How much do you spend on gas a month? Would you like to save up to 10% on your gas mileage? It’s actually easier than you think. Even if you plan to take a long road trip this summer, or take the car to work and back every day, you can still control your gas consumption.
Here are some easy tips on how to save on gas. You’ll be surprised at how small changes can lead to big savings. Even cleaning out your trunk (which takes just 5 minutes!) can lower gas consumption by 2% or more. This will certainly help your budget… and it will even help Mother Earth.
1. Drive at a steady pace.
Do you constantly shift gears, slowing down and then speeding up? Do you grab the opportunity to overtake the car in front of you, even if you know that there’s a red light a few meters down?
Stop driving in spurts. Not only does this raise your risk for bumps and other accidents, but your car consumes more fuel.
2. Stay within the speed limit.
Increasing your car’s speed from 65 to 75 miles per hour also increases your fuel consumption by 15%. That’s because your car has to work extra hard to beat air resistance. (And then you’ll have to work extra hard to explain to the police officer why you were in such a hurry.)
3. Stop tapping those brakes.
If you’re stuck in traffic and feeling fidgety, tap the steering wheel—not the brakes and the accelerator. All those stops and starts are completely unnecessary, especially if all you hope to gain are maybe three inches of road.
Smart drivers allow a ‘gap’ between the car in front of them. This protects you from crashing straight into the bumper in case the idiot suddenly slams on the brakes. It also allows you to drive smoothly.
To maintain that proper ‘gap’ use the three-second rule. Pick a stationary object (like a tree or a stop light) and note when the driver in front of you passes it. It should take you three seconds to reach the same point.
4. Clean out your trunk.
What kind of stuff are you lugging around? Tool box? Sports gear? Your kitchen sink? And what are the chances you’ll need any of that when you drive down to the supermarket or your meeting with a client? Clear out your trunk and you’ll not only have a really clean car, you can cut down your gas consumption by as much as 2% (quick—compute how much you’ve already spent carrying around that stuff!)
5. Keep the car well-maintained.
You can save up to 5% a year on gas just by keeping your tires at the proper air pressure, changing air filters, and regularly bringing the car to your trusty mechanics for a tune-up.
Like any other machine, your car will work ‘harder’ to compensate for any problems in structure. You’ll save on gas, and (in the long term) repairs. Better to catch those car troubles early on, before these get worse and require more expensive parts and intensive labor!
6. Check for gas leaks.
A loose or worn-down gas cap gasket allows gas vapors to leak out. You can get a new one at hardware stores and auto departments.
7. Get the best gas (and gas price) for your money.
Very few cars actually need premium gas—just check your owner’s manual— and using the expensive stuff doesn’t actually do anything for over-all performance.
And while we’re on the topic of cheaper gas, check the prices in stations in your area. You can save as much as 20 cents a gallon (and up to 20% on your next full tank) just by driving a little farther down the road.