Gas Saving Tips – 3 You Need to Try, One You Need to Do Right Now
Gas prices are once again on the rise and as we head into the holiday season those higher prices are going to impact the way some of us celebrate the season. A recent survey found that about 25% of us are already downsizing our holiday travel plans while another 24% of us say we won't be hitting the road as much as we did when gas wasn't so expensive.
A quick check of fuel prices from Triple-A reveals the national average for a gallon of regular on the day this article was penned was about $3.92. In Louisiana, we're paying about .25 cents per gallon less, although there are some places in many southern states where you can find gas even cheaper than that.
Since we all need fuel to make our cars go it's a necessary evil. But, how strategically we use each fill-up can be turned into real dollars and significant savings but there is a lot of confusing and contradictory information out there, so, let's set the record straight.
The One Tip Every Driver Should Have Already Done to Save Fuel.
This one is going to be so obvious when you read it. Quite simply you can improve your fuel mileage and gas savings by as much as 10% if you just clean out your car. No, I'm not talking about dusting and wiping down the dashboard. I am talking about removing excess items from the trunk, the truck bed, the backseat, or any place you've got stuff that has significant weight to it.
It's really pretty simple if your vehicle doesn't have to use the energy to carry that extra weight, sometimes as much as 100lbs if you're a "car hoarder", then you'll get better fuel efficiency. There are some that say washing and waxing a car makes it more aerodynamic, which I'm sure it does but unless you're going to travel at the speed of sound, you probably won't notice those savings.
Does Using the Cruise Control Save Gas?
Here in the Gulf South where I live the answer is "absolutely". In parts of the country where the terrain is a little more elevated the answer is still absolutely but not in such large amounts. A comparison study of highway drivers and highway mileage found that using cruise control on level surfaces at highway speeds can save you as much as 20% on your fuel consumption.
Using cruise control on the highway also saves wear and tear on the transmission and drive train. The only time you don't want to use cruise control on the open highway is when the weather is bad and driving conditions are challenging such as in ice, snow, or heavy rain.
Should I Use the A/C or Roll Down the Windows?
The answer to this question is dependent on the make and model of the car you drive and how old it is. The engineer in the family tells me that keeping the windows rolled up makes the car more aerodynamic at higher speeds. Also, today's modern automotive air conditioners are a lot more efficient than their older counterparts too.
But, if you drive an older car or a vehicle with a non-aerodynamic profile, translation pickup truck, SUV, or van, then you might actually be a little money ahead by rolling down the windows.
Should I Turn My Car Off and On to Save Fuel?
This tip appears to be only advantageous if you have a newer car equipped with the auto stop/start feature. The vehicles that offer that feature have a fortified battery and starter system so you don't burn fuel cranking and re-cranking. You also don't wear out the starter's mechanism too.
If your car doesn't offer this feature then you're better off just letting the vehicle idle. Now, if you're in bumper-to-bumper traffic and not moving for minutes at a time, then you might consider this tip to be a fuel saver. Otherwise, the savings you'll realize from shutting down the engine you'll lose when extra fuel is needed to restart the motor.
One Other Easy Obvioius Fuel and Money Saver
If you carry bikes, a luggage rack, a kayak or a canoe, on your vehicle then removing those items will help in a lot of ways. The same can be said for camper tops on pickup trucks too. The extra weight and the extra drag can certainly rob you of fuel economy but, if you need those items for where you're going then obviously, they are worth strapping on. Just remember to unstrap them and take them off when you're just driving around town.
Now that you've saved all this money on gas, let's go get your car cleaned, want to?
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