road-travel

How To Get Better Gas Mileage on Road Trips

Traveling by car can give you a lot fun and freedom to move around. However, getting to your destination will cost you money at the pump. The expense will vary depending on the car make and model but the following tips will help you minimize the cost of gas by getting better gas mileage no matter what car you are driving.

1. Watch the speed limit – Vehicles differ as to the optimum speed for economy fuel consumption, however the rule of thumb is that gas mileage decreases significantly above 50 mph or about 80 km. It is safe to expect that for every 5 mph or 8 km over you’d be paying additional 0.26 per gallon or 3-4 liters of gas. That can add up especially if you are traveling say 1000 km (621 miles) or further.

2. Avoid constant breaking and acceleration – Aggressive driving by speeding then breaking and accelerating again wastes gas. Observe the traffic, look ahead, time your vehicle’s speed so you don’t need to accelerate or break too much or too often.

3. Keep the weight as low as possible – This means removing anything that is unnecessary from the vehicle. Your gas mileage is reduced by 2% for each 100 pounds in your car. Smaller cars are more affected by this than larger SUV’s. So take a look in you trunk and backseat for any items that can be left at home and pack light.

4. Avoid idling too much – Stopped so your mate can pick something up at a store “quick”? Waiting for a long train to cross? Those are couple of examples where turning your engine off will save your gas. Idling consumes more fuel than turning off and on your engine. No doubt, you will find other opportunities. Be careful of not excessively turning off and on your engine as this can wear your starter.

5. Utilize cruise control – Cruise control will help maintain a steady speed and not over accelerate which can save you gas. Of course, you can only do this when the traffic is flowing smoothly.

6. Use the overdrive gear – Overdrive gear makes your vehicle’s engine slow down which reduces gas consumption and also helps to keep your engine wear down at the same time. Overdrive gear is the 5th gear on your standard transmission or D in automatic.

7. Avoid using roof-racks – Unless absolutely necessary, don’t put a roof-rack on top of your vehicle. In addition to increasing the weight of the vehicle (see point 2), it also increases aerodynamic drag. Roof-racks can decrease fuel economy by as much as 5%.

8. Replace dirty air filter – A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by as much a 10% and it also protects your car’s engine.

9. Keep tires properly inflated – Under inflated tires make your vehicle’s engine work harder. By keeping the tires inflated to the correct pressure can improve your mileage by 3.3%.

10. Avoid city driving – When planning a long trip try to stay on the highway and avoid city driving as much as possible.