5 ways to get better fuel economy out of your car
Saving fuel is basically a good idea for everyone except the companies that sell it to you. By consuming less gas you’ll not only save some money, but you’ll also be doing the entire planet a big favor. Although the amount of fuel a car uses is primarily based on the type of vehicle and its specification, by following these tips you’ll be able to shave off a few percents from your fuel consumption. If you calculate the saved fuel over a few decades, you’ll soon realize you can save a small fortune just by being clever.
Driving is fun for many people and driving fast arguably adds to the fun. However, unless you are doing it in a controlled environment, driving fast is usually a bad idea whichever way you look at it. First of all, you are obviously more prone to accidents, as things happen at an increasing pace around you, with both other drivers and yourself having way less time to respond. Also, if you hit the pedal because you simply want to get somewhere faster, you’ll often discover that it’s only an illusion, as the few seconds gained by driving aggressively will be lost at the next traffic light.
If that wasn’t enough to get you to slow down, going fast and hitting the brakes at the last moment will definitely increase the amount of fuel you use. Cars are heavy and need a significant amount of energy to accelerate, so by forcing that you will be increasing the fuel consumption by as much as a whopping 40 percent. On the other hand, being a smooth driver, not going over the speed limit and avoiding any sudden moves will make you less prone to accident and keep some of that fuel money in your pocket.
Keep the car’s weight down
It goes without saying that the lighter a car is, the less energy is required to move it around. Therefore, a great way of getting better fuel economy is to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff you keep in your car and that increases its weight. You may find it convenient to always carry around sports equipment, tools, or other heavy things you need once in a while but definitely don’t need every day. Storing them at home and only picking them up when you actually need them will lower your fuel consumption by a bit. Just make sure you keep the tools you need for emergency car repairs, such as a flat tire.
Watch the car’s aerodynamics
The way your car manages to cut through the air plays a major role in its fuel consumption. While most cars are tested and calculated by their manufacturer to produce as less drag as possible, drivers usually find ways of messing up those calculations and make their cars as aerodynamic as a brick on wheels. A cargo on your roof may be necessary when taking your family on a long drive, but carrying it to work and back every day because you were too lazy to take it down after the last family vacation will have an effect on your gas budget. If you’re going bumper to bumper in city traffic, things like roof rails or open windows won’t do much difference, but in every other situation, it definitely will lead to better gas mileage.
Plan your drives
This piece of advice has less to do with your car or driving style and it’s more related to the way you manage your drives. It may sound obvious, but a large number of drivers overcomplicate their drives by not organizing their trips. If you know you’re supposed to get to a certain part of town for two different tasks, make sure you can do it both on the same trip instead of taking two separate trips. Another useful piece of advice is to avoid morning and afternoon rush hour traffic as much as you possibly can. Try to think of all the trips you need to do next week and plan accordingly. You may be surprised at the amount of fuel and time you can save.
Regularly check your tires’ air pressure
This is another advice that only takes minutes to do but is often neglected by many drivers. Even tires that are in good shape naturally lose air pressure over time, but that’s not always noticeable in the car’s behavior. In the days before power steering, drivers could easily notice when the tires were a bit deflated because it was significantly harder to turn the wheel. Nowadays, power steering allows us to neglect the tire pressure for months and even years at a time. Some cars automatically notify you when the tire pressure gets too low, but don’t rely on sensors alone. Check your tire pressure at least every couple of months and you may be surprised at the amount of gas you can save.
Cars are constantly becoming cleaner and manufacturers are always looking for ways to increase their efficiency with technologies such as hybrid vehicles or electric motors. That doesn’t mean, however, that drivers don’t have a major role in reducing their cars’ gas consumption. By following these basic guidelines you’ll not only increase fuel efficiency, but you’ll also save time, drive more safely, and also increase your car’s lifespan and resale value. Last but not least, the less fuel we burn, the cleaner our planet will be.