Reducing Vehicle Fuel Costs

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Drive Less Miles

  • Walk or bike instead (Walking distance is considered to be half a mile.  My experience it is more like a mile.  Biking distance is considered to be two miles.)
  • Telecommute
  • Don’t go, if it isn’t necessary
  • Don’t waste a trip (are they open?, do they have what you want?, do they deliver?, shop around online or by phone)
  • Use public transportation
  • Use GPS to find the fastest route
  • Combine trips (this also saves gas because your engine is more efficient when running warm)

Make Your Vehicle Fuel Efficient

  • Get a tune up
  • Have an alignment, if necessary
  • Tighten your gas cap
  • Rent a more fuel efficient vehicle for a major trip
  • Rent a larger vehicle for infrequent uses, and own a more fuel efficient vehicle
  • Get a more fuel efficient vehicle (even consider a motorcycle or motor scooter)
  • Don’t fill up until your down to a quarter tank (better to drive with less weight)
  • Remove vinyl tops
  • Remove racks
  • Get rid of dead weight
  • Turn off electronics
  • Close the sun or moon roof

Drive More Efficiently

  • Drive during off peak hours
  • Avoid dirt or gravel roads
  • Avoid heavy traffic and lights
  • Don’t warm up the car more than 30 seconds
  • Turn off the choke
  • Drive steadily
  • Don’t exceed the speed limit (I’ve found it necessary to go the speed of traffic for safety reasons in major cities)
  • Use brakes sparingly, avoid hard stops
  • Shift up early and down late with a manual transmission
  • Don’t weave
  • Build up speed before a hill, maintain on the way up, coast down
  • Follow traffic reports
  • Eliminate jack-rabbit starts
  • Time the lights
  • Turn off car, if you will be sitting still more than 30 seconds
  • Keep windows closed at highway speeds
  • Use cruise control in low highway traffic
  • Use the overdrive gears
  • Don’t rev the engine when you turn it off
  • Park to avoid reverse
  • Don’t search for a parking space, just park and walk
  • Maintain a safe following distance (this reduces acceleration and braking)
  • Stay away from store fronts (you’ll wait for pedestrians and other vehicles)

Reduce Your Air Conditioning Costs

  • Use a car shade when you park in the sun
  • Open windows in stop and go traffic
  • Turn it off five minutes before you reach your destination
  • Park in the shade
  • Park in the garage (this also helps it stay warm in the winter)
  • Crack the windows when parked
  • Vent air instead

Don’t Waste Gas at the Pump

  • Don’t overfill your tank

Buy Cheaper Fuel

  • Don’t use premium
  • Use the cheapest option to pay (cash, credit card, rewards card)
  • Use a phone app to find the cheapest gasoline
  • Use ethanol, if it is cheap enough (E10 needs to be 3-4% cheaper to compensate for lower mileage, E15 needs to be 4-5% cheaper, E85 needs to be 15-30% cheaper)

Share the Cost

  • Car pool

Methods Consumer Reports Says Don’t Work

  • Inflating tires (not much difference)
  • Low rolling resistant tires (no effect until worn down)
  • Replace air filter (doesn’t matter on newer cars)
  • Morning fill-ups
  • Lowering tailgate and tonneau covers (decreases gas mileage)

Sources:

“66 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline” treehugger.com

“Ethanol” www.fueleconomy,gov

“Fuel Economy Tips” consumerreports.org

“How to Save Money on Gas” wikiHow

“Walking Distance Research” fairfaxcounty.gov

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