- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
Target: Fuel Economy
Gas prices continue to rise regularly and the limited sources of fuel coupled with increasing demand left car owners no choice but to think of ways to save gas and implement fuel economy practices so that each liter of fuel will be stretched. Car owners continuously search for ways to save on gas expenses by increasing gas mileage and fuel-saving driving techniques. This even gave rise to a special group of people called 'hypermilers' who go to extremes and who employ dangerous driving techniques to increase their MPG (miles-per-gallon). Some of the techniques advocated by the hypermilers are illegal and extremely unsafe for road driving. However, there legit gas-saving techniques which one can employ without getting in trouble.
Learn about car gas mileage
In order to kisckstart a gas-saving project, it is necessary to first find out your car’s miles per gallon (MPG). There are websites that can help you out here and most provide a calculation of a car’s gas usage per gallon such as Mpgbuddy.com, and Trackyourgasmileage.com. Another easy way is to fill up the car gas tank into full, then restart the trip counter back to "0." Once the full tank gets emptied, divide the number of gallons you last put in by the new data on your trip counter. The resulting figure will be your car’s miles per gallon (MPG) or gas mileage.
Lose the extra weight from your car
One can save on fuel by ridding it of unnecessary weight in your car. Make it a habit to clean up the trunk, cabinet under the dashboard and the seat pockets and regularly get rid of all the junk. The excess weight prompts that car engines to use more gas. The less weight you lug around, the more efficient your car becomes and the more you save on fuel.
Ease up on the gas pedals
Avoid sudden acceleration or deceleration. This means that one should avoid sudden acceleration when coming from a full stop nor should you brake hard from full speed. This guzzles up more gas than necessary and more importantly, it wears out both pedals easily. To avoid this, anticipate possible stops or road blockage ahead so you can release the gas pedal earlier before coming to a full stop.
Park in the nearest or first spot you find.
Avoid driving all the way to the other end of the parking lot and park on the first vacant spot you see. This is applicable to people who have the habit of preferring a certain parking spot.
Avoid idling even for short periods of time.
Idling not only uses up your fuel but also contributes to the global warming. When waiting, turn off the engine, or much better find a waiting area. Idling the car engines also causes faster deterioration to car components.
Use GPS (Global Positioning System)
GPS are very handy and also helps one save on fuel by giving you the shortest routes thereby cutting on travelling time and gas. It will also help you avoid hills or stops which makes your engine use up more gas. If your car has no built-in GPS navigation systems, many smart phones offer this applications at minimal cost.
Regularly clean or change air filters
Car filters trap dust daily and expect it to get clogged up soon. Make periodic cleaning or change filters when necessary. You may go online to check where your car filter is located or ask your maintenance technician.
Proper Tire Pressure
An underinflated tire causes your engine to use more fuel due to increased rolling resistance since the contact and friction with the road is greater. Keeping your tire pressure in the proper or appropriate range is one way to increase your car mileage per gallon. Check tire pressures every week if you can. If you are clueless on what proper tire pressure for your car is, try to see the owner’s manual. It contains information on the proper tire pressure for your car under hot or cold weather conditions. Similarly, avoid overinflating your tires, as they can cause difficult handling and your tires become dangerously prone to punctures.
Know when to use the airconditioner (A/C)
Turning on the cars air conditioner uses up more or less 8 horsepower, thus, additional gas thereby further decreasing you mileage per gallon/liter. When it is a cold day, try not to use you’re A/C or just turn on the fan, but this is only advisable at lower speeds or city driving. When driving in a highway or for long trips, it is much more fuel-efficient to use the A/ C instead of keeping you windows open as they cause more drag, hence more gas usage.
Get rid of unused roof rack
A roof rack often causes air drag which translates to more fuel use. If your car has a roof rack that you never used anyway, get rid of it. When times comes that you intend to actually use it, it is always possible to mount it.
Keep car in top condition
Regular car maintenance check-ups will do most of the work for you. But doing your own weekly periodic check-ups won't hurt either. Make sure everything under the hood is working properly. Check all the fluids (brake, engine oil, transmission fluid, and air coolant) are in the recommended levels. Moreover, change your car engine oil using the proper grade of engine oil.
These practices when put into good use will help you in saving fuel. It also helps you ensure that your car is in good condition at all times.
Higher speeds use up more gas
Find out what is the appropriate speed for your car for it to use gas more efficiently, it can be within the range of 40-65 mph. Higher than this, you car requires more engine power hence, is bound to use more gas as you speed along.
Put all these into practice and expect to increase your mileages per gallon (MPG) by 15% - 35%. That could mean putting back in your pocket an average $500-$1000 per year, depending on your car make or model. It might be not much but that's still money going out of your pocket and getting wasted. Money that should have been put to better use.