Is Your Vehicle a Gas Guzzler? Here's What to Do

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  • Choosing a more efficient vehicle or a hybrid or electric vehicle can save you money.
  • By driving sensibly, reducing your speed, and avoiding extra weight in your car, you can reduce your gas mileage up to 75%.
  • Driving more efficiently and keeping your car in shape can save you up to $2,000 in fuel costs per year.

Don't ignore these fuel-saving tips.

The average American is paying almost $1,000 more for gas this year than they did last year. Prices don't look like they are going to come down anytime soon. If you are driving a gas guzzler, it may be time to choose a more efficient car. However, it doesn't help that used and new car prices are at an all-time high.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can reduce the amount of gas you use by up to 75% by driving more efficiently and keeping your car in shape. Changing your driving habits can significantly improve your fuel economy.

Hot and cold weather driving

With summer approaching, try to limit the use of your air conditioner. It's the number one contributor to reduced fuel efficiency in hot weather. But, driving with your windows all the way down can increase wind resistance and also reduce fuel economy. The best way to keep cool is rolling down your windows at lower speeds and using the A/C while on the freeway. Don't idle with your A/C on, and drive with the windows open for a short time before using it. By letting the hot air out first, you will put less demand on the A/C and cool your vehicle faster.

If it is cold outside, don't warm up your vehicle before you start your trip. This lowers your fuel economy since idling gets 0 mpg. Minimize idling your car to warm it up and instead drive off gently after about 30 seconds. Your engine will warm up faster being driven, which will allow the heat to turn on sooner and decrease your fuel costs.

Avoid aggressive driving

By avoiding rapid acceleration and hard braking, you can lower your gas mileage by 15% to 30% at highway speeds. Aggressive driving in stop-and-go traffic is even worse, costing you 10% to 40% in gas mileage. 

Fuel economy: 10% – 40%

Gas savings: $0.46 – $1.84 

Avoid speeding

Gas mileage typically decreases significantly above 50 mph. For every 5 mph you drive over 50 mph, you are paying an extra $0.31 per gallon. Driving 5 mph to 10 mph slower can lower your gas mileage 7% to 14%.

Fuel economy: 7% – 14%

Gas savings: $0.32 – $0.64

Avoid extra weight

Every extra 100 pounds you have in your car reduces your gas mileage by 1%. Large cargo boxes are not only heavy, but increase wind resistance. A cargo box on your roof can reduce your fuel economy by 10% to 25% when driving over 65 mph, 6% to 17% when driving on the highway, and 2% to 8% in the city. 

Fuel economy: 2%–17%

Gas savings: $0.09–$0.78

Keep your vehicle in shape

Keeping your engine properly tuned can improve your gas mileage by 4%. Under-inflated tires can lower your fuel economy by about 0.20% for every 1 psi drop. Keeping your tires properly inflated can increase your gas mileage by 0.60%.

Fuel economy: 0.60% – 4.6%

Gas savings: $0.03 – $0.21

Change your driving habits

Changing your habits is one of the best things you can do to increase your gas mileage. Following all of these tips can reduce your gas usage anywhere from 19.6% to 75.6%, or $0.90 up to $3.47 in equivalent gas savings per gallon. This can result in savings from $540 to $2,000 a year. Avoiding bad habits can help you save money with today's high gas prices.

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