How to save fuel when driving(Simple tips to get better gas mileage)

Given the current price of gas we all are rushing to the gas pump when the price per gallon drops a couple of cents. But is that all we can do or is there a better way to actually buy cheap gas. Well not really if you think in terms of the money you pay at the pump but when you get extra miles to a gallon from your sedan that is essentially buying cheap gas. Don't believe me, lets try a simple calculation

Say, I paid $3.90 for a gallon of gas & filled up 10 gallons in my car. My regular driving style gives me 24 miles to gallon. Given these parameters I can drive 240 miles at the rate of 0.16 cents per mile. Now if I were to get 28 miles to a gallon with the above parameters I would've been able to travel 280 miles on the same 10 gallons of gas which means I would've paid 0.14 cents per mile. At this rate, to travel 240 miles with better efficiency it would cost me $33.60. Compare this with the $39 we paid with poor mileage & you'll see how we've managed to get cheap gas. In fact compared to the first scenario the second scenario has effectively managed to get you a fifty cent discount.

In the last 4 years I've seen the price of gas nearly double but that hasn't fazed me much cause even when gas was supposedly cheap I held myself accountable if I didn't get the best mileage from my car or motorcycle. So here goes, here's my tips on saving gas when driving...

Changing your Habits

  • Stop being a lead-foot - Everytime you start off from the light as if it were a drag racing contest, your gas mileage drops by almost half then if you'd have let the car gain momentum at it's pace. And to add hurt to your mileage if you were to stop at the next light which is less than a quarter mile away then you've killed all the momentum that the car has gained, all that energy has gone to waste but yeah you made the motorcycle next to you eat dust.
  • Brake right - One of the ways we burn gas for no reason is when we see that the light is red & yet our foot is on the accelerator. When you see the light is red or know you'll not make it, take your foot off that pedal & let the car coast or start braking. Don't brake long before you come close to the light else you might have to accelerate to catch up. Learn to modulate your brakes, it's essentially a speed control device
  • Stop using cruise control - Cruise control is just a fancy feature & it doesn't do it's job well. When you set your car to cruise at say 70 mph, for every gradient(slope) you hit, your car is going to try to keep its speed at 70 mph and it'll try to get there at the earliest. What that means is if you hit a slope & 65 mph would suffice, the car will still try to take you to 70 mph quickly & in the process waste gas.
  • Reduce your fat - Well the weight of unwanted junk in your car actually. Do you really need to carry your little Joe's bicycle to work or are you gonna be needing those two 5 gallon paint buckets that you bought at the Housing Mart. We like to keep our stuff at arms length but if you did not need that stuff in a week while driving your car you sure don't need it now.
  • Roll up your windows - On freeways where typical driving speeds is about 60-70 mph, open windows will create aerodynamic drag which in turn will demand more fuel. Typically cars have good aerodynamic shapes & will immensely reduce drag generated by headwinds. Rolling up your windows allows the shape of your car to cut through the air more efficiently.
  • Roll down your windows - Yeah, I know what I mentioned in the last point, but off the freeway where typical speeds are less than 40 mph the air conditioning can put a load on your cars engine which in turn will increase the fuel consumption.
  • Maintain Regularly - A well maintained car will not only drive better but will also function as intended in turn giving you the rewards of increased fuel efficiency. Simple things like replacing your air-filter regularly will help proper burning of fuel. Properly inflated tires will not only give better traction but will ease the load on the car's engine. Changing oil per the manufacturers instructions will keep the engine lubricated to provide better compression in the pistons & hence proper burning of fuel. On a side note, most service centers will ask you to come in every 3000 miles for an oil change & I personally think that's just their way of getting more business. When it comes to newer cars, I would rather follow the manufacturers instructions on regular maintenance which generally calls for an oil change every 5000 miles when using synthetic oil.

Discipline yourself

  • Combine Trips - If most of us would keep a log of every mile we drive, we'd be surpised to learn that quite a lot of miles that we rake up were not really required in the first place. For instance, we can go to the grocery store to get the oil, come back & go back again to get the salt or we could keep jotting down our needs & try to get everything in one trip. Also, we can can combine trips to the grocery store, drug store & movie rental place. Depending upon how far you drive for every errand, combining trips can easily save you a lot of money.
  • Turn it off - Seriously, when you're not driving, the car doesn't need to run. Try stepping outside your car while your sweetie is fetching you your double shot, non-fat, dash of cinnamon latte. And on this note, stop pulling into the drive through. Give burger joint a chance to lure you in, you'll be surprised at how quick the service is.
  • Stop Driving In Circles - At the mall that is. A lot of us try to find a spot closest to the entry of the business & at times we'll keep driving till we find one. That may seem convenient but driving in the parking lot consumes more fuel than driving on the freeway. Besides that you're only saving a couple of steps at the cost of burning the more expensive fuel.

If you'd like to share your tips in here, leave a comment for this article & I'll got ahead & add it to this list. Happy Driving!