Before you take off on your first road trip of the summer, evaluate how you can improve your fuel economy. From being diligent about routine maintenance to clearing out your trunk, there are plenty of simple things you can do without going to extremes like your hypermiling neighbor. Be green while saving green and implement these tips into your driving habits:
Sure, this is obvious, but have you ever really made an effort to use your car less often? We expect tips and tricks for everything, but sometimes the solution is simpler. These days technology makes it much less inconvenient to drive less. Smartphones and tablets allow you to catch up on work while riding public transportation to work. Rideshare apps like Ridejoy make carpooling easier than ever, as well as a way to meet new people. Your teen can prepare for her driver\’s test by taking driving tests online instead of spending hours circling an empty parking lot. Driving less doesn\’t have to mean staying home more and missing out on the things you want to do.
Avoid Driving During Peak Traffic Hours
If you can\’t drive less altogether, then at least try to avoid driving during high-traffic rush hours to save gas as well as your sanity. Ask your boss if you can come in and leave an hour earlier each day to save time on your commute. While getting up earlier may be tough at first, you\’ll be able to boost your productivity while also saving gas in the long run.
Check the Tire Pressure
When was the last time you had your tire pressure checked? Driving on underinflated tires causes your engine to work harder to propel your vehicle, using more gas. The simple act of making sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure can save you as much as 3.3 percent in gas mileage, according to FuelEconomy.gov. Not knowing how to check pressure and refill tires is no excuse, most tire shops offer this as a complimentary service.
Drop the Weight
Storing heavy things in your trunk, such as your golf clubs or that hefty jogging stroller, causes you to use more gas. Your miles per gallon could be slashed by as much as two percent with an additional 100 pounds in the vehicle, according to the Department of Energy. While the cargo itself may not weigh 100 pounds, when you add in a car full of passengers, this can quickly become an issue. Roof cargo, such as a roof top luggage carrier, is even worse. The Department of Energy notes that these decrease fuel economy by 10 to 25 percent when driving on interstate highways, so try to pack accordingly before hitting the road for your summer vacation.
Get a Tuneup
Routine maintenance is essential to eco-friendly driving practices. An oil or coolant leak pollutes the streets, potentially even getting into the groundwater. A clogged air filter can deter efficient acceleration, causing you to use more fuel to speed up. Worn spark plugs can cause incomplete combustion and misfires, decreasing fuel efficiency, according to mechanics at AutoZone.com. The suggested frequency of tuneups varies depending on the make and model of vehicle, so consult your owners manual to find out how often you need to have your car evaluated.