Daily Archives: May 28, 2008

Get New Habits, Not a New Job: How to Cut Costs by Increasing Gas Mileage

If you feel that your paycheck is shrinking, you may not need a new job, just new driving habits. Record gas prices are being broken week after week. As of mid-May, New York and Chicago are averaging over $4 a gallon, and gas stations across the country are quickly approaching that mark. With what seems to be ever-increasing fuel costs, individuals are feeling the pinch at the pump. To help you get more mileage for your money, try the following these seven tips.

1. Clean out your car. Before you hit the road, take out all the unnecessary junk inside your car. According to the Department of Energy, removing excess weight from your vehicle can save you up to 7 cents a gallon, for fuel priced at $3.72 per gallon. Removing an extra 100 pounds of unnecessary weight from your car can improve your gas mileage by 2%. Keep the spare tire and car lift, but the golf clubs can go.

2. Drive sensibly. “Speed Racer, slow down!” exclaimed Speed’s teacher in the big-budget summer flick of the same name. Driving like Speed will drain your gas because high speeds guzzle fuel. By avoiding rapid accelerations and constant braking, you can avoid wasting gas and also be a safer driver. But, don’t drive too slowly because slow acceleration can bog down your engine and decrease fuel efficiency as well.

3. Properly inflate your tires. Under-inflated tires can also reduce your gas mileage and poses a safety hazard as well, so make sure you pump up your tires to the recommended level. Over-inflating your tires can decrease friction and increase gas mileage, but it’s unsafe because it also reduces grip for braking and turning.

4. Turn off the car. If you know you won’t be moving for more than 30 seconds, turn your car off to save fuel. Turning your car on and off uses less fuel than leaving it idle for minutes at a time. This tip is useful at railroad crossings, ATMs, drive-thrus and long traffic lights.

5. Keep the wheels practical. Shiny new rims on your car might be trendy, but bigger wheels actually increase you car’s rolling resistance. This increase will cause your car’s fuel economy to lower. If you do drive with larger tires, keep your stock wheels and switch out the larger rims on long distance drives.

6. Use cruise control. When you can, use your car’s cruise control. Using cruise control at highway speeds can save up to 7% of your car’s fuel economy. With little need for acceleration and braking on the highway, the constant speed helps save gas.

7. Just park it. Circling the mall, grocery store or workplace parking lot in search of a close spot is a fuel burner. Even by waiting for a car to pull out of a spot, your idle car wastes gas – and your time. So try parking a little further away and burn less fuel while burning more calories.

By following these simple tips, you might just be able to afford driving somewhere other than just to the office and back.

How are record-breaking gas prices affecting you, and what are you doing to cope? How is the fuel economy on your ride?