With gas prices through the roof, almost every other day, another writer comes out with a "top ten ways to save on gas" article. We did it too a while back, but really, most of the savings can be achieved with only a few essentials. Actually, assuming that your car is in relatively good shape and well maintained, you really only need to concentrate on three things to get the bulk of the gas savings that are possible. In fact, if you're a "typical" driver, it would not be unusual to add 30% or more to your mileage simply by following the advice below. The worst offender is aggressive driving. The most significant factor in saving gas is how you drive.
If you have a habit of stepping on the gas aggressively every time you get going, and waiting until the last minute to step on the brake, it's costing you plenty more than it has to at the pump. Always think ahead when you're behind the wheel. Try to make your driving as smooth as possible - both starting and stopping. Instead of getting to the posted speed limit as fast as possible, aim for a smooth and gradual acceleration.
Same thing with stopping. If you can see a red light up ahead, take your foot off the gas and coast until you have to apply the brake, instead of keeping your foot on the gas pedal and braking at the last minute. By working with momentum and gravity, you can make driving a bit of a game and have some fun while saving gas. As you approach an incline, you could try to build up a bit of speed so that the momentum reduces the need for stepping on the gas as much while going up the hill, and conversely, let gravity help you when going downhill. If you're not going anywhere, turn off the engine. This applies as much to warming up the car in cold climates, as it does when idling and waiting in line for something or other while in your car.
If you live in a cold climate, simply dress a bit warmer, and let your vehicle get warm as you drive. Your car needs no more than 30 - 45 seconds of idling time in cold weather, to reach a reasonable operating temperature. If you can see that you're likely to be stopped for more than a minute, it probably makes sense to turn off the engine for a while. In terms of fuel savings, it definitely does.
3) Drive at or slightly below the speed limit (drive slower) It's just a fact that driving slower under normal conditions uses less gas (much less actually). You can actually accomplish several things by driving slower, like: increased safety margins, avoided speeding tickets, and of course, it's one of the best ways to really save on gas. Just move over to the slow lane, and save yourself the aggravation of having someone behind you getting all irritated because you're driving at the speed limit.
The time savings of going fast just don't equal the long term benefits of driving at the speed limit. Another benefit of which could be lower car insurance rates because of a better driving record. There you have it. You can forget all of those top ten lists, or that article about 37 ways to save on gasoline.
The truth is that if you follow the advice outlined above, you'll be saving most of what is possible, without wasting your time on things that simply don't matter that much in terms of real gas savings.
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