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How to save gas while driving a car you already own

A gas pump this week in West Hollywood. (AP)

Today we learned that – no surprise – prices of EV, hybrid and mass-market models have skyrocketed at a faster rate than other already expensive used cars, in direct response to rising gasoline prices. On the bright side, we also learned that Crude oil prices are somewhat stable again, and Russian and Ukrainian negotiators made progress in peace talks. But even if those promising trends continue, the price we’re paying when pumping may not drop for weeks or even months.

So no one likes high gas prices, but now is a bad time to buy a more fuel-efficient car. But the good news: You can get more efficient in the car you have. Any car can be a greener car. Love the person you are with.

It’s just a matter of smart ownership and careful driving, close to super speed driving. If you’re new to that term, it just means that you have to get everything you can from each throttle release. If you’re the kind of person who turns off the lights when leaving the room or is good at thrifting and eating leftovers, you’ll love a little fun.

Following the simplest steps listed below can lessen the damage to your wallet:

Generally speaking

Drive less. Let’s admit that some, maybe many, of our driving is not a necessity. The widespread acceptance of working from home by employers helps some of us in this regard.

Organizing. When you finally emerge from the home office lair for more frozen pizza and Pop-Tart, try to get all your errands done in one outing.

Is there more than one vehicle in your fleet? Parking the car. As you may already have.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check them regularly, at least monthly. Bring one portable tire pump for easy and convenient broadcasting of them.

Maintain your car to ensure maximum efficiency. Is your air filter clean? Your car consumes more air than gasoline.

Avoid long guns. When you start the car, do not idle unnecessarily. The time you put on your seat belt is enough to warm up. Every second your car is idling, its fuel economy is exactly 0 miles per gallon.

Once under the way

– Avoid idling when participating in traffic. If your car is equipped with a stop/start feature, enable it. Otherwise, if you sit still for more than a minute, turn off the engine.

– Baby it. Accelerator feathers. Besides idling, you’ll get the worst mileage when you’re accelerating from a stop. This is Newton’s first law – you are overcoming inertia. Just watch the car’s real-time mpg reading and you’ll see what it’s like to suck up gas as the car moves from a stop.

– Don’t stop unless you really have to. This is the reverse of inertia. Every braking situation wastes the kinetic energy you burned the expensive gasoline to produce. You will always be better to keep rolling. To get this done…

– Look far down the road. See what the light in front of you is doing – and the light beyond. Do not rush from the traffic light to stop. If you try, it’s surprisingly easy your car will keep rolling and almost never stop. Even if you have to crawl at 1 or 2 mph near a red light, if you can keep rolling, you’ll save gas.

– Use the distance traveled. We already covered your car’s instant mpg meter. Keep an eye on that during your trip. It’s a great tool to teach you to be a more frugal driver. The dashboard display can give you precise calculations about your overall fuel economy, but a quick reading definitely tells you which driving style works and which doesn’t.

Summarizing all of the above: Be smooth. In addition to saving fuel, a quieter driving habit will save you money in other ways – you won’t need to hit the brakes right away and your car will last longer with less wear and tear.

You are the leaf in the wind

– Do not carry unnecessary weight. Download anything you don’t really need.

– Remove the roof rack or anything outside the vehicle that creates drag.

– Close windows and sunroof to reduce drag. Especially at highway speeds, as we’ll see in a moment.

– A/C is fine. Closed windows can mean you have to run your A/C. You’ll often find “turn off the A/C” as a fuel-saving cue, but modern air conditioning systems don’t put a strain on your car. engine as before. If you’re comfortable with turning off the A/C, everything helps. But if it needs to, well, don’t sweat it.

— Slow down. Driving speed limit. On the highway, keep your speed at 60 mph or less. Cars are most fuel efficient in the 45-60 mph range. Towing capacity increases significantly above 60 and fuel economy is also reduced significantly.

– Glide lightly. If you have a modern car equipped coasting automatic transmission can seamlessly disconnect the engine and transmission when conditions permit, then learn how to use it. Otherwise, don’t go to the beach. However, look for opportunities to slow down when going downhill and limit braking.

– Keep the throttle position constant. Sometimes it’s best to use cruise control on the highway, although some systems can overdrive and you might be better off being a cruiser with a fine foot. economic.

– Or, pulse and surf. In other situations, you’ll want to use this technique. Suppose, by accelerating uphill then decelerating. See your instant reading and learn which technique works best when.

Plan ahead

– Consider the terrain. Sometimes a direct route is not the best option if it is an uphill road. A longer route around the hill can be more fuel efficient.

– Look at the traffic. Prioritize less-used routes with fewer vehicles for you to slow down or stop.

– Consider time. Along with WFH, some of us have more flexible schedules even on the days we go to work. Avoid peak traffic times and the fuel-suction delays they create.

– Memorize your daily route. If you regularly travel on the same roads, learn the best places to accelerate, move, and reduce braking. For example, avoid a highway lane that you know from experience will reverse in a certain position. On the way from the interstate to my house, I was able to cross many turns and avoid hitting the brakes anywhere except at a stop sign, and when reaching the driveway.

– Avoid cold temperatures. Again, if you can be flexible, don’t drive early in the morning when it’s colder. Cold weather kills fuel economy. The engine is less efficient and cold tires have more rolling resistance.

– Clean up your garage. To avoid a cold start, park the car in the garage.

– Avoid hot temperatures. In the event that higher gas prices persist into the summer, try to avoid the hottest parts of the day to minimize heavy A/C usage.


– Avoid angering other drivers with these techniques. Sometimes the people behind you may not understand or understand why you are crawling towards the stop light. Be mindful of your surroundings. And maybe stay in the right lane so jackrabbits can pass you – on the way to the gas station to waste more money.

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