How To Get Better Gas Mileage From Your Vehicle
With the worldwide demand for oil growing, the cost of filling up your car with gasoline looks certain to continue to rise over the coming years.
The development of other methods for powering vehicles, such as electric and hydrogen power, still has a way to go. So, with the price of gasoline getting higher and higher, here are some tips for how you can help your own pocket, and the environment, by consuming less fuel when you drive.
- Steer clear of short trips when possible: cold engines can use 60% more gasoline than a warm engine (Energy Saving Trust).
- Check what you're carrying on your journey. Remove anything you don't need to take with you, such as roof racks, bicycle racks and items in your trunk. By saving on weight, you will save on gas consumption.
- Where possible, drive in the highest gear that you can without letting the engine labor. Driving a motor vehicle at 60 kilometers per hour in third gear can use 25 per cent more fuel than driving at the same speed in fifth gear (RAC, UK).
- Consider your speed. When travelling at 110 km/h you use approximately 30 per cent more gasoline than at 80 km/h, in the same gear. The most economical speed is said to be 65-80 km/h.
- Avoid heavy braking and apply the throttle pedal lightly. By braking heavily and accelerating quickly you waste fuel. Improving your driving in this area can save you up to 30% on fuel costs (RAC, UK).
- If you are stuck in a traffic jam for more than a few minutes, and it is safe to do so, switch off your engine. Modern cars now have a cut-off and restart mechanism for energy saving in these circumstances.
- If you don't really need to use your air conditioning, switch it off and open your air vents or windows. Switching off air conditioning can help decrease your gas consumption considerably.
- Get your motor car serviced regularly and ensure that you check tyre pressures at regular intervals and before long journeys. Incorrect tyre pressures can have an impact on fuel consumption, adding up to 2% to your fuel bill.
- Ask your garage to check your vehicle emissions and catalytic converter. According to the RAC (UK), 90% of badly polluting vehicles can be retuned by a garage within 15 minutes.
- Upgrade your vehicle to a new one. The older your motor car gets, the more inefficient it can become and the less mileage you will get from a full tank of gasoline (assuming it is driven the same). If you currently possess an older motor vehicle, you could achieve a considerable saving on fuel economy by updating to a newer 'fuel efficient' vehicle. If you buy a new motor car, remember to check out the car's fuel economy figure before you buy. If you can afford it, and do a lot of long journeys, it might be worth considering a hybrid vehicle - one that runs a combination of petrol engine and electric motors
These fuel economy tips are here only a guide and you should consider your own circumstances before deciding to try any of these ideas.
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Last update: 11 May 2009
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