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Average gas price in the US fell below $4 per gallon. After the price topped $5 a gallon in June due to many global factors, it seems like a delay. But the price remains historically high, according to some experts lower fuel prices can level off.
A natural response to the fuel crisis is to buy a more efficient car. Sales of electric cars are growing rapidly and there is some relatively affordable EV options out there. But a new car is unlikely to be a viable option for most Americans.
Manufacturers can’t produce enough cars to meet demand due to chip shortages, driving up prices for both new and used cars. And this is especially true for plug-in hybrids and electric cars. All-in on getting the F-150 Lightning? You will either pay outrageous dealer markup or a return to Ford in 2024.
The good lining here is that there are some relatively painless ways to use less gasoline. They won’t lessen the sting at the pump when you need to fill up your car. But they can significantly improve fuel economy, increase the time between trips, and generally make you a better, safer driver.
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Drive less if you can
The easiest way to save on gas is not to use a car. We know, we know: easier said than done…
Not having to use a car works well in Brooklyn, where you have affordable amenities and ample public transportation. It won’t work in many other areas where infrastructure and zoning have been designed with the personal car in mind.
But any car trip you can take out counts. If you can, fix up that old bike in the garage for short weekend rides. Do we take the children to school. At the very least, try to buy your daily essentials in bulk, which will reduce the number of trips you need to make throughout the month.
Use environmentally friendly routes on Google Maps
Typically, you use Google Maps to get somewhere as quickly as possible. But last year, Google added eco-friendly routes to Google Maps. This route will still show you the fastest route from A to B, but it can also show you the most fuel-efficient route (if it’s not the fastest) and detail the potential fuel savings for you.
Stop speeding on the highway
Get settled, Sammy Hagar. Engines run more efficiently at speed when in high gear with minimal effort. And you cross the threshold around 50 mph or so, when going faster takes more and more effort and burns more fuel. (That’s why America made a nationwide switch to a 55 mph highway speed limit during the oil embargo in the 1970s)
Of course, it is dangerous to drive 55 mph when the speed limit is 75 mph. But going 65 mph in a 65 mph zone will be much more efficient than going 85 mph. Try cruise control if you haven’t already; not only does this prevent speeding, but it also helps reduce the number of slight accelerations and decelerations that harm fuel economy.
Stop driving so aggressively
Quick acceleration can be fun. And cars today are faster than ever. But the floor with a dead stop is the least effective way of driving.
First, it consumes a lot of fuel. It also puts a significant strain on the engine, which revs to unusually high speeds. You might have a car that’s a lot of fun to be rowdy in, but you don’t have to do it every time you buy paper towels.
Do not idle the car
The principle here is simple: the engine needs gasoline to run, and if you run the engine at a standstill, you get 0 mpg.
Do you need to use the remote start to pre-condition the climate before you leave for work in the morning? Probably not.
Turn off the machine while your partner collects the prescription. And stop pressing the button to disable the car’s auto stop/start function.
Distribute the use of air conditioning
Okay, so that’s probably not the message you want to hear as summer approaches. But the operation of the air conditioner significantly reduces fuel economy.
You draw power from the engine to run the cooler. You will need it on certain summer days. But when it’s 74 degrees outside, you don’t need the climate system blasting to keep the temperature in the car at 68.
Parking in the shade and opening the windows (at low speeds) can do a lot to keep the cabin cool.
Get your gear off the roof when your adventure is over
Roof racks are great. And this wonderful cargo box on the roof or tent on the roof can make your outdoor adventures easier and more enjoyable. But anything up there on the roof will create drag and affect the car’s fuel economy.
It also adds weight to the vehicle, which forces the engine to work harder and affects fuel economy. Use your adventure gear on your adventures and find a place to store it when you’re away.
Clean your car
The extra weight puts more strain on the engine and affects fuel economy. We do not recommend that you take this principle to the extreme of a racing car and start cleaning the interior. However, you can get rid of unnecessary things: books, hockey equipment, a baby carriage. Those miscellaneous items that you don’t use add up.
Saving fuel can be as simple as running errands in the evening instead of in the middle of the day. There will be less traffic, so you won’t spend as much time idle. It will be cooler outside, so there is no need to use the climate control. And you can probably afford to spend those extra 2-3 minutes on the eco route.
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