Six Tips For Getting Better Gas Mileage
Gas prices have been too high since at least 2006, to the point that even when you’re getting a “good deal” at less than $3 per gallon, you’re still paying way more than you should. When you look at the speed to which prices shot up and compare it to the slow growth of wages over the same time period, it’s easy to see how many Americans are struggling to pay their bills. Fuel purchases went from being a mild annoyance to, in many ways, a life-altering expense.
While you can’t do anything about the price of gasoline, however, you can utilize smarter driving tactics to get more miles out of each tank. Here are some of our suggestions.
Foot Off The Gas.
Due to the way a car is built and operates, it uses the most gas when it’s in a state of acceleration. Therefore, one of the first places you can cut back on consumption is the gas pedal. Allstate adds: “Gentle braking—or avoiding the brakes all together—is the best way to prevent unnecessary acceleration and manage gas consumption. In stop-and-go traffic, leave extra distance between your car and the car in front of you. Doing so will allow the car to gently (and safely) coast, which is preferable to slamming on the brakes and then flooring the accelerator to start moving again.”
If you can do 75mph, then why not do 75mph? A simple answer to this question is that the faster you go, the more acceleration your car requires, which, as we pointed out above, means you burn more gasoline. Cutting your speed just 5mph from 70mph to 65mph results in a 7 percent drop in usage. Your numbers improve the more you slow down.
Stop-and-go traffic can kill your fuel efficiency, so it may be possible to cut back on usage by adding a few miles to your trip, provided that it helps you avoid heavy traffic situations.
Buy A Smaller Car.
Smaller cars and hybrids will almost always beat more fashionable rides on fuel efficiency. If gas expenses are too much for your budget, then think about going with a hybrid or economy ride that gets at least 40 miles per gallon. You may not get where you’re going in style, but you’ll have more money in your account every time you fill up. Many of these cars are also cheaper on sale price/payments, so you save there as well.
Straighten Your Alignment.
Crooked alignment doesn’t only burn through the tread on your tires faster, it also causes the car to work harder and burn fuel more quickly.
Drive Smarter, Not Harder.
If you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, then you burn up a lot of gas, period. While you may not always have a choice, with some careful planning, you can take some of that burden off the car and put it on your feet. By parking in a central location and walking reasonable distances to all of the places you have to go in a single day, you can avoid the hassle of stop-and-go traffic and keep your car cruising along with as little acceleration and braking as possible. This will also help you extend the life of your car, and keep your auto insurance rates low.
We know what you’re paying at the pump can be hard to manage, and while the tips above won’t remove that financial pain entirely, they will allow you to manage your budget more effectively. Just remember that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. You may not notice the savings in a day or week, but once you see how much less you’re spending each time you fill up, the benefits will become worth it.