Every year there seems to be another gasoline ‘crisis’ where prices suddenly increase noticeably and an e-mail circulates with people demanding action. We’re there again now and the latest e-mail is asking for a boycott of the major gasoline sellers. Saving gasoline might be the best form of ‘revenge’ there is so we’ve developed several tips for you to save gasoline today with your existing vehicle.
- Public Transportation. In many communities public transportation has been significantly upgraded. New trains and/or buses in combination with revised routes have made public transportation much more palatable. Many public transportation agencies have changed to become friendlier and have personnel who are helpful in planning trips including those to and from work. Contact your local public transportation agency to see if you can utilize public transportation instead of your vehicle in your daily commute.
What’s more, many public transportation agencies have weekend day trips and other recreational plans. If they have a web site, you might investigate this option as well. It would be much cheaper to ride the train or take a bus as part of a day trip than a passenger vehicle, in many cases. Riding the public transportation could also be part of the fun, especially for younger riders.
- Tires. It’s amazing what a difference it makes in your fuel economy when your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated. Most vehicles have a tire inflation guide in the glovebox or in the driver’s door jamb. Follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations for inflation, being careful not to overinflate the tires.
Tires heat up in driving. Check your vehicle’s tires in the morning before you embark on the day’s journey. Write down how much you need to inflate them by before heading out to the filling station to get air (and expensive gasoline!). Add the requisite amount of air based on your morning readings.
- Filters. Dirty air filters can actually rob you of fuel economy. If you haven’t checked your vehicle’s air filters in some time, now is the time to do so.
- Take-Out Weight: All those extra seats in minivans and SUVs are great when there are plenty of folks to shuttle around. If there are times you won’t need all that seating capacity many of these passenger seats are easy to remove. They’re also somewhat heavy so not having this needless cargo might make a difference in your fuel mileage.
- When starting your car avoid prolonged warming up of engine, 30 to 45 seconds, even in cold weather. Today's cars are designed to be driven almost immediately.
- Use the lowest octane gas that won't make your engine knock. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for details.
- Do not top-off your gasoline tank. A single drop of gasoline on the ground evaporates into the equivalent of a mile of driving, or more.
- Buy gasoline during coolest time of day - early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind - gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement".
- Before getting into your car, ask yourself "Is this trip necessary?"
- On short trips, try walking or bicycling. It's good exercise. See suggestion #4.
- Pack as little in your car as necessary so it has less weight to carry.
- Organize activities and perform as many errands as possible in one trip
- Make a list and do all the grocery shopping once or twice a week.
- Better planning reduces the need for speeding which means not only lower fuel consumption but less exposure to moving violations.
- Don't speed. Cars get about 21% more mileage at 55 mph than at 70 mph.
- Shift into high gear as soon as possible. If you have automatic transmission, lift your foot from the accelerator about one second early.
- Avoid panic stops. When possible, coast to stops such as traffic lights.
- Don't ride your brake pedal, this wears out your brake linings prematurely, and wastes fuel. Use only your right foot for accelerating and braking.
- Exceeding 40 mph forces your auto to overcome tremendous wind resistance.
- Avoid constantly pressing and releasing the accelerator when driving. This practices not only wastes fuel, but it puts excessive wear on the drive train of your car.
- Keep tuned to radio traffic reports & avoid traffic jams, other delays. You can also utilize the Internet to spot jams before you leave on your journey. Some of the latest GPS units also incorporate traffic avoidance systems.
- When you see a hill ahead, build up speed before you reach it, then maintain your speed on the slope. (If you must accelerate on the hill, you will use much more fuel). Then coast down the other side.
- Consider car-pooling and share the gas bill and ride. Car pools reduce travel monotony and gas expense. Conversation helps to keep the driver alert. Pooling also reduces traffic congestion, gives the driver easier maneuverability and greater "steady speed" economy.
- When bargain hunting, check newspaper ads and use your telephone or internet connection.
- Do they deliver? Let them pay for the gas! Try mail order firms and purchases through the Internet.
- Have your mechanic inspect suspension and chassis parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, bad shocks, d shocks, broken springs, etc. create engine drag and are unsafe at high traveling speeds.