Gasoline prices have soared across the country, causing many motorists to feel the pinch as they fill up their vehicles. Although the worst seems to be behind us, that may only be the case for now as the price of oil has fluctuated over the summer. Fortunately, there are several steps that drivers can take to boost fuel efficiency and cut costs at the pump no matter what the price per gallon may be. Consider these tips to help minimize gasoline expenses.
Unsafe driving habits such as speeding, hard breaking and idling can significantly reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. As such, be sure to always obey speed limits and remove your foot from the gas pedal well before breaking. Also, utilize cruise control whenever possible to maintain a consistent speed and turn your vehicle completely off instead of leaving the engine running while stopped for extended periods of time, such as running into a convenience store or gas station.
Check your tires
Poorly inflated tires can affect your vehicle’s handling and breaking capabilities, increasing the risk of a blowout on the road and lowering overall fuel mileage. Make sure to check the pressure of your tires frequently and inflate them as needed. The summer heat or winter cold can also cause the air in your tires to expand and contract with the weather. Keep this in mind when traveling.
Apart from keeping your tires in good condition and inflated, having your vehicle serviced routinely can also help it run more efficiently. Have regular oil changes, check the air filters and break pads, and keep an eye on fluid levels. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for recommended maintenance intervals.
Excess weight in your vehicle can generate a drag on the engine, forcing it to consume additional gasoline. To avoid driving around with unnecessary weight and wasting fuel, check the back seat and trunk for any items that could be removed. (What a great excuse to clean out our cars!) Additionally, keep the windows up while traveling on the highway to further minimize drag.
Give the air conditioner a break
I know this one is hard considering the heat wave the entire world is experiencing right now, but running your vehicle’s air conditioner will also result in the engine using extra fuel. Try to limit the use of your car’s air conditioner by turning it off a few minutes before reaching your destination, and parking in the shade or a covered garage when you can.
Carpool and combine trips
Instead of taking several short trips to run errands, consider combining these journeys to promote fuel efficiency and to prevent your vehicle’s engine from having to warm up multiple times. If possible, don’t run errands during rush hour, as driving amid heavy traffic can waste gasoline.
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