Gas prices are at an all-time high. But you can stretch the mileage you get by changing the way you drive.
I became aware of my poor driving habits after buying a hybrid at the beginning of the year. But what I have learned is applicable to non-hybrid vehicles as well.
10 Ways To Get More From Your Gallons
Make A Decision Never To Accelerate to a Stoplight
Why keep the accelerator down if you see that you will have to stop? Not only does this burn more fuel, but it also causes more brake wear as you have to rapidly decelerate. If you see a stop coming up, lift your foot off the gas pedal.
Coast As Much As Possible
Along the same lines, coast your car as much as possible. Coast to stops, use the downside of hills to maintain your speed.
It takes a lot of energy to overcome the lack of inertia. That’s why the fuel tanks on a rocket are used up and jettisoned within minutes of launch. Same with your car. If you have to come to a complete stop five times on your route, you will burn more fuel than if you had no stops at all. Plan your route to avoid traffic snarls, stop lights and other non-movement points.
Don’t Rely On Cruise
This really applies to those people who live where there are hills. Cruise control will over-use the engine going up the hill, and will brake on the downside of a hill. This wastes a lot of energy. Instead, use your foot to moderate your speed and refuse to floor it going up a hill. Nothing is gained by reaching the top of a hill less than five seconds faster.
Use Gentle Acceleration
When I was learning to drive, I was told to avoid jack-rabbit starts, or starts that are very quick. I thought I did; but it turns out that a fuel-maximizing start is actually much slower. Think the speed of a large truck starting from a dead stop.
You get 20 percent more mileage at 55 than at 70. Slow down, stay in the right lane. This also has an added benefit: I have discovered that right-lane travel is significantly less stressful because people expect you to be slower.
Minimize Left Turns
Left turns require a complete stop, and idling time as you wait for oncoming traffic. UPS optimizes their routes to minimize left turns and in 2006 saved 28.5 million miles and 3 million gallons of fuel.
Eliminate Single-Purpose Trips
It takes less energy to keep a warmed-up car going than one that has to be started from cold many times. Consolidate your errands and you will save time and fuel overall.
Hard-Core Saving Tips
Consider a different car
I had decided on a hybrid car years ago, but I am not regretting the decision. If a new car is in your future, consider getting a hybrid, or at least the smallest car possible. Sure, a nice, shiny pickup truck is nice for hauling things, but if you are not hauling things all the time, it’s not a valid reason to get a pickup.
The best way to maximize miles per gallon is to not drive. Take public transportation, walk or bike.
Photo by cobalt123