With gas prices hovering just above $3 a gallon, we're all looking for
ways to save money at the pump. Goodwrench offers the following tips to
help drivers conserve gas and reduce the load on your wallet.
1. Go the speed limit. Use cruise control.
Speed limits are calculated for maximum safety - they'll also reward you with maximum gas mileage. You can get up to 20 percent more mileage traveling 55 mph than 70 mph. Use your cruise control for additional gas savings.
2. Drive evenly. Avoid hard stops.
Quick starts burn gas while hard stops also cost you so avoid jackrabbit starts. Take your foot off the accelerator and coast a bit before stopping for a traffic light or a stop sign.
3. Avoid idling and rush hour traffic.
You're burning fuel while idling - up to a gallon every hour. So, avoid rush hour traffic when possible.
4. Open windows at slow speeds but use your air conditioner on highways.
Around town, turn your air conditioning off and roll down the windows. Open windows create drag at speeds of 40 mph or more, so roll them up and use the a/c.
5. Remove junk from the trunk.
Added weight in your vehicle affects fuel economy, so take unnecessary items out of your trunk.
6. Fill up when it's cool.
Cooler temperatures in the early morning or late evening create less vapor. Also, getting a fill-up three days before a holiday will help you save on the per-gallon price at the pump.
7. Don't top off.
When buying gas, stop when the pump shuts off automatically. And remember, your tank needs both fuel and fumes, so tighten the gas cap after every fill-up.
8. Use the correct fuel grade.
Unless your high-performance engine requires it, most vehicles don't require from higher-priced higher-octane gasoline. Use the lowest grade recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.
9. Don't accelerate up hills.
Build up speed before an incline, and then maintain it on the way up. Coast on the way down for additional fuel economy.
10. Avoid rooftop carriers.
Approximately one quarter of each gallon of gas is needed to overcome wind resistance, so avoid carrying things on your roof. If necessary, use an aerodynamic carrier to help minimize drag.
Additional Ways You Can Save Money
Follow your regular maintenance schedule to keep your car in its best running condition. Some of these are things many owners can do themselves, but it's a good idea to establish a relationship with a mechanic you trust to perform regular inspections and services that fall outside the typical do-it-yourselfer's repertoire:
1. Change engine oil and filter, using the recommended grade of motor oil.
2. Check and change your air filter. Inspect/clean intake system.
3. Inspect and, if necessary, replace a clogged fuel filter. Clean or replace dirty or malfunctioning fuel injectors. Use top-tier fuels with higher detergent levels or treat your car to a cleansing fuel treatment to keep your engine clean.
4. Inspect/replace spark plugs and spark plug wires.
5. Inspect/replace emissions components and/or a faulty oxygen sensor.
6. Adjust tire pressure to manufacturer-recommended specs.
7. Inspect power steering system and perform a steering alignment, if necessary. Align front suspension
8. Check the exhaust for clogged catalytic converter. Examine exhaust gas recirculation system. Get regular smog checks.
9. Check automatic transmission/torque converter for proper fluid levels and shifting.
10. Inspect and clean coils and connections.
11. Examine/replace cracked or broken vacuum hoses.
12. Ask your mechanic to perform a diagnostic check for stored problem codes on your vehicle's computer that indicate malfunctioning systems.
If you keep your car in its best running order and practice efficient driving techniques, you'll realize better fuel economy and performance. And that's just good, all around!
By Brandy Schaffels
Inspired by Goodwrench