The Keys to Better Fuel Economy

Consumers have no control over rising gas and fuel prices, but there are many ways for the cost conscience to save hard earned dollars at the pumps. Following these simple steps will help increase gas mileage and fuel economy. There are also many commonsense methods to help consumers reduce gasoline and fuel consumption.

Before Deciding to Drive

Long leisurely drives are becoming an activity of a bygone era. Gone are the days of loading the family into the car for the sole purpose of taking a ride. For those wanting to save money on gas or fuel, it has become essential to ask the ever important question, is this trip absolutely necessary? Besides asking oneself if the trip is required, it is also important to contemplate any other necessary or not-so-necessary errands. Lumping errands and activities into one trip will save money in the long run.

Before ever getting into your vehicle to comparison shop or to look for a hard-to-find item at the store, exercise your fingers first and call local merchants. Besides asking if they have the item in stock, ask how much the item costs. Find the best merchandise price compared to the gas expense ratio before leaving home. Driving several miles out of your way to save a few dollars may not be worth it after considering the cost of fuel required to get there.

When shopping for groceries and other necessities, consider shopping biweekly rather than weekly. Stock up during one trip rather than making successive trips. Make a list of easy-to-forget items as you realize you need them. This will eliminate the need to drive back to the store for forgotten items.

Consider shopping online and let someone else pay for the gas. Besides making comparison shopping a breeze, shopping online is economical. The majority of merchants with establishments outside of your home state cannot add on sales tax. Any cost paid toward shipping will be offset by this savings. Many online retailers also offer free shipping, so be sure to check online before getting into your vehicle. Sit back and relax, and have your merchandise delivered to your door. As long as the website is encrypted and secure, shopping online is safe, generally worry-free, and will save a sizeable amount money in the long run.

Depending on where you live, it may be cheaper to run errands or go to work using public transportation. Consider the cost of public transportation in comparison to what you would pay driving your vehicle from point A to point B. You may find that it is cheaper to take the train or ride the bus.

If you work with others who live near your home or are on your driving route, consider car pooling. Take turns driving to work and greatly reduce your gas or fuel expenses. Find more than one person to share rides, and cut your expenses even further.

When it becomes necessary to fuel up, check prices before going to the gas station. Although prices can change from one minute to the next, comparing prices will save money most of the time. Local news stations sometimes offer gas price comparisons on their websites. There are also websites available specifically for fuel and gas price comparison shopping.

Vehicle Maintenance

First of all, do not keep unnecessary items in your truck or cargo area. If the vehicle is carrying less weight, it will use less fuel. Also, make your vehicle more aerodynamic by opening the tailgate if you have a truck, and do not haul items on top of a car or sports utility vehicle.

Keep your tires inflated according to the recommended amounts, and be sure to check the air pressure when they are cold. Also, be sure to replace tires when they become worn. Avoid using chains or snow tires. They create more friction and therefore decrease gas mileage. Radial tires are your best choice because they create less friction on the road. Proper alignment will also help by prolonging the life of the tires as well increase gas or fuel mileage. When the steering wheel has to move when driving in a straight line, excess fuel or gas is burned.

Have your vehicle tuned-up according to the maintenance schedule for that particular vehicle. An improperly tuned engine can burn twice as much gas or fuel as one that has had regular maintenance and tuneups. Be sure to replace air filters before they become clogged. Although servicing your vehicle will initially cost some money, the fuel or gas saved will help defray the cost of maintenance and help the vehicle run smoother longer.

Check your gas cap to make sure it fits properly. If it becomes loose by itself or is not properly tightened, fuel will no doubt be wasted. Gas or fuel evaporates when gas caps are broken, loose, or fit improperly.

At the Gas Station

Fill your fuel or gas tank early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are at their lowest. Gas and fuel is more dense when temperatures are low. Gas and fuel pumps measure the total volume pumped rather than the density. Therefore, it is wiser to make your purchases while temperatures are down.

The following trick will give you approximately four ounces of additional gas or fuel when filling your tank. After fueling your vehicle, before removing the nozzle from the tank, turn it around and hold it upside down. If you do not do this before removing the nozzle from your tank, the next person in line will get some of the gas you paid for.

People like round numbers and often top off their gas tanks when refueling. Gas pumps do not measure gas properly when the pump handles are squeezed and released rapidly. You are more likely to get what you pay for when keeping constant pressure on the gas pump handle. Keep change in your vehicle to pay the difference.

If you are financially able to pay your gas or fuel bills when they arrive, consider using a gas station credit card. Card holders are sometimes offered lower per-gallon prices for using these cards. On the other hand, if you can’t pay the entire balance of the bills when they arrive, the interest will far exceed any money you would have saved. There are also popular mass merchandisers who offer cents off per gallon for using their shopping cards. This small savings may seem minuscule at first, but if you add up the savings over some months time, you will be pleasantly surprised.

While Driving

Higher posted speeds on our nations highways contribute greatly to low fuel economy. Driving at a speed of seventy miles per hour uses approximately 21 percent more fuel than driving at a speed of fifty-five miles per hour. Allow yourself plenty of driving time to help increase gas mileage. Getting to your destination a few minutes sooner will not be worth the price you will pay to get there.

If you do not have medical problems affected by hot weather, consider rolling down your windows instead of using the air conditioner. Although rolled-up windows make a vehicle more aerodynamic, air conditioners use a considerable amount of gas or fuel.

If you are stopped at a railroad crossing and the end of the train is not in sight, turn off your vehicle. If you find yourself stuck in idle traffic, turn off your vehicle. Idling wastes a tremendous amount of gas or fuel. In addition, do not start your vehicle if you are going to let it run for more than 30 seconds. If your car must “warm-up” to keep running, it is time for a tune-up.

Get in the habit of coasting up to traffic lights and stop signs rather than breaking and accelerating. Also, when rolling once again, get up to speed gradually. Fast starts waste an immeasurable amount of gas or fuel as well as riding the brake.

When on the highway, pass slower vehicles as soon as it is safe to do so. Keeping your foot steadily on the gas peddle will help increase fuel efficiency. Braking and accelerating in order to pass will undoubtedly waste gas or fuel. With this in mind, if your vehicle is equipt with cruise control, use it as often as possible on the highway. Cruise control will help keep your vehicle moving at a steady pace, therefore using less fuel.

Although high fuel and gasoline prices have significantly increased the cost of living for the average American, ever-increasing prices have made it necessary to look for and implement alternative fuel sources. This demand for alternative fuel is a positive step toward averting the greenhouse effect. Hybrid vehicles that run twenty to thirty additional miles per gallon over and above the average vehicle on the road are becoming increasingly popular and have helped in the effort to improve the economy as well as the health of the ozone.

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