One of the key advantages of living in the United States was cheap gasoline and the joy of driving. But it seems that it will soon become a luxury of the past. Gas prices are going through the roof, and we are all suffering. The trouble is, the fundamental requirement to live in the suburbs is to be able to drive a car. We do not have a rickshaw stand nearby where we can walk to and hop into a human driven (absolutely green) vehicle and merrily coast to the local grocery store. It will be a major human rights issue if someone even dreams of such an entrepreneurial venture. Hence we have no other option other than trying to save on gasoline costs. This sort of motivated me to do some research on the web and I have come up with some interesting gas saving tips that are not always obvious. I hope you find them useful. They are not necessary in any specific order or category. If you have any such tips, please share them with us all.
1. Drive fewer cars: In this country, our freedom has taken us to the extremes. We all need to drive our own gas guzzlers. However, with a little compromise, we may be able to share rides. I participate in a carpool myself and that saves me quite a bit (for 82 miles of round trip commute every day). Sometimes, within a family, husband and wife use separate cars to the same destination since they cannot compromise on a schedule. “Can’t we all get along” and save some gas (think money)?
2. If you are an aggressive driver and have the sudden urges to beat everybody on the road to dust, chances are that your gas bills are quite astronomical. Avoid flooring the gas pedal that often. Take the long view of the road and brake slow and easy. Tests conducted by Edmunds have shown an average of 31% savings by following this tip alone. If you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal pace of 15 seconds, you’ll feel the savings immediately.
3. Edmunds website also suggests that slowing down your speed (from 75-90mph to 60-65mph) on highways can save you 12% on the average. 55mph is still the most economical speed limit.
4. It has been a common belief that turning off the air conditioner saves gas. It turns out that is not the case, as per Edmunds’ tests. Apparently the modern day climate control systems of cars are highly efficient and do not consume any alarming amount of extra gas. So, stay cool in your slightly longer rides.
5. Use cruise control whenever possible. Tests suggest that you may save up to 14 percent with an average savings of 7%.
6. Do not idle excessively; it can save up to 19%. The recommendation is that if your stop is over a minute, turn off the engine.
7. Avoid long warm-up periods; 30 seconds should be enough even on cold mornings.
8. Buy gasoline during coolest time of day – early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to “volume of measurement”.
9. Carefully choose your brand, better quality gas gives better mileage. It is not necessary to use higher octane gas unless your car manual specifically asks for it. After filling up, be sure the gas cap clicks 3 times. Improperly seated gas caps allow 147 million gallons of fuel to vaporize every year in the U.S.
6. Finally, buy gasoline from the station offering the lowest price. Several websites now offers gas prices of gas stations in your local area. One such website is http://www.automotive.com/gas-prices.