The days of dollar-a-gallon gasoline are long gone. Today, we wind up spending $50 to $80 every time stop to fill up our gas tanks. Considering the average commuter fills up once a week, we spend a staggering $3,240.00 a year just on gas!
Sure, there are plenty of solutions to ease the pain at the pump. Popularized by the Toyota Prius, hybrid vehicles use a combination of gas and electric power to stretch highway gas mileage. Unfortunately, they do little to make up the costs of stop-and-go city driving during which the tiny gas-powered engine has to work overtime to accelerate. To completely cut out gasoline power, all-electric plug-in vehicles started appearing on the showroom floors across the nation. Offerings from Tesla and Fisker are brilliantly-designed, great-looking cars if you want to avoid using gas altogether, but their steep price tags and practicality issues make them unfeasible for most of us.
For those who are not prepared to drop a better part of a $100,000 on a Tesla Model S, we compiled five fuel-saving tips that help you save some money regardless of whether you are driving a Hybrid or V8-powered gas-guzzling monster.
- Proper Tire Inflation
Have you ever walked on sand or in deep snow? Do you notice how much tougher it is to walk on soft, uneven surfaces, and how much more energy you expend? The same concept applies to your tires. Underinflated tires create a softer and larger contact area with the asphalt, making it harder for your vehicle to spin the wheels in order to get up to speed. The harder it is for your car to spin the wheels, the more energy it will expend in doing so, burning more gas.
- Reducing Brake Use
Some vehicles, such as the later-generation Prius, utilize special technology to convert the kinetic energy of braking into electric energy to be re-used for the vehicle’s functions. For most cars on the road today, however, the energy used on braking is simply lost. Also lost is all the energy, and gas, burnt on getting the vehicle up to the speed you are reducing by braking. A great way to reduce brake use is to create more space between you and the car you are following, thereby avoiding having to tap the brakes every time they do. On the highway, setting the cruise control to the speed limit and letting the car maintain a constant speed is another great way to avoid tapping on the brakes unnecessarily.
- Car Wash
Believe it or not, washing your car makes it more aerodynamic. Getting rid of all those jagged dirt particles will make your vehicle slip through the air easier, and save you gas.
- Shedding Weight
Take a look in your trunk — are you driving around with anything heavy you could leave at home? The less your car struggles to haul around your tools and unused sporting equipment everywhere you go, the less your wallet will struggle at the pump!
- Planning Your Route
Some delivery companies plan their routes to avoid left turns whenever possible, since they are more difficult, and take longer to make because of having to wait at the light. Although that may not be an option for your commute, avoiding busy roads, or roads with lots of street lights may be the answer to saving a few bucks.
Fuel economy is an ongoing struggle that all of us face daily, but most of us also drive daily, so doing the little things can add up to save you a lot!