With the situation in the Middle East unsettled, economies like China and India growing fast and demanding more fuel and rumors that the oil producers have been intentionally overestimating their remaining reserves, high gas prices may be here to stay.
Major car companies are offering hybrid and electric vehicles and a new fleet of high mileage clean diesel cars is around the corner. But in this economy, most of us can’t afford to run out and buy a new car right now.
Aside from buying the cheapest gas you can find, easy to do using our local gas price list (see right side of this page) or our new interactive gas map, what can we do to make that gas last longer.
Tips to Save on Gas
Follow some (or all) of these common-sense strategies recommended by the US Department of Energy to make the gas last longer.
- Drive Sensibly
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
- Observe the Speed Limit
While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), 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 $0.24 per gallon for gas.
- 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.
- Avoid Excessive Idling
Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines.
- Use Cruise Control
Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas. Also, it can help you avoid tickets on those sneaky downhill sections you don’t notice until it is too late.
- Close the Windows
At higher speeds, opening the windows increases the turbulence around your car and increases wind resistance thus lowering your mileage. Even adding the cost of air conditioning, it still pays (or is a push) to have windows closed and A/C on. So when summer comes, ride in comfort knowing you’re not wasting gas.
For more great ideas on fuel economy, visit www.fueleconomy.gov.