Fuel economy is something that is on the minds of many drivers these days. If you’re constantly concerned about the price of gas and have been trying unsuccessfully to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint, the good news is that you don’t have to trade in your car for some other environmentally-friendly model. Instead, there are some great tips out there you can follow in order to significantly optimize your fuel economy. To help you out, our pros here at Westbury Toyota have put together a quick list of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the best fuel bang for your buck.
Letting your vehicle idle for any amount of time longer than a minute is a sure-fire way to waste gas and hike up your fuel bill. Always shut your vehicle off if you’re going to be leaving it for any length of time. Letting your engine idle for an hour burns up to half a gallon of fuel and what’s more, emits harmful CO2 into the atmosphere.
Some people start their vehicle and let it idle for minutes as a way to let it warm up, but that’s not the recommended way to do it. Fact is, your car only needs to run for about twenty seconds in order to build up the oil pressure. After that you’re free to start driving as you normally would.
For vehicles with manual transmissions, here’s a trick to conserve fuel: Drive in the highest gear without straining the engine. As Rob Macgregor of The Globe and Mail points out, driving at 40 miles per hour in third gear will burn nearly 25 percent more fuel than driving the same speed in fifth gear. Pushing your car into high speeds in low gear can consume up to 45 percent more fuel than what you would normally. You can track this if your car has an “instant fuel economy” setting, which lets you gauge just how much fuel you’re burning with the speed and gear you choose. If the amount of gas you use is a constant concern for you and you’ve got an onboard trip computer with the fuel economy setting, make sure to pay attention to it in order to judge how your driving habits affect your fuel bill.
One of the best ways to optimize your gas mileage is to make sure that your car’s tires are always at the recommended tire pressure. Tires that are over or under inflated can have a direct impact on how much fuel your car is using, especially when accelerating, decelerating, or braking. If your tires are too full or too low for a long period of time, the amount of unnecessary fuel you’ll be using over time can really add up. If you’re not sure what the recommended tire pressure is for your car, be sure to check the owner’s manual.
Some of the biggest fuel wasting habits that drivers develop are not plotting out their route ahead of time and getting stuck in rush hour. When it comes to planning out your driving route, explains Benjamin Jones of Popular Mechanics, try and choose a path that has lower speed limits, less traffic, and fewer stop lights. This isn’t something everyone can do because it’ll obviously be slower going, but if you have the time to spare, choosing a route with those three things will help you conserve a considerable amount of fuel.
Avoiding rush hour is another surefire way to save on gas. Being stuck in gridlock where you’re idling for long periods of time and constantly speeding up and slowing down burns a lot of fuel. If your job allows for flexible hours, try to pick a schedule that has you missing rush hour traffic. If that’s not possible, you may want to choose to do errands either in the morning or at night in order to avoid rush hour traffic during your commutes.
At Westbury Toyota, we know the toll the prices at the pump can take on your wallet. In the interest of helping you save a few bucks every time your fuel up, we’ve shared some of our favorite tips for optimizing our gas mileage. Some of these tips might seem like they’re only conserving miniscule amounts of fuel, but if you do them all for long enough, you’ll definitely see a difference!