Lower Fuel Costs on Your Next Road Trip
Even though summer is coming to an end, the road trips are just beginning. Whether you are planning a weekend of apple picking or a fall family reunion, there are many ways to maximize your fuel efficiency and save money on gas. Here are some tips to help you enjoy a fun, energy-efficient road trip.
1. Maintain your car regularly.
Get your car tuned up to heighten the miles your car can travel on a single gallon of gas, otherwise known as your car’s miles per gallon. Cleaning your air filter can increase your MPG by 10 percent and ensuring your tires are fully inflated can lower your gas use by 2 percent. Check yourowner’s manual or glove box door to find the correct tire pressure for your car. Fix problems with spark plugs, dragging brakes or transmission to further enhance your MPG.
2. Lighten your load.
Only pack what you’ll use and take unnecessary items out of your vehicle. Your MPG decreases by at least 2 percent for every 100 pounds stored in your vehicle. Though a roof rack offers useful cargo space, a fully loaded roof rack lowers your fuel economy by 25 percent at interstate speeds. Even an empty roof rack decreases MPG performance due to aerodynamic drag, the collision of air flow between the top of the car and the roof rack. Boost your fuel economy by packing light and placing luggage inside the trunk.
3. Stop idling.
Turn off your car if you are idling for more than 10 seconds. Whether you are stopped at a red light or waiting in a rest stop parking lot, there is no need to waste fuel if you are not making progress on your road trip. Idling can waste a half gallon of fuel per hour, meaning your fuel economy decreases by three cents for every minute that your car remains stationary with the engine running.
4. Slow down.
Be gentle with the brakes and gas pedal. Abrupt braking and hard acceleration can waste fuel and decrease your MPG by 5 percent around town and 33 percent on the highway. Consumer Reports testing shows that the fuel economy for a compact family sedan improves by 15 percent when driving at 65 mph as opposed to 75 mph. Take advantage of cruise control to maintain a steady speed on the highway and use gas efficiently.