With the current prices for fuel (here it seems to go up every day), I decided to take a closer look at ways I could increase my fuel economy and try to make a dent in our escalating fuel costs. There is a lot of information out there, and I was amazed to find many recommendations that are just completely unrealistic.
For example, one I saw – sell your home and buy a home closer to where you work. This makes a lot of sense in theory, but considering the current housing market, putting your home up for sale is probably the last thing you want to do right now. Plus, like many people, we bought farther out from the city so we could find a home we could afford. Paying more for a smaller house closer to work doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Or just exchange your car! Sell it and get a more efficient car. Many of us are probably going to do that anyway when the time comes to get a new car, but the used car lots are completely filled with gas guzzling SUVs. You’re not going to get a lot for that trade-in with supply so high now. We’re looking at a hybrid car, but we are planning on driving our car another year before replacing it, so we’ll do it when the time is right and we can afford that newer car – not just to try and save gas now.
And the biggest no brainer – drive less! Believe me, we are already doing this for personal trips and by combining as many errands as possible. But where we live, public transportation is really inadequate, so it is often impossible to drive less.
So there are tons of ways out there to save money while driving but I thought that I would focus on a few, more realistic ones.
Slow down Speed Racer! On the freeways where we live, people routinely drive, ehh- hem, let’s just say too fast. From the research I have found, each 10 miles per hour increase in speed represents a 15% reduction in fuel economy. So let’s say you decide to actually drive the speed limit and reduce your speed by 10 mph. At that speed, you won’t have to move to the right lane and be hassled with merging and exiting traffic all the time – you can just travel in the middle lanes and comfortably maintain that speed.
A quick example of savings can be done with a car getting 25 mpg driven 1000 miles. This distance would consume 40 gallons of fuel. With gas pushing $4.50 a gallon, a 15% savings is $27.00. That $27 equals a free fill-up every 2000 miles. And you can save even more if you drop down to 60-65 (over 30% reduction)!
Think about slowing down. You’ll be safer, you’ll save money, and you will always avoid getting speeding tickets. And hey, not getting speed tickets and an increase on your car insurance is always frugal.
Check out Wheels Up: Biking for the Whole Family
Get Smart with your driving! Hard acceleration and needless braking wastes a lot of gas.Do you really need to be the first one to wait at the next light? When driving in the city or in heavy traffic, look ahead and try to anticipate what will be happening farther down the road. You could try coasting to the red light instead of braking. Look ahead to the next intersection when the light you are at changes to green. If the next light will be red, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to speed away and then apply the brakes to wait again – just coast along at a reasonable speed.
Just remember, every time you apply the brakes you are wasting fuel.
Be safe, but be smarter!
Junk in the trunk (or on the roof)! This is something that is very easy to do.
We usually have equipment for our business that I store in the trunk of our car. Sometimes it is necessary to use it, but we always know in advance. Removing the unnecessary weight from your trunk saves as much as 2% in fuel economy depending on the weight. We store it in the garage until we need it.
In the summertime – how many beach chairs, umbrellas, towels, or other fun-in-the-sun items live in your trunk when you don’t need them? Aerodynamics plays a big role as well. There is a reason airplanes are shaped the way they are and that current car designs are a lot more curvy and smooth than older models. You negate a lot of that smart design by leaving bike racks, roof racks, or other accessories mounted to your vehicle at times when you won’t be using them. This increase drag can account for as much as a 5% reduction in fuel economy.
There really are countless other things you can do. But these three are feasible and you will notice an immediate savings!
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