How to Save on Gas – Some Quick Tips

Thankfully, gas isn’t the price is was in ‘08, but it’s on the rise and will undoubtedly spike fairly high again and again.  Oh yeah, and then there’s the whole natural resources thing to think about…  And pollution..  So no matter how you look at it, using less gas is a good thing, for you, for everyone around you and for your children.

I’ve put together a list of simple tips, many of which you’ve probably heard in the past, but hopefully some will be new to you.

1.  Don’t drive.. duh, great tip…  This will not increase your mpg, but will increase your dpg (days per gallon).  If you can consolidate many errands into one trip you’ll save time and gas.

2.  Run errands in low-traffic hours. Sitting at lights or in stop-and-go traffic is basically like pouring your gas out the window.

3.  Think about the friction on your brake pads whenever you stop.  The heat they generate is 100% counterproductive — By design, of course, but think about if you just coasted to a stop every time, how much further you could drive on the same amount of gas.  I agree that’s not really practical, but just avoid over-braking.

4.  The chemical energy present in gasoline is converted into kinetic energy in the form of momentum of the large mass you call your car.  Come to a stop more slowly to conserve that kinetic energy.

5.  Use neutral .  Instead of coasting while your car is in gear shift to neutral to eliminate the need to overcome the force required to turn the engine.  You’ll coast a lot further with the same amount of momentum, plus you’ll be running the engine at a much lower RPM.

6.  We all know, no “jack-rabbit starts” but if you can plan a route that avoids as much acceleration time as possible that will help.  Pick a route with few stop lights, pedestrian crosswalks, moose crossings.. etc.

7.  Fill your tank during the coldest part of the day when gasoline is densest.  Pumps charge for volume not density.

8.  Keep your tires inflated to the maximum inflation pressure published on the sidewall.

9.  Use the terrain. Use downhill sections to help you speed up.  Slow down on uphill sections.  Isn’t that what you would do on a bike?  And why?  To conserve energy right?  If it’s easier for you on a bike, it’s easier for your car as well.

10.  Remove ski racks and luggage racks unless you’re using them.  Aerodynamics plays a large role in mileage.

11.  Remove any flags and try using stickers instead.

12.  Otherwise make your car more aerodynamic.See this website for some great tips on how to do that.  Like lowering your car, adding fairings, changing antennae, etc.

13.  Lighten up your vehicle. Remove unnecessary weight from the trunk, or the truck bed.  Again, think about the poor guy on the bicycle, pulling an extra rider or even an extra 20% of the total weight is gonna to suck..

14.  Drive slower. Once you get up into highway cruising speeds, your need to overcome wind resistance is greatly increased.  If possible stick to 40-50 mph to avoid this wind drag.

15.  Keep up your vehicle. Keeping your vehicle running smooth will contribute to better gas mileage.  Typical efficiency is about 20-40%, which means that 60-80% of the gas you buy is NOT working to move your car.

16.  Run your car on water. There are many skeptics, but I’ve got faith this will catch on.  See for yourself.

17.  Give the other guy a break. Don’t make other people stop quick or accelerate fast.  Their gas (and frustration) is costing you too.  Maybe not in dollars, but in air/life quality.

18.  Shut off the engine if you know you’ll be sitting still for more than 20 seconds. While it’s not great to stop and start your car all the time, sitting idly you’re getting zero mpg.

19.  Park in the first spot you find. Drive less, walk more!

20.  Use online tools to find the best price .  Sites like www.GasBuddy.com will give you a list of all the daily prices in your area.  Remember not to drive too far out of the way to get your deal though!

21.  Wait to fill the tank .  Only fill up when your tank gets fairly low.  This will give you more driving time with less weight in the tank.  Less weight = better mileage.

22. Fill the tank only halfway. If you have a large tank, and if it works for you try only filling the tank halfway.  Each gallon of gas is approx 6 lbs of extra weight.  If you don’t need it, don’t carry it around.

23.  Install a gas mileage gauge .  Monitoring your driving habits can make you more aware of what helps and what doesn’t.  While many hybrids have a MPG gauge built-in, ScanGauge has a gauge you can install into your car that will give you a readout of your current MPG.  Keep an eye on this gauge and make it a goal to raise that value!  Alternatively, just calculate your mileage by heand and keep tally.

24.  Adjust your work hours to avoid those heavy traffic times.  Keep from sitting in stop-and-go traffic.

25.  Don’t top off the tank. Gas expands on warm days and can leak out.

26.  Look ahead .  Instead of just watching the car in front of you and hitting the brakes when they do, look two or more cars ahead and anticipate traffic patterns so that you can avoid sudden unexpected stops and keep your velocity fairly uniform.