Reduce your fuel expenses with wining Driving Tips. Improve your car’s fueleconomy and squeeze more gas mileage out of it with small changes to the way you drive.
Saving gas doesn’t need to be that hard. All you need to do is to adopt some changes to your driving habits.
These changes could have a huge impact your fuel economy, improving your MPG and saving you hundreds, if not thousand of dollars every year.
Here are some driving tips that will improve MPG and save you money:
Each engine powered machine, be it a car, a plane or a boat has a speed at which it is most economical, meaning that it will consume the smallest amount of fuel per mile.
If you drive at a higher or lower speed – your fuel efficiency decreases and you consume more fuel per mile/km.
When you drive at high speeds – your drag (mostly air drag, but also tire drag) increases. That means that you need more fuel to overcome it and your vehicle MPG goes down.
Since air drag is proportioned to the square of speed (Speed2), it means that when you increase your speed by just 40%, your drag doubles itself, and so does the amount of fuel you need to overcome that drag.
For example, fuel consumption at 70 MPH (110 Km/Hr) is 25% higher that at 60 MPH (90 Km/Hr).
When you drive at low speeds – most of the fuel is being burnt in order to keep the engine running instead for moving the car forward. Once more, your vehicle MPG will be low.
As an example, take the extreme case of a car idling while standing. No matter how low is your RPM – you burn fuel nothing and get zero MPG (Km/L).
So at what speed should you drive?
Each car has a different most economical speed, at which it’s fueleconomy is at it’s best. No manufacturer publishes these numbers.
This speed is controlled by few factors. In general:
- The bigger the engine – the higher the economical speed is.
- The slicker the car is – the higher the economical speed is.
Each car maker publishes the model’s MPG (Km/L).
You can get a clue to what that speed it is by reading the manufacturer’s test conditions, as most car makers test their vehicle at its most favorable (i.e. fuel efficient) speed.
More so, most car manufactures try to plan their vehicles to achieve best fuel efficiency at or around the lawfully speed limits.
As a rule of thumb – drive at the lawful out-of-town speed. As you can see from the graph above, the difference between doing 40 Mph to 60 Mph is very small, and near the optimum vehicle MPG.
You will find it easier to maintain that economical speed mentioned above.
More so, cruise control does a better job then you (meaning it uses less fuel) at maintaining whatever speed you drive, because every time you accelerate/decelerate even by 2 MPH you burn unnecessary fuel, lowering your fueleconomy.
As mentioned above, idling is one of the worst offenders, as it burns fuel while getting you nowhere, lowering your fueleconomy.
However, turning the car on and off frequently will also waste fuel, not to mention the engine and starter wear.
As a rule of thumb, idling an engine for 1 minute uses the same amount of fuel required to start it.
I turn off the engine whenever I need to idle it for more then 3 minutes. Otherwise I keep it running.
Aggressive driving is extremely non-economical and very bad for fueleconomy.
If you accelerate fast just to brake a second later you are:
- Burning a lot of unnecessary fuel – accelerating a car uses huge amounts of fuel
- Wearing your brakes
- Wearing your tires, both by accelerating and braking
- Wearing your engine more
Aggressive driving lowers your highway MPG by 30%, and the city MPG by 6%.
Improve MPG by accelerating less aggressively. Plan to use the brakes less by accelerating to a slower speed. What speed exactly? One which will enable you to keep it for a few seconds before you need to apply the brakes.
Don’t brake at the last minute. Start braking at a distance which will allow you to decelerate the car just by letting go of the accelerator pedal. Push the brake pedal only after you slowed a little and need to get to a complete stop.
The statement above applies even more for hybrid car owners.
When braking, Hybrid cars have the ability to convert some of the car’s momentum into electric power – recharging the batteries as you brake.
However, this produces only a moderate braking power. If you press harder on the brake pedal the car will also engage its regular brakes, and the momentum will be lost in the car brakes.
By starting to brake earlier you are recharging the batteries every time you stop, significantly improving your car’s MPG.
Turning on the A/C increases fuel consumption by 10%. This is a huge amount of fuel, so many people just turn off the A/C (weather permitting) and roll down the windows, especially on the highway.
As explained above, air drag has a major effect on your MPG (Km/L), especially when driving over 50 MPH (80 Km/Hr). So if you think you’re saving gas by rolling down the windows and turning off the A/C on the highway, you are very wrong.
Actually, with windows rolled down at 50 MPH (80 Km/Hr), you’re wasting more fuel on drag than you would on air-condition, and your vehicle fueleconomy and MPG goes down.
If you aim to improve MPG, your A/C usage policy should be (when applicable):
- On the highway – turn it on and roll up the windows.
- Otherwise – shut it off and roll down the windows.
As a general roll, the lower the RPM you’re engine runs on the better its fuel efficiency.
If you’re using manual transmission, road condition permitting, shift early to higher gears, around 2500 RPM for a petrol engine or 2000 RPM for a diesel one.
When driving at a constant speed try to use the highest gear possible to remain keep the engine at the lowest possible RPM. Cruise RPM should be any where between 1200 to 3000 RPM.
If you are using automatic transmission – consider manual on you next buy. Automatic transmission uses about 10% more fuel than manual one does and lowers your fueleconomy.
Avoid rough roads when possible, as dirt, gravel and un-even surface increase friction and may reduce fueleconomy by up to 30%!
The best way to warm up your vehicle is by driving it. All modern engines are designed to be efficient the moment they’re switched on, and require no warm up.
Don’t drive all year round with snow tires. Snow tires are made of softer rubber and have deeper profile, which results in increased friction, increased fuel consumption and increased wear.
By driving with snow tire year round you:
- Lower your fueleconomy, Increase your vehicle MPG and waste money.
- Wearing your tires unnecessarily. This will require more frequent changes.
- Reducing your tire’s braking efficiency for next year’s winter, as the grooving will no be as deep as they should be.
Try to plane ahead in order to minimize your trips. If you live out of town, try to go into town only once and get everything done in one trip.
Smart driving will certainly increase you vehicle MPG and will save you a lot of money, but you can save more money of car fuel by buying it the smart way!