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6 Driving Habits for Fuel Efficiency

As fuel prices continue to climb – and the national average climbs above $4 a gallon – fuel efficiency is more important than ever. Whatever you drive (cars, trucks, wheelchair accessible vans, motorcycles, mopeds, crossovers, SUVs) there are simple ways to save fuel without making major changes to driving habits. Here are a few easy-to-implement changes in driving behavior that can significantly reduce your fuel cost.

1. Accelerate slowly

Pushing the pedal to the metal as soon as the light turns green is a huge waste of fuel. Fast acceleration actually burns fuel four times faster than normal acceleration – that’s almost four miles worth of gas wasted per gallon! The same rule applies to braking; decelerate slowly when stopping at lights, stop signs, and traffic. Slamming on the brakes wastes as much gas as rapid acceleration.

2. Stay in one lane

Many of us are guilty of being aggressive lane-changers. Did you know that switching lanes constantly doesn’t reduce travel time and causes you to waste fuel? Stop treating the open road like a video game; pick a lane, set the cruise control, and stay there.

3. Don’t leave the car running when running errands.

An idle car is an easy way to burn through a tank of gas. Yes, it’s convenient to leave the car running when you’re running errands, but you’re spending more money than you’re saving. Leaving the car on when it’s not in motion is damaging to the environment, too.

4. Remove extra weight from the vehicle.

Who knew that a clean car actually means better fuel efficiency? It’s true – extra weight means more gas burned per gallon. Clean out the trunk and the backseat; heavy unneeded items are eating up gas.

5. Avoid high-traffic travel.

Idling in traffic wastes time and fuel. Although you may not be able to avoid traffic completely, try leaving your home early to avoid rush hour. Another great way to save fuel: take the road less travelled! That extra five minutes off the main route could save you gallons in gas.

6. Keep an eye on local gas prices.

As gas prices continue to increase, it might be worth your time to check out gas price websites to find the cheapest price in your city. is an excellent resource that is updated frequently. Keep in mind that prices normally increase before the weekend and holidays; fill up on Tuesdays to get the best deals.

Other tips to consider:

· Whenever possible, carpool.

· Plan shopping trips and errand runs for one day instead of spread out through the entire week. This will help you avoid traffic, too!

· Park and walk to your destinations whenever possible: You’ll be amazed how much gas you save when you don’t drive from place to place.

With a few changes to driving habits you can stretch your gas tank. Do your best to avoid high traffic travel times and leaving your vehicle idling. Don’t be a lead foot or a brake slammer – fast acceleration and deceleration burns gas. Plan your shopping and errand trips in advance and use cruise control whenever possible.

This guest post was written by Leah B, who is a contributor to the Eat Breathe Blog.

Featured in the Festival of Frugality 292nd Edition, hosted by Mom’s Plan.

4 Comments on 6 Driving Habits for Fuel Efficiency

  1. Lynda
    July 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm (5 years ago)

    I have a 2009 Honda CRV. Like many newer vehicles it has a dashboard indicator for how many mpg you are getting as you drive (as it estimates). It has changed our driving habits. My husband says he loves to drive my car because he makes it a game to see how high a mpg he can get.

    Another thing is it gives an estimated range of how many miles is left in your gas. I have a rule that it not go under 100 because he is really bad about running his extremely low, and has run out of gas. If you go under a quarter of a tank of gas, you are running the risk of causing problems with your car that can be costly.

    • Fanny
      August 2, 2011 at 10:15 am (5 years ago)

      Lynda, that’s pretty cool! What a good tool to have. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Kathleen
    August 21, 2011 at 10:15 am (4 years ago)

    Love your tips! I have solar panels and have just bought a Volt car so my car is electric and runs on my solar! I pay for no electricity or gas just a thought for your readers out there so many problems can be solved if we just start thinking how to reduce our gas addiction!

    • Fanny
      August 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm (4 years ago)

      Kathleen, that’s awesome!