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. GasBuddy.com 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.