Driving More Efficiently

Drive Sensibly

 

cartoon of carAggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) (jack-rabbit starts) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 40 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money. Tests show that "jackrabbit" starts and hard breaking reduces travel time by only four percent, while toxic emissions were more than five times higher. The proper way is to accelerate slowly and smoothly, then get into high gear as quickly as possible. Along with that, you should not rest your foot on the clutch or brake pedal as it will cause overheating and fuel wastage. In city driving, nearly 50% of the energy needed to power your car goes to acceleration.

 

Fuel Economy Benefit:

5-33%

 

Equivalent Gasoline Savings:

$0.07-$0.49/gallon

Observe the Speed Limit

 

 

Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer. Increasing your highway cruising speed from 55mph (90km/h) to 75mph (120km/h) will boost fuel consumption by about 20%. You can improve your gas mileage about 15 percent by driving at 55mph rather than 65mph (104km/h). On the chart to the left
note how quickly efficiency drops after 60 mph. In most cars the most fuel efficient speed is 34-45 mph.

MPG vs SPEED graph

 

 

Fuel Economy Benefit:

7-23%

 

Equivalent Gasoline Savings:

$0.10-$0.34/gallon

Avoid Excessive Idling

 

Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. Avoid idling your vehicle, in both summer and winter. Idling wastes fuel, gets you nowhere and produces unnecessary greenhouse gases. If you're going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic, turn off the engine. In winter, don't idle a cold engine for more than 30 seconds before driving away.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated

Make sure your tires are properly inflated to prevent increased rolling resistance. Check tire pressure at least once a month, when the tires are 'cold' (i.e. when the vehicle has not been driven for at least three hours or for more than 2km). Start by checking tire pressures in your driveway. Note any tire that is underinflated, and then drive to the nearest gas station to add air. Check tire pressures again at the station, and inflate the low tires to the same level as the others (these will likely have higher pressure than they did in the driveway, since the tires have heated up.) Radial tires can be under inflated yet still look normal. Always use your own tire gauge for consistent results. On average, tires lose about 1 psi per month and 1 psi for every 10 degree drop in temperature. Under-inflated tires can cause fuel consumption to increase by as much as 6%.

Use Cruise Control

 

Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

Use Overdrive Gears

 

Change up through the gears and into top gear as soon as possible without accelerating harder than necessary. Driving in a gear lower than you need wastes fuel; so does letting the engine labor in top gear on hills and corners. Automatic transmissions will shift up more quickly and smoothly if you ease back slightly on the accelerator once the car gathers momentum. When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.

 

Service Your Vehicle Regularly

Service your vehicle regularly, according to the manufacturer's instructions. A poorly tuned engine can use up to 50% more fuel and produces up to 50% more emissions than one that is running properly.

 

Air filters: Dirty air filters can also cause your engine to run at less than peak efficiency Regular visual checks of the air filter will tell you if it needs replacing and your owner's manual will also recommend appropriate replacement intervals. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10% increase in fuel consumption.
Oil:
Using the correct viscosity oil is important because higher viscosity oils have greater resistance to the moving parts of the engine, and therefore use more gas.

 

 

Monitor power accessories.

 

Be sure to shut off all power-consuming accessories before turning off the ignition. That way, you decrease engine load the next time you start up. Items that plug into your vehicle's cigarette lighter, such as TV consoles for mini-vans and SUVs, can cause the alternator to work harder to provide electrical current. This adds a load to the engine and added load increases fuel use, decreasing your gas mileage.

 

 

Think "aerodynamic" and "lightweight".

 

Reduce drag. Out on the open highway, keep windows rolled up to reduce drag. Remove bicycle and ski racks when not in use. Excess weight also uses more fuel. Remove unnecessary items from inside the vehicle, trunk or truck bed. An extra 100lbs (48 kg) of weight can increase your fuel bill by 2%.

 

 

Cold weather driving?

 

Use a block heater when the winter temperature drops to -20C or below. A block heater keeps your engine oil and coolant warm, which makes the vehicle easier to start and can increase winter fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. Use a timer to switch on the block heater one or two hours before you plan to drive.

 

 

Plan your trip

 

whether you are going across town or across the country. Try to combine several errands in one outing, and plan your route to avoid heavy traffic areas, road construction, hilly trerrain, etc. With a little organization, you can group your "town tasks" into fewer trips, saving you time and fuel expense.

 

Make a commitment to drive less

 

by walking to some nearby destinations. It's good for your health and the environment. Approximately 50% of car use is for trips within 3 miles of the home. This distance is within the range for easy biking, so it makes sense to try to use your bike for some of these short hops. You'll be saving fuel and reducing pollution, and you can also save on trips to the gym with this added exercise.

 

 

 

Planning and Combining Trips

Combining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and efficient.

With a little planning, you can avoid retracing your route and reduce the distance you travel as well. You'll not only save fuel, but also reduce wear and tear on your car.

Commuting

 

If you can stagger your work hours to avoid peak rush hours, you'll spend less time sitting in traffic and consume less fuel.

If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets the best gas mileage whenever possible.

Consider telecommuting (working from home) if your employer permits it.

Ride Share SignIf possible, take advantage of carpools and ride-share programs. You can cut your weekly fuel costs in half and save wear on your car if you take turns driving with other commuters. Many urban areas allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use special High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes.

Consider using public transit if it is available and convenient for you. The American Public Transit Transportation Association has links to information about public transportation in your state.

Traveling

 

Car with loaded roof rackA roof rack or carrier provides additional cargo space and may allow you to meet your needs with a smaller car. However, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent. Reduce aerodynamic drag and improve your fuel economy by placing items inside the trunk whenever possible.

Avoid carrying unneeded items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 lbs in the trunk reduces a typical car's fuel economy by 1-2 percent.

 

Comments: Webmaster - EOE - Privacy Policy - March 24, 2009