You’re probably not aware of it, but every time you hit the streets you’re participating in behaviors that waste gas and drain your wallet. Forget all that talk about hunting down the cheapest gas prices in town – even if gas were dirt cheap (which it most assuredly is not, and never will be again), you’d still not be getting the kind of mileage that you’re capable of.
So what is it that you’re doing that’s so wasteful? Here’s a list of the top 7 things you should to to become a gas saver:
1) Topping off your tank when you fill up. Not only does this do bad things for the environment, but it’s also a major money waster. Sure, your rationale makes sense: fill the tank so full that you won’t have to come back to the gas station so soon next time. But the thing is, topping off results in the extra gas evaporating. Where does it go? Straight into your car’s vapor collection system, which can ultimately cause your car to perform poorly.
2) Driving around on overinflated or under-inflated tires. Your tires have an awful lot to do with how much gas mileage you get, and keeping the right tire pressure it’s an easy way to become a gas saver. If they’re under-inflated, you’re making your car work harder to keep you rolling. If they’re overinflated, you can cause damage to your car’s suspension, which can cause you an arm and a leg to fix–and there go your savings. Keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer recommendations of your car and always make sure that the tires you have installed are right for your vehicle.
3) Running the air conditioner when you’re driving around town. Depending on just how hot it is, you may want to shut off the A/C and roll down the window if you’re in stop and go traffic. Running the A/C is a major drag on your gas consumption. Experts say that the best time to blast your air conditioning is when you’re driving at speeds in excess of 55 miles per hour.
4) Excessive idling. This doesn’t mean that you should turn off your car whenever you’re stopped at a red light. That sort of thing might save a bit of gas, but it can have a long term negative effect on the wear and tear of your engine, which can result in lowered fuel efficiency. But if you’re going to be parked for a long period of time, idling will only suck your gas tank dry.
5) Ignoring regular maintenance. We all know what a pain it is to have to take your car in to get the oil changed every 3,000 miles or to perform other routine maintenance–but if you don’t, you’re basically ensuring that your car isn’t running at optimum capacity. When that happens… you guessed it. You get lousy gas mileage.
6) Speeding. Having a lead foot isn’t just bad for your wallet because of the tickets you can rack up or because of the damage you can inflict on yourself or others. It also burns through gas like nobody’s business. If you’re a notorious speed racer, don’t complain about the high cost of gas. Ease up on the pedal and that should solve it, another easy way to become a better gas saver.
7) Not using cruise control. Some people couldn’t maintain a steady driving speed if their lives depended on it. This is why Detroit gave us cruise control. Although it’s not a good idea to use your cruise in heavy traffic, engaging it when you’re not in traffic ensures that your car maintains a steady speed. As you can imagine, speeding up and slowing down can burn a lot more gas. If you can’t control your speed with your foot, you should let cruise control do that for you.