We've spent the better part of this year talking about the highest gas prices we've ever seen. For some, the price of premium unleaded was more expensive than $5 per gallon.
Just because the cost of fuel has dropped to the lowest it's been in several years, doesn't mean it will stay that way. Listed below under four categories — Engine Warm-Up, How to Buy Gasoline, How to Drive Economically, and General Advice — are some effective methods for saving money at the fuel pump — and overall wear and tear on your car.
1. Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold mornings — 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.
2. Don't start and stop engine needlessly. Idling your engine for one minute consumes the gas amount equivalent to when you start the engine.
3. Avoid "reving" the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly and washes oil down from the inside cylinder walls, owing to loss of oil pressure.
4. Eliminate jack-rabbit starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. Don't push pedal down more than 1/4 of the total foot travel. This allows carburetor to function at peak efficiency.
HOW TO BUY GASOLINE
5. Buy gasoline during coolest time of day — early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind — gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement."
6. Choose type and brand of gasoline carefully. Certain brands provide you with greater economy because of better quality. Use the brands which "seem" most beneficial.
7. Avoid filling gas tank to top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of tank. Never fill gas tank past the first "click" of fuel nozzle, if nozzle is automatic.
HOW TO DRIVE ECONOMICALLY
8. Exceeding 40 mph forces your auto to overcome tremendous wind resistance.
9. Never exceed legal speed limit. Primarily they are set for your traveling safety, however better gas efficiency also occurs. Traveling at 55 mph gives up to 21% better mileage when compared to former legal speed limits of 65 mph and 70 mph.
10. Traveling at fast rates in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.
11. Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10%.
12. Drive steadily. Slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel. Also avoid tailgating — the driver in front of you is unpredictable. Not only is it unsafe, but it affects your economy, if he slows down unexpectedly.
13. Think ahead when approaching hills. If you must accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not while you're on it.
14. Do not rest left foot on floorboard pedals while driving. The slightest pressure puts "mechanical drag" on components, wearing them down prematurely. This "dragging" also demands additional fuel usage.
15. Avoid rough roads whenever possible, because dirt or gravel rob you of up to 30% of your gas mileage.
16. Use alternate roads when safer, shorter, straighter. Compare traveling distance differences — remember that corners, curves and lane jumping require extra gas. The shortest distance between two points is always straight.
17. Stoplights are usually timed for your motoring advantage. By traveling steadily at the legal speed limit you boost your chances of having the "green light" all the way.
18. Automatic transmissions should be allowed to cool down when your car is idling at a standstill, e.g. railroad crossings, long traffic lights, etc. Place gear into neutral position. This reduces transmission strain and allows transmission to cool.
19. Park car so that you can later begin to travel in forward gear; avoid reverse gear maneuvers to save gas.
20. Special attention should be given to maintaining clean air filters... diminished air flow increases gas waste.
21. Inspect suspension and chassis parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, bad shocks, broken springs, etc., create engine drag and are unsafe at high traveling speeds.
22. Remove snow tires during good weather seasons; traveling on deep tire tread really robs fuel!
23. Inflate all tires to maximum limit. Each tire should be periodically spun, balanced and checked for out-of-round. When shopping for new tires, get large diameter tires for rear wheels. Radial designs are the recognized fuel-savers; check manufacturer's specifications for maximum tire pressures.
27. Auto air conditioners can reduce fuel economy by 10% to 20%. Heater fan, power windows and seats increase engine load; the more load on your engine, the less miles per gallon.
28. Remove excess weight from trunk or inside of car — extra tires, back seats, unnecessary heavy parts. Extra weight reduces mileage, especially when driving up inclines.
Now is the time to change your motoring habits so you can reduce auto-related expenses when gas prices rise again in the future!
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