With the cost of gasoline jumping high and expecting to spike higher, using gas efficiently will save money. Beyond the basics of regular maintenance and keeping your tire pressure inflated properly, you should remove any excess items not being used. Not just things that add weight to your vehicle, but items on the outside like bike and luggage racks that can increase wind resistance. Here are 5 more tips to help you maximize your vehicle’s fuel economy.
1) Maintain a quarter tank
Some think that driving to the last drop in the tank saves money, since they’re using every drop they buy and not storing it. But that can harm the car and decrease gas mileage. In fact, according to carID.com, drive with at least a quarter of a tank at all times so that the fuel pump is submerged in gas and stays cool. As gas drops below a quarter tank, condensation forms in the tank, diluting the fuel and causing rust. On an empty tank, the pump can pick up these rusty bits, which can hurt the pump and the motor.
2) Keep your speed steady
Plan routes that will keep your travel at a steady speed, even if they might be a little longer. This can actually be more fuel-efficient than stop-and-go driving, according to The Next Trip.
3) Pre-cool hybrids
When the weather is hot, turn on the air conditioning while the car is still plugged in and let it cool, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This will extend the car’s range.
4) Windows up on highway, down in city
On the highway, keep windows rolled up and air conditioning on to maximize fuel economy, according to the US Department of Energy. Open windows create drag from wind resistance.
But in slow, stop-and-go conditions, turn the AC off and roll the windows down to increase fuel efficiency.
5) Cruise control on flat roads
Cruise control is great for straight, flat terrain, but in hilly conditions, turn it off. Cruise tends to gulp gas to make the vehicle accelerate up hills. Turn it off and, instead, go steadily up hills, allowing your speed to decrease slightly on the ascent and then increase when you go downhill.
A few additional suggestions include changing your spark plugs and getting an alignment. According to fueleconomy.gov, if you are stopped and your expected wait time is more than 10 seconds, it is better to just turn your vehicle off. Since an idling car can burn as much as 1 gallon of gas an hour, that can really add up.