Friday, June 13, 2008

Frugal Friday: Saving Gas

This was for next week's Frugal Friday, but I am posting it now because I feel like the time is right.

Here are a few things I have researched, and I hope they help you save on gas!

* The obvious, drive less. Combine your errands, call ahead, carpool if possible.

* Make sure your car has had a tune-up recently. Regular oil changes and clean oil filters and air filters have been found to improve gas mileage. While you’re at it, check your tire pressure (or have the mechanic do it.) You can improve your mileage this way, and your tires will also last longer. It’s also a good idea to have your automatic transmission checked. If your car is spending too long in a lower gear, more fuel is needed. One way to keep tabs on your engine is to keep track of the amount of gas you purchase each time and the number of miles between fills. Calculate the miles per gallon each time and write it down. If you see a drop in your mileage, it might be a sign that there is a problem.

* Be sure that you are using the right kind of gasoline. Your owner’s manual should tell you what grade you need. Most cars need the lowest grade of gasoline. The level of octane in gasoline prevents engine knock; it doesn’t improve performance in any other way. Don’t pay for something you don’t need!

* Waiting in line is almost always a waste of gas. If you are going to let your engine idle for more than one minute, you would be better off to turn the engine off, then back on again. Consider going inside a restaurant or bank instead of waiting in line at the drive-thru. If possible, plan your trips so that you don’t have to deal with traffic delays.

* Take a look at your speedometer. According to the E.P.A, for every one mile per hour that you drive over 55 M.P.H., you lose one percent fuel economy. So if your car gets 27 miles per gallon at 55 M.P.H., you might get only 23 miles per gallon at 70 M.P.H. Plan your trips accordingly. If you can spend a little more time on the road, you can save quite a bit of money at the pump.

* I really hate this next one, but here goes. Turning off your air conditioner can save quite a bit of gas. If you’re on the highway, don’t roll down the window. Rolling down the window creates drag and will cause your engine to work harder. Use the vents on the car air conditioner instead.

* When you’re driving, avoid quick starts. Accelerating slowly can improve your gas mileage. So can braking gently. Try to keep a light touch on both the gas pedal and the brake.

* Check your cargo. Don’t carry stuff around waiting to drop it off on another trip. Extra weight can decrease your car’s mileage. When you are traveling, it is better to fill your trunk and cab with luggage, rather than keep it on top of the car.


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