Gas prices have been ridiculous lately. They say it is only going to get worse. In the coming fall, I will be commuting to school everyday which is about 30 miles away from home. This will cost me lots of money. I’ve written previously on gas saving tips and how some people get better fuel economy. Well, according to CNN, several of my gas saving tips weren’t that great (didn’t really save you anything). My tips on getting better fuel economy were good but, some of them were a little dangerous (like drafting behind 18-wheelers). With my current tank of gas, I have been trying to drive as fuel efficiently as possible for the whole tank. Here are a few tips on what I have been doing.
How I am (hopefully) getting better fuel economy:
1) Slow acceleration: Accelerating quickly uses extra fuel. When you putt he pedal to the floor, your engine throws in a lot of extra gas into the engine and your car doesn’t even burn all of the fuel. Unless I am leaving really late for work, I have been pretty good about doing this. I have been trying to give myself extra time so I can drive slower and more efficiently.
2) Coasting to stops: It takes your engine a lot of gas to get you up to speed and to maintain that speed so don’t waste it. Taking your foot off the gas earlier and coasting to a stop sign that is relatively far away saves on gas. Many people keep giving it gas until they start breaking, this wastes a lot of fuel. When I drive to work, I usually start coasting at 55 mph and keep coasting all the way until I’m down to 25 mph. By the time I am at 25 mph it is usually time to hit the brakes.
3) Driving at optimal speeds : Optimal speeds for most cars is 25mph and 55mph. These two speeds usually get pretty similar gas mileage. So, I try to drive at these speeds as much as possible. There is a 45 mph stretch on my way to work and I drive 55 there. On my way home, there is a stretch where the limit is 25 mph, so I go 25 mph. I stick to it as much as possible as long as I am not too far away from the speed limit.
4) Don’t use A/C (or use less): It has been really hot where I live lately, so a few times I have turned on the A/C. I try to use it as little as possible though. It takes a few mpg off your fuel economy. Sweating a lot at work is no fun either so I have to compromise.
5) Don’t open windows: This goes along with #4. Most people have already heard of this or already knew about it. Basically opening your windows creates drag on your car which makes your engine work harder to move you along which takes more gas.
6) Keep car cool when not using it: I put up a sun visor and crack my windows so when I get in, I don’t have to use the A/C as much (see #4).
7) Don’t follow closely: I try to leave room between me and the next guy. That way I don’t have to keep playing with the gas and breaks. This also wastes gas. If I see the person in front of me push their breaks, I immediately take my foot off the gas and start coasting toward them. I only brake if I need to.
I would like to challenge anyone who reads this blog to try to drive more efficiently for a whole tank of gas as well. Email me, comment on this post, or contact me if you would like to participate. Later I will post an update and compare how I and everyone else did. I will link out to everybody who participates and has a blog. So there are now two incentives, you can get a link and save money on gas.
How the winner will be determined:
I am going to use this formula to determine the percentage gain(or in some cases lost) over the EPA ratings:
(Your fuel economy -EPA rating)/ EPA rating X 100 = % gain over EPA rating.
Note you will also need to figure out if you mainly drive city or highway. I drive only in the city so I will use that EPA rating in my formula, if you drive on the highway then you should use the EPA highway rating for your car. You can find your EPA fuel economy rating here.