How to Get the Best Mileage in Your Vehicle and Save $$

With gas prices rising above $4.50 in some places in the U.S. due to refinery issues and a world-wide uptick in consumer demand, everyone is looking for ways to save on gas. Some people are willing to drive several miles out of their way to save a few pennies a gallon.

There are, however, a few things you can do to guarantee lower fuel consumption–whether you can find the thrifty gas station or not. Consumer Reports say,  there are two things you can do that are guaranteed to lower your gas bill, “You can control how you drive and take care of your car. Do very simple things to improve its fuel economy performance.”  Check out Bankrate.com online calculators that can show you if the changes to your drive patterns saves you money and how much.

Drive Sensibly

Speeding, rapid acceleration and jerk -to-a-stop braking wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. I know we are all in a rush most of the time, but it is wise to remember how long it can take to deal with an accident–even a little fender bender–and additional repair costs (human and monetary).

While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.26 per gallon for gas. Also using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 5–33%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.19–$1.24/gallon

Remove Excess Weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones. Even bike racks not used regularly should come off the car. They cause extra drag. So now we know sometimes extra junk in the trunk is just procrastination that’s costing you more money.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 1–2%/100 lbs
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.04–$0.08/gallon

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. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. By the way, you’ll enjoy the fresher air, as well the extra bucks in your pocket.

Fuel Cost Savings: $0.01–$0.03/min. (AC off)
  $0.02–$0.04/min. (AC on)

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