Improving Fuel Efficiency
In this day and age, fuel efficiency is a significant factor in buying decisions. Whether you want a car, truck, or SUV, the miles per gallon that vehicle gets will be on your list of comparisons. It may even be a significant factor for some, particularly heavy commuters or the environmentally minded.
Once you get the vehicle, it’s up to you to try and get the best fuel economy out of it. You’ll have to put the effort in to get the best economy out. Still, many folks have found that they can easily meet or exceed efficiency ratings in daily driving. We wouldn’t recommend taking it to extremes – hypermiling can be dangerous or illegal, depending on traffic. So what is the best way for you to improve your fuel efficiency?
Driving Habits Improve Efficiency
Changing how and when you drive is the easiest and most effective way to improve fuel efficiency. Modifying your driving behavior and embracing fuel-smart habits on the road will get you more miles to the gallon without needing much effort. Even better, after practice, you’ll find they become second nature.
- Nice and Easy: Use a light foot when it’s time to get moving. Stomping on the accelerator can be really tempting, especially if you have a powerful V6 or V8 under the hood. It might be fun once in a while, but it really brings down your fuel mileage. Practice rolling onto the accelerator is nice and easy – it may take an extra second or two to get up to speed versus going full throttle, but the savings will add up over time.
- Brake Cautiously: It’s not just the accelerator – riding the gas as far as you can and then stomping on your brakes is a waste of gasoline. The longer you are on the gas, the more gas you use. Don’t be one of those people that feels the need to be on one pedal or the other at all times! Look ahead of you and figure out the roads. Try coasting to a stop if you see a light change far ahead. If you know a stop sign is coming up, don’t stay on the gas until the last moment and then brake hard – let off the gas and coast as long as possible, minimizing brake usage.
- Shut It Down: Not going anywhere for a few minutes? Turn off the engine! While plenty of newer vehicles feature stop-start systems, budget cars and older vehicles don’t. This can add up if you’re stuck in traffic or construction and not going anywhere for a few minutes or at a train crossing with a hundred-car train rolling past. Don’t shut it off if you’ll be back moving in thirty seconds – but if it looks like it will be five minutes, you’re best killing it and starting up when it’s time to move again.
- Drive, Don’t Race: Being first means nothing unless you’re on track. Take it slow on the highways – between 60 and 65 miles per hour is the sweet spot; going above that means your mileage will begin to drop. Every five miles per hour above that can see a reduction of 1-2 miles per gallon.
- Plan Trips Ahead: Plan out trips before you get on the road. Combine trips to eliminate extra trips, so you’ll have fewer miles to drive. Map them out so you aren’t doubling back at any point. If you can plan to walk or bike to the closest spots or get some walking in between two stops on your itinerary instead of making a short drive, that would be great! Nothing reduces fuel usage like not starting your car, to begin with!
Maintaining Your Vehicle
While your driving habits impact your fuel efficiency, your vehicle can help – or hinder – your mileage. Skimping maintenance or ignoring it altogether can have a disastrous effect on mileage and the life of your vehicle. There are other ways to maintain it that will help you improve your fuel efficiency.
- Weight Reduction: Every pound in the car is another pound that is working against your engine. The more weight in the car, the more fuel will be burned to move or accelerate on the highway. Don’t get rid of the necessities – there is such a thing as taking it too far – but avoid carrying any more weight than you need to by cleaning out the trash or anything else that doesn’t need to be on your trip.
- High Octane Is Unnecessary, Except When It Isn’t: Unless specifically called for in the owner’s manual, using high-octane gasoline for your vehicle is pointless. Octane indicates that the fuel can withstand higher compression and ensure detonation in the chamber happens precisely when it should. Unless you have a high-performance engine, all a higher-octane fuel will do is burn money. However, if the owner’s manual DOES call for high-octane gas, get it. These vehicles have high compression ratios, and lower octane fuel will cause them to suffer from reduced power and worse fuel efficiency. The cost per gallon may be lower, but your fuel usage will increase, offsetting those savings. You’ll just be getting a power reduction with no benefits.
- Decrease Resistance: Keep your tire pressure at its recommended level to reduce rolling resistance, keeping fuel efficiency up. Properly lubricated parts will help to reduce friction resistance in the engine itself. By reducing both of these resistance points, you reduce the resistance your vehicle will need to overcome and increase efficiency.
Pay attention to the weather – you can use it to your advantage! Here are some tips for taking advantage of warmer weather to eke out a few more MPG:
- Open your windows and let the hot air out before turning on the AC. Your air conditioning will not have to work as hard and siphon power from the engine.
- Avoid that hot air from the get-go by parking in the shade or using a sunshade. This will reduce the amount of heat created by the sun beating down on the interior.
- Roll the windows down and forego air conditioning altogether if you’re not traveling at highway speeds.
Don’t Use Gas On Long Trips!
If you can avoid using fuel altogether, that can also be a good thing, especially if it is moving, where you may need to use a moving van. Or simply for transporting a vehicle to a buyer or seller! Number 1 Auto Transport can eliminate your fuel usage in these instances by providing an affordable auto transport service. Don’t worry about fueling up, going easy on the gas, or anything else – let us burn our fuel to move your car, truck, or SUV to your new home, to or from the dealer, or from the import facility!