, it wouldn’t hurt anything but savings can be gained.
- Avoid heavy loads when possible—they use lots of gas.
- When possible, park in the shade. The summer sun zaps fuel from your gas tank through evaporation. For this same reason, park your car in your garage if you have one.
- Use the air conditioning sparingly. The fresh air can also do you some good.
- Keep your windows closed on freeways. I didn’t know this one, but apparently open windows increase drag, and result in decreased gas.
- Go light on the shoes. Heavy shoes (like boots) make it hard for you to feel the gas pedal, which can result in more gas being eaten up. Try thinner shoes.
- Keeping your tires properly inflated is another common gas saving tip. So be sure to check your tire pressure and keep them properly inflated.
- In colder months, wait five minutes before turning on your heat. Immediately using the heater or defroster after starting your car can decrease fuel efficiency.
- Don’t bother topping off when filling your car’s gas tank—additional gas is just going to slop around or seep out. Also, remember to tighten your gas cap.
- Change your air filter. A dirty filter can decrease your miles per gallon.