Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Get Better Gas Mileage

Improving Gas Mileage (Edmudns.com & About.com)
  1. Slow down.
    Driving the speed limit, rather than 5 to 10 miles over it, can have a significant impact on gas mileage, especially at highway speeds. If you're not sure what speed to travel, a good rule of thumb is to "Drive like you have a soon-to-be licensed teenager in the passenger seat and there is a police car following you."
  2. Gradually slow for stop lights.
    Rather than rush up to a red light, start slowing down in advance of the light. This may allow the light to turn green before you reach it, meaning you can cruise right through. It takes less fuel to accelerate a car that is in motion than one that is at a dead stop.
  3. Avoid abrupt accelleration.
    The "jack rabbit" start is one of the biggest fuel wasters. Accelerating smoothly yet briskly accomplishes the task of getting a car up to speed without using as much gas. Drive at an even speed, whenever possible.
  4. Don't let your car idle for long periods of time.
    While it may be nice to have your car's interior temperature at the "perfect" setting the moment you step in, the unnecessary idling means results in zero miles per gallon during the idling period.
A couple of other tips for better saving money on gas:
  • Buy gas before the weekend. Gas prices seem to go up after business on Friday.
  • Eliminate unnecessary cargo. Hauling heavy loads in the trunk or inside the car will lower your gas mileage.
  • Go into the store rather than sitting in the drive-through.
  • Comparison shop for cheaper gas. Try your local Costco or Sam's Club and check an online service like GasBuddy.
  • Link several short trips together, starting with the farthest away trip first. Linking trips together helps keep the car at operating temperature. Starting with the farthest away trip allows the engine to have more time to get up to operating temperature.
Other Good Ideas (that don't really affect gas mileage)
  • Regularly check your tire pressure.
  • Keep your car properly maintained. Blocked air filters, dirty oil, and lack of attention to other maintenance items all decrease performance.
  • Calculate your gas mileage on a regular basis. By being more aware of your gas mileage, you are more likely to make changes. Sometimes it may mean a change of driving habits. Other times it may mean a change of cars.
  • Purchase a fuel consumption gauge. A fuel consumption display can help you see, in real time, how your driving habits are impacting your gas mileage. If your car does not already have one, you can purchase an aftermarket gauge that plugs into your car. There are many available on the market, such as ScanGauge.

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