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Gas Saving Tips

With these simple tips, you can decrease your gas costs, improve air quality, and reduce traffic congestion.

Before You Take the Driver's Seat
Vehicle Tips
Driving Tips
 

Before You Take the Driver’s Seat…

…first ask:

  • Is this trip really necessary?
  • Could I walk, bike, or take transit instead?
  • Do they deliver? Could I order online?
  • Could I take care of multiple chores in one place, or park in one central spot and walk from place to place?
  • Could I share rides with a neighbor (to school, work, etc.)?
  • Could I telecommute for work? Or adjust my work schedule to avoid rush hour congestion?
  • Plan ahead and consolidate trips to cut driving time and miles. Many short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

Vehicle Tips

  • Looking for a new vehicle? Compare the Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy labels at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/
  • Own more than one vehicle? Use the most fuel-efficient one more often.
  • Tune-ups and oil changes with the recommended grade of oil can improve your gas mileage, reduce emissions, and extend your car’s life. Check air and fuel filters twice a year.
  • Periodically inflate tires to maximum limit (check pressure when cold). Keep them aligned and balanced for better mileage and longer tire life. Radial designs are more fuel-efficient.
  • Keep brakes properly adjusted. Dragging brakes increases resistance.
  • Make sure you’re using the right octane. You may not need to spend more on higher-octane fuel. See www.howtoadvice.com/GasOctane
  • Buy gas at the coolest time of day when gas is at its densest.
  • Avoid “topping off” your tank to keep gas fumes in your car and not in the air (stop after the first “click” of the fuel nozzle).
  • Pack light. A loaded roof rack can decrease fuel economy by approximately 5%. Every 100 pounds you carry reduces a typical vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 2%.
  • Remove vinyl tops or covers as they cause air drag. Rough surfaces disturb smooth airflow around a vehicle’s body.

Driving Tips

  • Always use the shortest, straightest route.
  • If possible, avoid driving during rush hour.
  • No need to sit and warm your engine, or to “rev” your engine, even on cold mornings. For today’s cars, the best way to warm up is to wait 30 seconds and then drive.
  • If you must stop for more than 30 seconds (even for freight trains and bridges), don’t idle and waste gas. Today’s engines are more fuel-efficient; just turn it off and gain up to 19% in fuel economy.
  • Drive the speed limit at a steady speed rather than slowing down and speeding up. Traffic lights are timed, therefore steadily driving at the speed limit increases your chances of getting more “green” lights.
  • The faster you drive, the more fuel you burn. Cars get about 21% more mileage at 55 mph than at 65 or 70 mph. Every 5 mph driven over 60 mph equates to paying another $.20 per gallon.
  • Accelerate slowly from a dead stop. Don’t push the pedal down more than ¼ of the total foot travel. Drive sensibly, not aggressively, and get 5 – 33% better gas mileage.
  • Manual transmission allows you to change to the highest gear as soon as possible. This lets you save gas if you can “nurse it along,” rather than lugging the engine (which wears down engine parts faster).
  • Avoid rapid braking. Be alert for slowdowns and red lights ahead. Decelerate by coasting when possible. Slowing down in advance of needing to stop saves fuel and is easier on vehicle components. This is an easy way to gain major savings.
  • Use cruise control at high speeds to smooth out the accelerator input by preventing “surging,” and improve mileage by up to 14%. (The only exception is in mountainous areas).
  • Use overdrive gears, if possible, to save gas and reduce engine wear. Traveling fast in low gears consumes up to 45% more gas than needed.
  • Open windows at highway speeds cause air drag and reduce mileage by 10%.
  • Use the air conditioner conservatively. Use an “economy” or “recirculation” setting if available. Both settings can reduce the load on the air conditioning, and save gas.