One area that we have looked at as a family is how to reduce our car running costs on a month by month basis. In the UK at least petrol prices are as high as they have ever been (the Government puts a huge tax surplus on the basis cost of petrol) and in the US and all around the world gas prices continue to rise
Your car usage, and subsequent use of petrol, is definitely one area where you can reduce costs and make savings, so this article looks at your car with specific reference to cutting down your costs at the petrol pump.
Also of a consideration is the effect on the environment, and in many countries the amount of road tax you pay is directly related to the CO2 emissions produced as an extra incentive to save money.
1) Buy Smaller and More Efficient:
It’s obvious I know Buy a smaller, more efficient car. There are cars now on the marketplace that can do 60, 70 or even 80 miles to the gallon but they tend to be smaller and perhaps less powerful.
If you are looking to replace your car soon then at least consider such a model as there are considerable savings to be made.
2) Keep Your Car In Top Condition
If your car is maintained at its optimum condition, including frequent oil changes, tune-ups and any necessary repairs, it will burn less gas and will ultimately save you money.
It may seem slightly odd to recommend actually spending money (on service etc) to save money but in the case of your car it will help in the long run.
Make sure the gas cap is always tightly sealed and external trim is properly secured. The cost of these items could even be balanced out by the savings in fuel cost if you drive a great deal.
3) Check Your Tires
Monitor the condition of your tires and replace them when they are starting to show wear. Even if they don’t show any problems, they should be replaced on a regular basis, depending upon the specifications of the tire. Make sure to maintain proper tire pressure as well; underinflated tires cause a huge waste of fuel.
4) Watch Your Speed
Maintaining the speed limit is not only good for your safety, it’s good for your fuel efficiency as well. The optimum driving speed is around 55 mph, and every mile above 60 mph costs you.
Some cars now have a gauge which monitors how efficiently you are driving and that is very useful. The key is to use your accelerator and brake as little as possible to maintain constant speeds with little thrusts of acceleration and braking
5) Slow Your Stops and Starts
Gunning the engine to hit 60 like a race car wastes gas, and waiting until you are upon a stop sign to stop pressing on the gas is not only dangerous but a waste as well. Always accelerate at a slow, even pace and anticipate stops by letting your car coast a while before you need to start braking.
6) Use Your Air Conditioning Sensibly
Whether or not to use the AC in your car should be dictated by the speed you are driving. When driving in town and making frequent stops, running the AC gets expensive due to the higher idling of your engine, so opt for windows down if possible. On the highway, however, having the windows down will create a wind-drag on your vehicle and have the opposite effect. It is best to keep all windows shut tightly and the AC running as low as is comfortable when driving at higher speeds.
7) Reduce the Weight
Lighten up – Reduce the amount of weight in your trunk and on top of your car to reduce drag. Non-essential items in the trunk, such as sandbags, an old flat tire, canned goods or tools cause your engine to work harder and use more gas. If you aren’t specifically transporting the heavy items somewhere, then take them out. The same goes for items on top of your car. Remove luggage racks if possible, and do not use them to carry items unless there is no room elsewhere for them. Modern vehicles are designed to let the air flow smoothly over the car, but having items on top interrupts that flow creating a drag on the engine.
8) Walk Instead of Drive
Admit it – there are many journeys you do where you should really be walking instead of driving and this will of course save you petrol. It will also help you considerably with your physical fitness so before you embark on a short journey to the shops consider whether you would actually benefit from walking that journey
These are just a handful of the top things you can do to reduce your gas mileage. You can test out a variety of options for your car by keeping track of your habits and gas mileage or by installing a mileage meter. Learn more about ways to reduce your gas consumption through educational websites such as EcoDrivingUSA.com and DriveSmarterChallenge.org.