Whether your daily driving consists of a two-hour commute to work or a twenty-minute errand run, saving a little money on gas can significantly impact your budget. With gas prices well over three dollars per gallon in some areas, a gallon saved is a gallon earned. And, as new studies continuously warn of the planet-wide dangers of CO2 emissions, there’s never been a better time to make gas conservation efforts.
Though driving fewer miles is the best way to cut back on fuel consumption, for some commuters, driving less is simply not an option. Luckily, there are ways to conserve fuel even while behind the wheel.
If you’d like to increase the miles your car gets per gallon, try the following conservative driving tips:
Don’t Slam the Breaks! Try Coasting
Brakes are necessary to prevent crashes and for safe stops, but improper braking wastes gasoline. The kinetic energy of a moving car is essentially lost as the brakes bring the vehicle to a stop. Try coasting to a stop to let kinetic energy dissipate naturally, and only brake when quick stops are necessary. This method means that the driver has their foot on the accelerator for a shorter period of time throughout the trip, and overall, results in better fuel economy.
Drive the Speed Limit
Though you may think reaching your destination in less time means less fuel wasted, the opposite is actually true. Studies have found that lower cruising speeds can improve fuel economy drastically– traveling at 60 miles per hour instead of 70 for 20 miles saves about 1.3 gallons of gas. Driving slower is also safer: studies suggest that a 0.62 mph decrease in traveling speed would reduce road crashes by 2–3%. Save gas and save lives by traveling the speed limit.
Maintain Your Vehicle Properly
An old and neglected vehicle is an inefficient vehicle. Be sure to get regular oil changes and other maintenance work done to keep the motor in peak condition, and to help your car last several more years. Surprisingly, maintaining your tires is one of the best ways to help your fuel economy. Tires that are not inflated properly have greater roll resistance, meaning that your car will have to work harder (and burn more fuel) to get moving and stay moving. Try checking your tires about once a week to ensure proper inflation for better gas mileage.
DON’T Pop the Car In Neutral On Slopes
Many myths surround automotive fuel economy. Some people claim that putting a car in neutral and coasting down hills saves gas. However, Popular Mechanics points out that this practice is dangerous, often illegal, and does little to reduce gas consumption. Instead, keep the car in gear, take your foot off the gas, and brake sparingly to reduce fuel consumption while driving downhill.
Saving gas is good not only for your wallet, but for the planet. According to Drillinginfo, the U.S. had more than 900,000 active oil and gas wells in 2017, but many gas wells last a few decades at best. With the total U.S. energy consumption surpassing 97.4 quadrillion BTUs in 2016, it’s safe to say that conservation efforts should be part of our daily routine. Conservation saves money, and helps everyone be better stewards for the environment.
Even if you can’t catch a bus or walk to your job, try these safe driving methods to reduce your gas consumption. Your car, your wallet, and the planet will thank you.