Fuel Saving Tips
19 Fuel Saving Tips
To improve efficiency and conserve fuel:
|Number||General Description||Detailed Description||Fuel Economy Benefits||Equivalent Gasoline Savings|
|1.||Avoid Long Idling||The worst mileage a vehicle can get is 0 mpg, which occurs when it idles. Idling for long periods of time, whether at a railroad crossing (do we have trains in Flagstaff)? or pulling off the road to make a cell phone call (no one makes cell phone calls while driving), consumes gas that could be saved by simply turning off the engine.
Restarting an engine uses about the same amount of fuel as idling for 30 seconds. When idling for longer periods of time, shut off the engine.
However, turning off the engine may disable vehicle functions, including safety features like airbags. Drivers should be certain to only utilize this strategy in situations where there is no possibility of collisions.
|2.||Clean out the trunk and eliminate unnecessary weight||Vehicles get much better mileage when they're not loaded with unnecessary weight. Every 200 pounds of additional weight trims one mile off fuel efficiency. Most drivers accumulate material in their vehicle trunks, some of it unnecessary. How many of us put sand bags in the trunk for traction in the winter and forget to remove them in the summer? Good idea is to remover all non-required items from the vehicle, such as unneeded tools or materials (golf clubs, bowling balls, etc.).||1-2%/100 lbs
|3.||Keep tires inflated to the correct pressure
||Buy tire gauges for all vehicles, as well as your personal vehicles. By checking tire pressure, will ensure tires are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended level. One underinflated tire can cut fuel economy by 2 percent per pound of pressure below the proper inflation level. One astonishing fact is that one out of four drivers, on average, drives vehicles with one or more underinflated tires. When a tire is underinflated by 4-5 psi below the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure, for example, vehicle fuel consumption increases by 10 percent and, over the long haul, causes a 15-percent reduction in tire tread life. Check the vehicle's doorpost sticker for minimum tire inflation pressure. Avoid checking what is stamped on your tires for recommended pressure, as this varies from vehicle to vehicle.|
|4.||Don't buy premium fuel
||Resist the urge to buy higher octane gas for "premium" performance, unless the vehicle requires it. Octane has nothing to do with gasoline performance; it merely indicates the volatility factor in the combustion chamber. Unless your vehicle owner's manual specifically requires it, don't use premium fuel. Fuel costs could be cut as much as 20 cents per gallon by using regular instead of premium.|
|5.||Encourage drivers to observe posted speed limits||This tip may save a life as well as fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates a 10- to 15-percent improvement in fuel economy by driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph. Now I know this recommendation is hard to swallow, but some of us old timers can remember when the maximum speed limit was 55 mph! It did conserve fuel but took forever to get anywhere!
As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon. Observing the speed limit is also safer.
I read this morning that a major trucking firm has mandated all their trucks to a 60 mph speed limit.
|6.||Shop around for best fuel prices||Now I don't mean to drive around, check the web for the best fuel deals. GasBuddy.com is a network of more than 179 city-specific websites with gas price information posted by users. Browse this site on a BlackBerry or other PDA to find cheap gas on-the-go. For definitions of the above terms, please consult your children or grandchildren as they are technology savvy.
Use a wholesale club or grocery store. These wholesale clubs typically offer some of the lowest prices in town.
The downsides are that you may find lines at the pumps and the cost of membership (typically $40 to $45) will offset some of your savings if all you do is buy gas. Yet, if you shop at one of these anyway, or you're a heavy gas user, you may still find the savings worthwhile.
Discount retailers, for example, Walmart, and grocery stores such as Fry's and Safeway have pumps also often charge less than the competition to get people on their lots. In addition, there's no membership fee required at the discount retailers.
|7.||Make drivers energy conscious||Similar to turning off the lights in unoccupied rooms at home, drivers should practice energy conservation habits in their vehicles as well. If a vehicle has a trip computer, encourage drivers to use the "instant fuel economy" display to refine driving habits.|
|8.||Use A/C sparingly
||Use the air conditioner only when needed. The air conditioner puts extra load on the engine, forcing more fuel to be used. An air conditioner is one of the biggest drains on engine power and fuel economy. It can reduce gas consumption 5 to 20 percent, depending on the type of vehicle and the way it is driven. Don't use it as a fan to simply circulate air. If it's just too hot to bear without A/C (like in Phoenix in July), keep it set around 72 degrees. Use the vent setting as much as possible.
