Spending money on Gas can be a sizable part of your budget, especially if you have a long commute or don't know some of the strategies for increasing your fuel efficiency.
One off the first things you can do is begin tracking your miles per gallon. Monitoring the number of miles driven on each tank and dividing it by the number of gallons purchased will allow you to calculate your MPG. This will give you a basis to compete with yourself and others. It feels great to look back after a few weeks and see how much your efficiency has increased as you began applying these tips.
Secondly you can begin leveraging your competitive nature to hep you save money at the pump. As soon as you begin tracking your miles per gallon, you will find yourself competing with yourself to see how high of a“score” you can get. This can be taken further by challenging your friends and family and asking them how efficient they are. I used this to reach my current record of 39.1 MPG on a 91 Honda civic.
Here are the strategies which I use to increase my fuel efficiency:
Monitor tire pressure and car fluids
This is well documented to increase your fuel efficiency. If you want to give yourself a mental reminder of why this is important try riding a bike that is missing air pressure and then see how much easier it is when the tires are full. Getting a tire pressure gauge for your brother in law or friend and challenging them to keep track of their fuel efficiency makes a great Christmas gift for someone who likes something inexpensive but useful.
Strategically slow down to avoid stopping at red lights.
When approaching a red light my goal is to never come to a complete stop. I do this by slowing down ahead of time and letting my vehicle slowly glide forward. More often than not my vehicle will be already moving when the light changes green.
Burn less fuel through maintaining the same speed
Driving a car you want to slowly increase and slowly decrease your speeds. Imagine the difference between jogging a mile and doing 16, 100 meter sprints. They are both the same distance but one will leave you much more tired. You can apply this to driving by using cruise control on the freeway and keeping your speeds the same.
Focusing on your fuel economy won't just save you money at the pump, it will also help prevent you from being pulled over as speeding reduces your fuel economy. If you are continually tracking your MPG it will help you detect problems in your car sooner than normal since you will be aware of a drop in MPG.
If you are in need of further methods to increase your focus on miles per gallon, place a photo of pollution onto your dashboard. This will help you to remember that increasing your MPG won't just help yourself and that you will be helping the environment.
Tire Pressure Gauge
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(price as of Jun 10, 2015)