Drivers today don’t want power. They want fuel economy. And, car manufacturers are racing to meet the demands. But, all those high-tech improvements cost money. And, unless you’re in the market for a new car, it’s probably out of the question. So, what do you do? Fortunately, there are ways to improve your fuel economy by as much as 70 percent. Here’s how.
Driving under 45 miles per hour will really help you save fuel. The faster your engine spins, the more fuel you must use. And, in most cars, the “magic” spot is 45 MPH in 3rd or 4th gear. On the highway, 55 MPH is the “magic” speed.
At these speeds, you should be hovering right around 2,000 RPM on your tachometer (if your vehicle has one). At that engine speed, you won’t use much fuel to keep your car going down the road.
Get Rid Of The Passenger-Side Mirror
This is a bit extreme, but the idea is that by getting rid of things sticking out from your car, you can reduce the drag. Now, taking the passenger side mirror might seem like overdoing it, but you can (and probably should) take that rack off the top of your car, or get rid of other rigs for things like bikes.
Avoid Braking and Rapid Acceleration
Don’t brake too hard. Slamming on your brakes wastes the fuel you used to get you up to speed. Naturally, this means you need to drive more defensively and anticipate red lights, stop signs, and crazy drivers on the road who will probably cut you off if you give them enough room to squeeze in between you and the vehicle ahead of you.
Rapid acceleration is also a no-no. “Gunning it” takes more fuel than a slow acceleration. In fact, a slow acceleration could save you up to 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city. And, in most cases, rapid acceleration is totally unnecessary. Once you get up to speed, you’re going to be moving at the same pace as everyone else anyway.
Turn Off Your Engine At Red Lights
You can do this in some vehicles and it’ll work out OK. You might get strange stares, but this is a technique a lot of the newer hybrid vehicles use to save fuel.
Cars, like the new Ford Fiesta save on fuel by simple weight reduction. It’s a small subcompact, and so its curb weight is much lower than a full-size vehicle.
If you don’t own a subcompact, you can still save weight by cleaning out your vehicle and removing the spare tire. For every 100 pounds you remove, you save 1.5 percent.
Maintain proper Tire Pressure
Keeping your tires properly inflated can save you up to 25 percent. Most people drive around with chronically underinflated tires. Buy yourself a miniature air compressor and check the tires at least once a week. When the seasons change, you will probably have to check your tires more often, especially if the temperature fluctuates wildly where you live.
William Burns is not only a mechanic in his day job but he has a real passion for everything automotive, which he likes to share online. He writes regularly for a number of different consumer and automotive websites.