In addition, parking in the shade increases fuel economy since not as much gas will evaporate when the car is out of the sun. Air conditioning won't need to work as hard to cool down the interior.
|9.||Make your vehicle more aerodynamic
||Wind drag is a key source of reduced fuel mileage, causing an engine to work harder, thereby reducing fuel economy.
Minimize wind drag by keeping the windows rolled up. (This will be even more difficult when you have also turned off the a/c in July, in Phoenix). This allows air to flow over the body, rather then drawing it inside the cabin and slowing down the vehicle. A wide-open window, especially at highway speeds, increases aerodynamic drag, which could result in a 10 percent decrease in fuel economy. If you want fresh air, run the climate system on "outside air" and "vent," and crack the window (Wait! don't crack the window, just roll it down slightly) for additional ventilation.
Lowering the tailgate of a pickup creates turbulence, causing wind drag and a less fuel-efficient truck at highway speeds. By leaving the tailgate up, a smooth bubble of air is created in the bed.
|10.||Encourage carpooling||Encourage carpooling through incentive programs. Possible incentives include assigned parking, or reward programs such as prize drawings. Employers can help employees form carpools through rideshare.|
|11.||Anticipate traffic flow||Anticipate traffic conditions and accelerate and decelerate smoothly - it's safer, uses less gas, and reduces brake wear.
In stop-and-go commuter traffic, look two or more vehicles ahead as you keep an eye on the driver in front of you. This enables you to accelerate and decelerate more gradually.
By anticipating a traffic light change, an upcoming stop sign, or the need to slow down for a curve, you can avoid or reduce brake use and save fuel in the process. Like the "jackrabbit start," the "jackrabbit stop" is also a major contributor to inefficient driving.
|12.||Avoid uphill speed increases||When climbing a hill, the engine is already working hard to overcome gravity. Pushing it harder by stepping on the gas is simply a waste of fuel.
|13.||Use cruise control during highway driving||Unnecessary changes in speed are wasteful. The use of cruise control helps improve fuel economy. When you use overdrive gearing, your car's speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.|
|14.||Avoid aggressive driving||Time studies show that fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic, and accelerating to and from a stop light don't save much time and wear out components such as brakes and tires faster. This type of driving can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
Simply limiting quick acceleration and fast braking can increase fuel economy. When accelerating, pretend you have a fresh egg underneath your right foot. A light, steady pressure helps to minimize the amount of fuel consumed and maintain a more moderate and steady speed.
By not driving aggressively, drivers can save up to 20 percent in fuel economy, advises the EPA.
|15.||Monitor preventive maintenance schedules||Proper maintenance increases a vehicle's fuel economy. For example, unaligned wheels that fight each other wastes fuel. Keep the air filter clean. A dirty air filter clogs an engine's air supply, causing a higher fuel-to-air ratio and thereby increasing gasoline consumption. Replacing spark plugs at the manufacturer's recommended intervals will improve mileage, reduce emissions and improve performance. Use good quality, energy-conserving (EC) oils with a viscosity grade consistent with the owner's manual. Look for bottles marked with the symbol ECII, which is the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) logo for fuel efficient oils. Using fresh and clean oil that is recommended for your vehicle will save you 3 to 5 cents a gallon.|
|16.||Fill up your vehicle's gas tank in the morning||SS have their storage tanks underground. The cooler the ground temperature, the denser the gas. So buying gas when it is warmer, means less gas for your money.|
|17.||When filling up your tank, don't squeeze the trigger in fast mode||If you look you will see that the trigger has three stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.|
|18.||Fill up when your gas tank is half full or half empty||The more gas you have in your tank the less air there is occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation|
|19.||Don't fill up when a gas tanker is unloading into the storage tank||The gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.|