Hitting The Road
The summer driving season is typically defined by the US Energy Information Agency as running from April through September. We’ve got five tips from the U.S. Department of Energy on how to make your summer driving cost you less money.
- Drive Sensibly
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. Rapid acceleration rarely serves any functional purpose. Go light on the gas pedal and get lighter on your wallet.
- Drive Slower
Air resistance is the biggest counteractive force reducing fuel efficiency. The faster you go, the more inefficient it is. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. Generally speaking, driving slower is also safer too.
- Don’t Haul Roof Cargo
Remember that thing about air resistance? A large, blunt roof-top cargo box, for example, can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in city driving, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% at Interstate speeds (65 mph to 75 mph). If you’re driving a long distance, it may benefit you to find a way to store luggage or other hauled items in the trunk or cargo space of your vehicle.
- Don’t Idle
Sitting still in “Park” with your engine running wastes fuel. Idling can use a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. If you’re waiting in a parking lot, there’s no reason to waste gas. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked.
- Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average—up to 3% in some cases—by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires. Added benefits are that properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer.
Developing habits and using tips to improve fuel economy doesn’t just affect your budget. It also helps the United States reduce its foreign energy dependence. Saving gas is patriotic! For more tips on how to maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, visit www.fueleconomy.gov.