Going the Extra Mile Without Spending an Extra Cent
How much did you pay per gallon the last time you were at the pump? 3.50? 4.50? Your first born? That’s triflin’. During the summer months, the costs seem to rise to levels you wouldn’t expect. I think I paid $10 more than I anticipated to fill up my modestly sized car. (I didn’t realize it had such an appetite.)
What we all could use right now is some moral support. A loving hug, and maybe, some tips to make the gas last as long as possible. As cost effective as biking is, it may not be convenient for some or palatable for others.
Really, it’s all about your frame of mind. Here are some principles to get your dollars’ worth from the pump.
Get the proper inflation
If you’re anything like me (it wouldn’t be the worst thing, I assure you), the proper air pressure for your tires is the last thing you think about. I mean, what’s the difference, right? Wrong. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, your car loses 1% of its fuel economy for every 3 pounds of lost air pressure, and your tires lose about 1 pound of pressure per month. So get yourself a tire gauge, and check the pressure in your tires each month. With the savings, the gauge will pay for itself.
You CAN drive 55
55 mph is the speed at which your car is the most efficient. Obviously, you can’t always drive 55, but anytime you can, it will help save money. If you’re on a highway and 55 happens to be the speed limit, it would be a good idea to follow it. Even when you start from a stopped position on a local street, it’s helpful to get to your top/more efficient speed quickly instead of creeping up to the speed limit, as long as you don’t push the engine hard to get there. Also, idling in one place is a loss of efficiency, so try to avoid the backups of rush hour traffic.
It’s a simple truth: The more weight you're carrying, the more work it takes to move it. So make an effort to clear out any unnecessary weight from your car. I’m not saying you need to turn your Toyota into a tack car, just clean out any junk you’ve been keeping in your trunk. Things can often pile up or become forgotten, especially in the back seat. It could add up to more savings.
Drive with “finesse”
I remember this phrase from an instructional video I saw in Drivers’ Ed.: When you drive smoother, your car is more efficient. Slow stops are preferred to sudden ones. Also, there is no need for hairpin turns or revving up the engine. You may not look as cool when driving responsibly, but you will save money. I guess it’s all about what’s more important to you on this last point, money for groceries or the attention of teenage boys.
Greenercars.org. "Green Driving Tips." Greenercars.org. ACEEE, n.d. Web. 24 June 2013. .