Old habits are hard to break. We get used to doing things a certain way and we’re not interested in changing no matter what. But with gasoline exceeding four dollars a gallon we’re rethinking our old driving habits to see if we can cut down on fuel consumption.
Fuel efficiency can be done in a number of ways. If we can just add a mile or two per gallon here and another there it will add up to significant savings over a period of time. Oil is a non-renewable resource and when we save on gas, it helps us with our reduced dependency on foreign oil. Over 50% of our gas comes from foreign lands!
Many of our bad old habits can be logged under one heading: Drive Sensibly. Avoid aggressive driving. In other words steer clear of rapid acceleration and quick braking. This alone can lower gas mileage up to 33%.
Of course you don’t speed. Do you? Speeders rarely get to their destination much earlier than law abiders and waste a lot more gas. Gas usage goes up considerably at speeds over 60 mph. For each 5 mph your drive over 60 you can add an additional 30 cents a gallon to your bill.
When you’re on the highway, use cruise control, which helps maintain a constant speed. Use the highest gear possible and overdrive gears if you have them. The faster an engine is turning the more gas you’re using. Pay attention to your tachometer. Plus, a slower turning engine means less friction and engine wear.
Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. It doesn’t get much worse than that. If you’re stopped for a train or backed up in a fast food take out line or waiting for a drive thru bank teller stop your engine if you’re going to be idling for more than 30 seconds. The bigger your vehicle the more gas you’re using even when idling. It costs less to restart than idle.
Turn off the air conditioning. It may get hot but try opening a window and breathe in the fresh air. An air conditioner can lower your mileage by two to three miles per gallon.
Is this trip necessary? Don’t drive until you have several errands or appointments to combine. Avoid doing these errands during peak rush times. If possible, and the distance is short, try walking or riding a bicycle.
Know where you’re going before you start out. Don’t drive around looking for something. I’m afraid the good old days of dragging Main Street with friends are gone. Now, it’s called car-pooling and friends who share the gas bill or drive next time. Public transportation is also a good option. Changing bad driving habits doesn’t cost you a thing and will pay you big dividends in fuel economy and saving money.