5 Tips for Conserving Gas

When people set out to buy a car, one of the critical points they research is often the average gas mileage. Poor gas mileage can make the car a constant drain on your wallet, reducing available funds at a time when money is already tight. Sometimes, however, it's not just your car's natural fuel efficiency that matters when you pull up at the pump. While the make and model of your car will certainly determine how much gas your car uses, there are a number of methods you can use to save gas and reduce the amount of money that you're spending on keeping your car running.

Pay attention to your driving habits

Do you jump in the car and run out for "just a quick trip" every day? Consider consolidating your errands instead to save on fuel. Also, when you know that you're going to be spending the day out running errands, plan your route for maximum efficiency. It doesn't make any sense at all to drive back and forth across town several times as you visit different stores. Instead, head out to the furthest location first (warming up your car helps it to perform more efficiently, so you'll get better gas mileage) and work your way back home as efficiently as possible.

Take your time

Coasting to a stop at a red light or stop sign instead of maintaining the highest possible speed until the last minute, then hurrying to mash down your brakes, can significantly increase your gas mileage. Speeding, on the other hand, can hurt it: many cars burn a great deal more gas when they go over 65 miles per hour. Tailgating also wastes gas: every time you have to put on your brakes to avoid a collision with the slow-moving person in front of you, you waste some of your car's forward momentum and energy, which means that you're burning more gas. When you're on the road, let the journey be part of the experience. Go with the flow instead of racing to your location at maximum speed. In the end, aggressive driving will probably only shave a minute or two off of your time anyway--and end up costing you a lot of money.

Don't skip routine maintenance

This includes getting your oil changed regularly, checking your tire pressure to make sure that it's at optimum level, and keeping up with regular maintenance on your vehicle. Many people avoid taking in their cars because they think that they can't afford expensive maintenance, but over time, avoiding those routine maintenance stops will cost you more in decreased gas mileage. Changing out your air filter alone can increase your gas mileage by as much as 10%.

Clean out your car

Did you know that for every extra 100 lbs in your vehicle, you lose 1% of your fuel efficiency? Instead of hauling around all that extra gear, take the time to clean out your vehicle. Your empty fast food cup collection probably doesn't weigh that much, but the bags of gym equipment, boxes you've meant to drop off at the recycling center or donate to Goodwill for weeks, and other heavy items add up fast!

Avoid idling whenever possible

You can't always control the flow of traffic. Sitting in your vehicle while it idles in a parking lot, however, is an unnecessary waste of fuel. Instead, turn the ignition off and walk into your destination. There's probably plenty of space inside for you to take care of whatever you need!

Keeping your car running at peak efficiency isn't as easy as planning in regular trips to the mechanic. Keeping your gas consumption low requires an everyday commitment. If you pay attention, however, you can significantly lower your gas bill simply by paying attention to your driving habits.

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