Gas prices are getting out of control. And while buying a more efficient car might be an option for some, new and used cars that get more miles per gallon tend to be more in demand – and more expensive – when prices are high. If a new car isn’t an option for you, implementing the following changes can help ensure that you get the most from the gas in your tank. Be sure to check out our top 10 list for saving on fuel too.
Driving For Better Gas Mileage
Gas saving tips
Gas Saving Tip #1
Keep the gas you buy in your car. When prices are low, stealing gas would likely be more trouble than it’s worth, but when prices are high, it’s not uncommon for thieves to siphon fuel from vehicles, especially those with larger tanks. Adding a locking cap can be done for much less than the cost of a full tank.
Gas Saving Tip #2
Keep your tank full. While you’re looking to reduce the amount of gasoline you are using, constantly running your car with the tank close to empty can wear down your fuel pump. “The gasoline in the tank keeps the pump cool. Take away the gasoline and the pump runs hot and has a shorter life,” says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of RockAuto.com. If you have an older car that has accumulated dirt and rust at the bottom of the tank, keeping a full tank can help your fuel burn cleaner.
Gas Saving Tip #3
Keep your car in shape. Keeping your engine properly tuned improves efficiency by an average of 4 percent, and repairing a major issue like a faulty oxygen sensor could improve efficiency by up to 40 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Gas Saving Tip #4
Keep your tires inflated properly. Keeping your tires at the optimal level not only keeps you safer but can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Your owner’s manual should tell you the proper psi (pounds per square inch) levels for your vehicle.
Gas Saving Tip #5
Drive for optimal gas mileage. How you drive can affect how much fuel you use. Most cars run at peak efficiency at around 55 mph, with the gas economy decreasing sharply when traveling faster. Aggressive driving with rapid acceleration and slowing will also have a negative effect on your gas economy. It’s always best to follow proper defensive driving techniques to help get the most out of every tank.
Gas Saving Tip #6
If applicable, try to carry your cargo on the roof with a large blunt roof-top cargo box. This can reduce your fuel economy by 2 to 8% when driving in the city, and 6 to 17% when driving on the highway. Another example is rear-mounted cargo boxes or trays that can reduce fuel economy by as much as 1 to 2% (city driving) and 1 to 5% (highway driving).
Gas Saving Tip #7
Plan your route accordingly to minimize your starts and stops. And when you do, execute them as gently as possible to minimize your maneuvers’ impact on your fuel economy and cost. Always accelerate slowly and coast gradually to a braking stop.
Gas Saving Tip #8
Another thing that you can do is to limit your air conditioner use or try using your car’s eco setting. According to FuelEconomy.gov, your car’s air conditioner reduces your fuel economy by as much as 25%. This is true especially during very hot weather, if using a hybrid-electric vehicle, and if you’re taking a short trip.
Gas Saving Tip #9
You can also use gas-finding apps that are now widely available thanks to technology. This will come in handy especially for those who travel regularly across county and state lines as it will help you find the best gas deals near your location in real-time. You can also take advantage of credit cards mileage bonus.
Gas Saving Tip #10
Lastly, adopting good driving habits related to speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by 5% in city driving and by 33% at highway speeds. This is something you can control on your own, not relying on other factors. For example, if you anticipate traffic situations, make sure to maintain adequate spacing between vehicles. This will prevent you from unnecessary acceleration and braking.
Why Gas Prices Will Never Reach $1 / Gallon Again
For one, oil companies do not need to go back to $1 / gallon gas prices. Like it or not, we all need oil and gas for our everyday lives and oil companies can basically charge whatever they want so long as their pricing is deemed legal (and even then there isn’t much we can do). In a country where $3 / gallon gas prices are considered cheap, oil companies will never have to sell gas at low prices again. But something is changing with oil in the United States and it’s changing in a big way. We now have access to our own oil supply and will be energy independent by 2016. Here’s some background info:
The good news is obvious. We will become energy independent. The bad news? The oil we are extracting in the United States isn’t “cheap oil” as it costs more money to extract than in places such as the middle east. So, you can get excited about our coming energy independence, but do not expect cheap gasoline to come again. Instead, we should focus on vehicles that are much more efficient. While that’s possible, here is what is currently holding us back from that happening…
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