Gas prices are on the rise. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gasoline prices are up 11%, increasing from $3.29 in mid-December 2011 to $3.65 by mid-February 2012. Assuming you’re an average driver who gets fuel economy of 22.5 mpg, pays a fuel cost of $3.65/gallon, and travels 15,000 miles annually, that translates into a $20 increase each month to fuel your vehicle.
The best way to save gas money and reduce your carbon footprint is to stop driving. However, if you cannot walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation to get you where you need to go, heed some of these driving and maintenance tips. They boost your fuel economy and make the most of your monthly gasoline budget:
Drive more efficiently:
- Avoid aggressive driving which includes speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking. When you don’t drive sensibly you can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Plus if you drive sensibly you may avoid an accident and thereby save on more than just gas.
- Observe the Speed Limit. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.30 per gallon for gas.
- Remove Excess Weight. If it is a heavy and unnecessary, take it out of your car; especially if you drive a smaller car. Did you know an additional 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent?
- Avoid Excessive Idling. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle.
- Use Cruise Control. Maintaining a constant speed can help you save gas.
- Use Overdrive Gears. Overdrive gearing reduces your car’s engine speed which saves gas and reduces engine wear.