Although today’s automobiles are becoming more fuel-efficient than ever, it is still important to take every opportunity to reduce fuel costs. You can save on fuel by changing some simple driving habits and keeping up maintenance on your vehicle. Let’s look at some easy ways to save money at the pumps below.
#1: Reduce Your Curb Weight
Because your vehicle weight has such a substantial impact on the power-to-weight ratio, it also affects your fuel economy. Vehicles with a high power-to-weight ratio are going to get more energy with every revolution of the engine. This means that they need less fuel to make it from point A to point B. Remove any extra materials from your trunk and back seats that do nothing more than bog down your vehicle with extra weight. You can even remove your spare tire if you have roadside assistance services, such as AAA.
#2: Drive Less Aggressively
Aggressive driving inherently wastes fuel. When you are hitting the accelerator hard when every light turns green and lunging to the next red light with a hard stop, you are burning up gas. You should always predict the flow of traffic and ease your way up to speed and back down by smoothly accelerating to 50 mph in about 20 seconds. If you let your vehicle slow down on its own when you are approaching intersections, you will take advantage of inertia without burning fuel.
#3: Pulse and Glide
The pulse-and-glide method is an effective way of reducing your fuel usage by keeping your foot off the gas pedal. Some vehicles have a gauge that helps you to see how much fuel you are burning and to alert you when you are too heavy on the pedal. You burn a lot of gas to maintain normal RPMs at highway speeds. If you gently lift your foot off the pedal and pulse it, it is much easier to stretch your fuel dollars.
#4: Keep Your Vehicle Maintained
You should always ensure that your fuel injectors are atomizing the fuel properly. As fuel injectors age, they can get clogged and also erode. The erosion will prevent the fuel from combusting properly because the mist sprayed into the cylinders is not aerated enough. Old spark plug wires and coil packs can build up internal resistance that reduces the spark energy available to ignite the fuel.
Most of all, if you have air leaks or old temperature or oxygen sensors, these will kill your fuel economy. In addition, you need to regularly check your tire pressure to make sure that the PSI matches the numbers listed on the chart that is located in the driver’s doorjamb. Changing your motor oil and fuel filter and adding a high-flow or cold air intake system can also help to increase efficiency.
#5: Avoid Idling and Traffic Jams
You should cut your engine if you are stuck in traffic for more than 30 seconds. When you are idling, you are getting zero miles per gallon. Today’s engines can restart in a moment and don’t require extensive warm-up times. And if you map out your routes to avoid congestion, in part by avoiding large city areas during rush hour, you will not be wasting gas in gridlock.