Eight Great Ways to Save Gas
By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012
With fuel prices continuing to skyrocket, now's a good time to get reacquainted with some basic tips we all can use to save gas. Some are fairly common sense, and when you look at them, you say, "I knew that." But when you combine them, you can really start to see your fuel savings add up.
- Keep tires inflated to spec _ Using a good quality tire gauge, check your tire pressure monthly and inflate tires to the manufacturer's specifications (found on a yellow sticker on the driver's side doorjamb and in the owner's manual). Remember that front and rear tires may have different recommended pressure levels. You can check tire pressure during a stop for gasoline. Keep a notebook to record date and pressure levels. While you're at it, check the tires for signs of wear. Rotate and balance tires regularly, about every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
- Avoid jackrabbit starts and ease off the gas _ Jamming on the gas pedal just wastes gas-and in traffic, you'll probably get immediately stuck behind another vehicle or at another traffic light. Repeated jackrabbit starts will mean you're at the gas station more often, paying a lot more for fuel than you need to. And when approaching a stop sign or red traffic signal, let up on the accelerator. You don't need to keep your foot on the gas to keep going forward; momentum will do that for you. Of course, use common sense. Don't creep along at two miles per hour. But do try reducing speed by five to 10 mph. Experts at AAA say that can reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 18 percent.
- Install a new fuel filter during a tuneup _ Generally speaking, if it's been more than 30,000 miles since your last tuneup, depending on driving conditions, it may be time to schedule one. Appropriate engine care and maintenance will pay off in fuel savings.
- Ditch excess weight _ Don't carry any more weight in the vehicle than you need. Get rid of heavy, non-essential items that may be piled in the trunk and cargo areas, as well as the back seat, seatbacks and door storage bins and consoles.
- Keep your car clean _ In addition to looking a lot nicer, a washed and waxed car reduces aerodynamic drag-and reduces gas consumption.
- Swap larger wheels and tires for smaller ones _ Do you really need those oversize wheels and tires with today's high fuel prices? Smaller wheels and tires are lighter, and require less power (and fuel) to move them forward. Smaller tires also offer less rolling resistance than larger tires, which means better fuel economy.
- Consolidate trips _ This is a real efficiency saver. Instead of running out to the grocery store for a single item, coming home, and then going out again for another purpose, think of the other errands you can run during the same trip and consolidate. You'll save fuel (less distance traveled, less stops and starts), and reduce traffic and emissions (one less car on the road).
- Fill your tank in the early morning when the ground temperature is cold _ Since gasoline is stored in underground tanks, the colder the ground, the more dense the gasoline. Gasoline expands as it gets warmer, so filling up in the afternoon means you're not getting a full gallon. Fill when the tank is half full. The more gas you have in your tank, the less air you have occupying the empty space. And don't over fill. Gasoline fuel nozzles have three trigger stages: low, middle and high. Use the low trigger stage to minimize vapors that occur when you pump. Never fill up when the gasoline delivery truck is in the station. You may wind up with sediment in your tank stirred up as the fuel is being pumped into the underground storage units.