The most effective way to reduce fuel consumption is to drive less – but that strategy isn’t realistic for most drivers.
Rather than skipping errands, use these three simple tips for reducing fuel consumption and making your family car a little greener. These fuel-saving tips only take a few minutes each, but the fuel savings can put hundreds of dollars back into your wallet each year.
- Lighten the load – The heavier your car is, the harder the engine has to work. To save fuel, take out any unnecessary cargo from the trunk or backseat. Some drivers use their car’s trunk for storage, but every 100 pounds of cargo can decrease your vehicle’s fuel economy by two percent. Pickup trucks are occasionally an exception to this rule. If you own a relatively light pickup truck, you may want to keep sand bags in the bed during the winter months. The extra weight helps to increase your tires’ traction so they don’t lose their grip on the icy road.
- Tire pressure – An easy way to boost your vehicle’s fuel efficiency is to keep your tire pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended level, something you can always confirm at your local tire stores. Running your car with low tires makes your engine work harder to move the car. Most vehicles have a sticker that is visible when the driver-side door is open that provides the recommended tire pressure. Use this recommendation, not the maximum PSI rating on wall of the tire. Running your vehicle at the proper tire pressure can increase fuel efficiency by up to 3.3 percent.
- Slow down – The most effective way to increase fuel efficiency in your family car is to slow down. You can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent by avoiding aggressive acceleration, braking and high speeds on the highway. For most vehicle models, fuel efficiency decreases at speeds above 50 miles per hour. In terms of fuel cost, each five miles per hour over the speed limit equates to an additional $0.24 per gallon of gas.
Use these three simple tips to save money on gas each month, but keep in mind that increasing fuel efficiency isn’t the only way to reduce your vehicle expenses. If you’re currently paying one or more auto loans, consider an auto refinance to lower your interest rate or monthly payment. Refinancing and fuel savings together can put a significant dent in your bills, so you have more money left over for what really matters.
[Image: Editor B]