Driving on a Green Path: 7 Tips to Make You an Efficient Motorist

It seems like everyone is looking to squeeze more money out of their monthly budget. Some expenses, such as gas for your car, are unavoidable, but what if you could save money there? A few small changes to your driving habits can improve your efficiency to save money and the environment. Check out these seven ways to improve your car’s fuel efficiency.

Reduce Your Car’s Weight

Ready for your daily physics lesson? Heavier objects require more energy to move. The same applies to your car. If you reduce your car’s weight, you will need less gas to accelerate your car. Check your trunk to see if you can remove anything weighing down your vehicle. Remove your roof rack and any after-market items such as additional lights, hitches, or toolboxes. Lightening the load will help you use less gas.

Accelerate and Stop Slower

While hitting the gas pedal like you’re Mario Andreotti may make your ride more fun, you’ll end up guzzling more gas in the long run. It requires more energy to get your car from zero to sixty in five seconds then doing it in 15 seconds. Slower acceleration can save you up to 20 percent in fuel economy. Along the same lines, gentle braking can save gas. As you come up to a red light, coast into the intersection instead of braking. You’ll use less gas and save money too.

Avoid Traffic

Because excessive accelerating and stopping uses more gas, driving in heavy traffic is very inefficient. Consider traveling outside of peak traffic times to avoid the stop and go. Use a traffic planner and re-route your path to stay away from areas with bad traffic. No one wants to drive in traffic anyway, so avoiding traffic can save both your sanity and a few bucks at the pump.

Minimize Idling

When you’re not starting or stopping in traffic, you are sitting and idling. Idling is inefficient because you are still using gas while you aren’t moving. Minimize your idling wherever you can. Don’t idle the engine for any longer than you need to get the engine warm in the winter. Anytime that delays stop you for more than a few minutes, turn off your engine. As long as you avoid excessive starting and stopping of your car’s engine, shutting the engine off will use less gas than idling.

Properly Inflate Your Tires

Your tires are an overlooked part when it comes to improving fuel efficiency. Under-inflated tires can increase the surface contact between your tire and the road, causing more friction and slowing your car down. You compensate for this by accelerating more to overcome the friction and using more gas. Inflate your tires to the specifications of your driver’s manual. Check your tires’ pressures every time you fill your gas tank so that you are always driving at the right pressure.

Turn Off Your Air Conditioning

While your air conditioning can keep you cool in the summer, it isn’t doing your gas bill any favors. Running the A/C drains your engine and eats up your fuel efficiency. If you can tolerate the heat, turn off your A/C to improve your gas consumption. However, don’t be too quick to roll down all your windows because this will reduce your car’s aerodynamic shape and increase gas consumption. The best option is to crack your car’s windows and let the fan run without the A/C. This can save you gas dollars along the way.

Upgrade Your Car

While many of these changes to your driving style can improve your fuel efficiency, older vehicles just aren’t as fuel-efficient as newer cars. Car makers understand that people are looking to save at the pump, so many manufacturers offer greener options. Even luxury SUVs now come with eco-options such as clean diesel, lighter frames, and more efficient engines. Consider updating your vehicle and saving even more money at the pump in the long run.

Using less gas saves you money, but it’s good for the environment too. These tips can help you save gas and improve your fuel efficiency. What are some other tricks you use to save money at the pump?

 

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