Monday, April 21, 2008

How to save gas in your everyday life

With Earth day approaching, and the media bombarding us with news of peak oil, global warming and the links between terrorism our dependence on foreign oil, everyone wants to know how to save gas. Many of the tips out there on how to save gas and improve mileage are either very basic or very complicated. I've attempted to compile a list here that should inspire you to get back to basics and hopefully give you a few new tricks to try.

1. Drive less. Walk, bike, carpool, or just stay home.
2. Combine errands. Cars are more efficient when they're not starting from cold. You can also plan your trip to pick things up on the way to save even more energy.
3. Turn off the AC. And, for highway driving, be tough and close the windows too.
4. Slow down.
5. Follow trucks
6. Drive a more efficient car. If you have two cars, choose the more efficient one for the majority of your driving.
7. Plan your trips to stick mostly to highways, avoid traffic and lights, and aim for optimum driving conditions. Sometimes a longer route is actually more efficient.
8. Keep your car well maintained.
9. Coast to red lights. You will be sittine next to the exact same person whether you accelerate or not. When you coast, you use the gas you already paid for, and may actually not have to stop at all thus saving even more.
10. Don't race. Accelerate slowly from a stop to save up to 5%.
11. Accelerate before you get to a hill, not as you are going up it.
12. Park at the high end of a parking lot and back into your space so that you can coast to the exit.
13. Leave enough space behind the car in front of you to avoid short stop and go driving.

Do you have any other great tips on how to save gas? Please leave a comment!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"12. Park at the high end of a parking lot and back into your space so that you can coast to the exit."

Huh?

Why not suggest that you always drive downhill?

Anyway, you can claim this under #8, but a big one is keeping your tires properly inflated.

Anonymous said...

Reduce as much weight in your vehicle as possible. I drive a minivan (I operate a business that requires deliveries) and have removed the rear seats except for when I truly need them.

story girl said...

anonymous: I actually read that tip (#12) on one of the extreme hypermiling sites. Yeah, it seems silly and minor. I'm thinking that in a hybrid where the engine actually turns off when you are coasting it would make a difference.

And gee, do you think I could always drive downhill? Maybe if I re-planned all my routes......

M. Slingwein said...

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jr said...

not so sure about the "following trucks" one...though mythbusters did manage to prove a small but significient boost, I'm not sure it's worth the risk of rearending the truck or ending up in the middle of a jackknife, or the reduced visability.

a good one for manual transmission drivers is, ride in the tallest, or highest, gear possible. with an automatic, you accomplish this by avoiding sudden accelerations, which cause the auto trans to "kick down."

and yeah the park on a hill one is silly, because you do have to back up that hill to get into that position. it's good advice though if you have a weak battery or a bad starter (and a manual transmission).