Saving $$$ on fill ups !
If youíre like most people, you dread heading to the gas pump these days. There goes that extra latte you were hoping to get later in the day. Then dinner out Friday night. Braces. College for the kids.
Okay, so maybe itís not THAT bad, but gas prices are high. And while we know the standard copout in these types of articles is the simple ďbuy a smaller, more fuel efficient carĒ or ďcarpool,Ē for most of us those simply arenít options.
To that end, weíve gathered this expert advice that can save you money at the pump (plus a few things that donít work as advertised). Because little Jimmy really wants to go to a good university!
1. Easy Does It
Itís been said before, but itís worth repeating that the more aggressively you drive, the more gas youíll use. Itís that simple. Ease up on the jackrabbit starts and coast into stoplights instead of jamming on the brakes. Aggressive driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. (An independent study by Edmunds.com found that driving in a ďmoderateĒ fashion can improve a driverís mileage a combined 31 percent!)
2. Donít Speed
I know, I know. Itís the hardest rule to follow. But did you know the national 55-mph speed limit (when it still existed) was enacted not as a life-saving measure (that was the unexpected benefit) but as a fuel-saving measure? Fuel mileage for vehicles rapidly declines at speeds above 60 mph. In fact, according to the DOT, each five mph over 60 you drive is like paying an additional $0.29 for gas (at a U.S. national average of $3.65 per gallon). Slowing down can save you as much as 12 percent on gas versus speeding. That might be worth extending your trip by a few minutes!
3. Clean It Out
For many of us, our trunk is like our closet, a catchall repository for the clutter in our lives. But did you know an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your fuel mileage by up to 2 percent. Thatís about $1 a fill-up, which might not sound like much, but could mean an extra latte a month in savings!
4. Shut íEr Down
Several independent tests have shown that if you are going to be idling for more than a minute, it is more cost effective to simply shut your carís engine down, and then restart it when you need to. After all, an idling vehicle is getting zero miles per gallon!
5. Cruise to the Beat
Remember that Edmunds.com test we mentioned earlier? That same test found using cruise control versus your foot can save an average of about 7 percent on fuel economy, a fact backed up by DOT statistics. So any time youíre out on the open road, turn that cruise control on.
6. Pump íEm Up
Itís perhaps the easiest way to improve your carís fuel economy: keep your tires properly inflated. According to the DOT, properly inflated tires can improve mileage by up to 3.3 percent. Plus, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. And now, several states require service facilities like dealerships and fast lubes to test your tireís inflation for you.
7. Smooth the Airflow
Anything sticking off your vehicle interrupts the airflow and increases drag, so if youíre not using that ski-rack or bicycle-rack, ditch it. (And if you have a sunroof, keep it closed if you want to save gas.) No, you wonít look as macho or outdoorsy, but your credit card wonít have to work as hard when it comes time to fill up, either.
8. Keep It Tight
According to the Car Care Council, loose, missing or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gasoline to simply evaporate into the air each year. Not only is this bad for the environment, it also costs you a little bit of money over time. No, making sure your gas cap is tight (or replacing it if itís damaged) wonít double your fuel economy overnight (you might not even notice a difference), but you will be doing Mother Nature a favor and saving yourself a few cents in the long run.
9. Put Your Foot Down
My grandmother, God bless her, was a two-footed driver her entire life. Her right foot she kept on the gas, her left she kept resting on the brake pedal. If you drive like her, you might not realize that even the smallest bit of pressure on the brake pedal causes the brakes to clamp down. You might not even feel it, but even the tiniest bit of mechanical drag from the brakes can suck your fuel tank dry in a hurry. Plus, it wears out your brakes prematurely, as well, and a brake job is equal to a bunch of lattes!
10. Shut íEm Down
So youíve dropped off the kids at school; now what? Well, for starters you can turn off the rear air conditioner (if you have one). Air conditioning is just one of a number of power-sapping accessories your car might have. Others include navigation systems, entertainment systems and anything else that draws electricity. Shutting off these systems (especially rear A/C) when not in use can result in a small but noticeable improvement in fuel economy. Every little bit helps
Berkeley Minicar specializes in the service and repair of Honda and Acura automobiles. We are a family-owned business serving customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
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