Everyone wants to pay less at the pump and get more bang for their buck when they do fill up. But not everyone wants to swap out their vehicle for a fuel-efficient one, and even people who drive high gas mileage vehicles want to maximize their performance. For others, driving vehicles that use more gas is a fact of life, perhaps due to their lifestyle or career. Whatever the case may be, finding a way to get more from every gallon of gas is important, especially at a time when gas prices are high. Here are a few useful tips to help you ensure you make the most of your fuel every time you fill up your tank.
Tip #1 – Timing is everything. Ever seen the movie Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? If so, you’ll remember how Keanu has to keep a bus above a certain speed so Dennis Hopper doesn’t blow him up. It’s a similar principle when it comes to saving gas. Acceleration burns fuel at a higher rate than cruising does; it’s just simple Newtonian physics… or something like that.
What matters here is that you want to avoid stopping too frequently, because that means you will have to accelerate more often, thereby burning more fuel. Pay close attention to the flow of traffic and learn the traffic signals in your area. You don’t need to speed to beat lights, and you shouldn’t – speeding is often counterproductive when it comes to reaching your destination in an efficient way, because you aren’t moving with the regular flow of traffic. Ever seen someone gun it ahead of you only to end up sitting at the same spotlight? That’s a perfect example of how bad timing can cost you more fuel in the long run.
Ideally, you’ll want to hit as many green lights as possible and keep moving smoothly at a consistent speed. That will save you a lot of gas. Checking traffic ahead of time using programs like Waze can be extremely helpful in this regard. Knowledge is power when it comes to driving, and the more you know about traffic patterns in your area, the likelier you are to avoid excess stops that will cost you more gas over time
Tip #2 – Drive normally. Don’t speed all the time. Rapid acceleration and hard braking cost you excess fuel, in both city and highway driving. Gunning it all the time means having to brake hard when you come up too quickly behind other vehicles. In the city, you want to maintain good timing, as mentioned above, and on the highway, you’ll ideally want to be in cruise control as much as possible. Pass when you need to, but for the most part, just try to pick a speed and stick with it.
Often, fuel inefficiencies are produced by rapid changes in speed, but also by speeding in general. Now, I’m sure that none of you reading this would ever do 60 in a 45, but, if you perhaps know someone who would, you might want to let them know that gas mileage tends to decrease above 50 m.p.h. That’s right: it actually is beneficial for you to do the speed limit in many areas, for the purposes of saving on gas. Don’t tell Keanu.
Tip #3 – Last but not least, don’t be idle. Sitting in idle is often a terrible waste of gas. Stuck in a long line at a drive-through? Turn your car off and roll your windows down (unless the weather is terrible, of course). It takes much less gas to restart your car than it does to sit there idling all the time. Waiting on someone? Get out and stretch your legs. Often, we leave our cars on idling for no good reason, and we waste a lot of fuel in the process.
Keeping More Money In Your Pocket
While fuel efficiency depends in large part on the kind of vehicle you drive, we hope the tips we’ve shared will be of some use to you in your quest to get the most out of your gas expenditures. In many cases, poor gas mileage is a result of bad driving habits. By cutting those out, you will not only improve your mileage, you will also become a better driver and reinforce good habits for years to come. Not a bad trade for putting cash back in your pocket, right?