Submitted to SeniorArk by Jan...in Oregon! Where gas
is almost $4.00 a gallon!
It goes without saying that gas prices are making
everyone’s financial lives a bit more “interesting.” I
am hearing rumors that it could be as high as $5 a
gallon this summer. So I scoured the Internet looking
for the best tips I could find to save gas and here is
what I found….
THE MOST EFFECTIVE GAS
Edmunds.com did a real-world test of a few of the
common gas saving tips to see how they stacked up and
these were the tips they found to be most important.
Stop Aggressive Driving
In their road tests this was the most important
factor in saving gas. They found up to a 37% savings
with an average of 31% savings. That is like getting
$4.00 gas for $2.69 - it sounds like a no-brainer, but
I am still amazed at how many people still drive like
they just robbed a bank. Edmunds says, “If you slowed
your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your
current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15
seconds, you’ll feel the savings immediately.”
This one is a difficult one to get used to.
Personally, I find that I am just more comfortable
driving at certain speeds. 55mph on the highway isn’t
in my comfort zone, but I have tried to make a point
to drive 5 mph slower than I used to and believe it or
not I am getting used to it.
Their test consisted of driving 50 miles on cruise
control at 75mph and 65mph. They found that by driving
slower you can save up to 14% with an average of 12%.
Not to mention the savings from not having to pay
Cruise Control does save gas
In my research to find all these gas tips, I found
that there is some debate on this issue, but I think I
am leaning toward using cruise control - I think it
depends on the type of driver you are and the size of
engine you have. But for most people, in my humble
opinion, I think you would save more by using it.
Edmunds was surprised by the effectiveness of using
it. They got up to 14% savings on gas with an average
savings of 7%. That would equate to about a 25 cent
discount on each gallon. The exception to this is for
mountainous driving. It will try to keep you up to the
speed you’ve set and will use a lot of extra gas
downshifting to lower gears to accomplish this.
Avoid Excessive Idling
Another one they found to be important is not to
idle very long. They said that by avoiding excessive
idling you can save up to 19% on fuel consumption.
They suggest that if you are stopped for longer than a
minute to shut down the engine.
NOT AS IMPORTANT AS SOME THINK
Should you use A/C or windows to save gas?
This is another hot topic among the gas-saving
tips. A/C’s have become more efficient over the years,
but they do put a strain on the engine. And of course
having the windows open will create more
wind-resistance than not having them open. But, their
tests found no measurable different in fuel
Personally, I love having the windows open. But
another thing to consider is the health factor. If you
are driving in a lot of traffic, you may be breathing
a lot more of the exhaust by having the windows open.
Many cars have cabin air-filters that (at least try
to) filter the air that comes in to the car. I don’t
know how well they work, but I would think it is
better than not having a filter at all.
Checking Your Tire Pressure
Keeping your tires properly inflated is another
common gas saving tip. They say they saw no measurable
difference on this test. They still recommend keeping
them properly inflated, but they say not to expect
I have been doing this one over the last few years.
I thought I had an improvement each time I filled them
to the proper level when they were very low. Since I
didn’t measure it I am wondering if it was just all in
Other Gas Saving Tips
The art of driving to save gas
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 fuel economy if he slows down
When you see a hill ahead, build up speed before
you reach it, then maintain your speed on the slope.
Then coast down the other side.
Avoid accelerating when driving uphill. It uses
a lot of gas. If your car has a display that shows
your instantaneous gas mileage, try it out. You’ll see
your mileage plummet — from 25 or 30 MPG… down to 6
MPG — or sometimes even as low as 2 or 3 MPG.
When driving, keep your eyes moving and your feet
still! Keep your steering wheel still too. The more
you weave back and forth, the farther your car has to
travel and the more gas is consumed.
If you must stop for more than 30 seconds, don’t idle
your car. The engine is more fuel efficient if your
turn it off and restart it.
Avoid “reving” the engine, especially just before
you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly
and wears out the cylinders.
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.
Avoid panic stops. When possible, coast to stops
such as traffic lights.
Don’t forget to release the emergency brake before
Exceeding 40 mph forces your car to overcome
tremendous wind resistance. Never exceed legal speed
limit. Primarily they are set for your traveling
safety, however better gas efficiency also occurs.
Traveling at 55 mph give you up to 21% better
mileage when compared to former legal speed limits of
65 mph and 70 mph.
Use only your right foot for accelerating and
braking. That way you can’t accidentally ride the
brake and use excessive gas. The slightest pressure
puts “mechanical drag” on components, wearing them
down prematurely. This “dragging” also demands
additional fuel usage.
Manual shift driven cars allow you to change to
highest gear as soon as possible, thereby letting you
save gas if you “nurse it along”. However, if you
cause the engine to “bog down”, premature wearing of
engine parts occurs.
Shift into high gear as soon as possible. If you
have automatic transmission, lift your foot from the
accelerator about one second early.
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 strain on the
transmission and allows it to cool.
If you have a manual transmission and want to save
some gas, you need to shift up early and shift down
late. Traveling at fast rates in low gears can consume
up to 45% more fuel than is needed.
Pass other cars as soon as you see you are
overtaking them. Don’t wait.
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.
When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine
speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine
Turn off the A/C five minutes before you reach your
destination and don’t keep it working until the last
Park your car in the shade if you can and crack
your windows to allow air to circulate in the car, so
you won’t have to keep the AC working as hard when you
Park car so that you can later begin to travel in
forward gear; avoid reverse gear maneuvers to save
PLANNING THE TRIP
Thinking to save gas
Before getting into your car, ask yourself “Is this
trip really necessary?”
For short trips, try walking or bicycling. It’s
Consider car-pooling and share the gas bill. Car
pools reduce travel monotony and gas expense, assuming
all riders chip in to help you buy. Conversation helps
to keep the driver alert. Pooling also reduces traffic
congestion and gives the driver easier
maneuverability. For best results, distribute
passenger weight evenly throughout car.
Organize activities and perform
as many errands as possible in one trip. Make a
list and do all the grocery shopping once or twice a
If possible, avoid driving during rush-hour & other
peak traffic periods.
Do they deliver? Let them pay for the gas! Try mail
order firms, too.
Let the kids run some of the errands. Let them walk
to school, too.
Better planning reduces the need for speeding to
get there in time.
Shop around for service stations with the lowest
gasoline prices. - also use
Keep tuned to radio traffic reports & avoid traffic
jams and other delays.
Public transportation may be cheaper, especially
when you are traveling alone.
Pack as little in your car as necessary so it has
less weight to carry.
Avoid rough roads whenever possible, because dirt
or gravel can rob you of up to 30% of your gas
Avoid heavy traffic and lots of traffic lights. The
shortest route is not always the most fuel efficient
if you have to stop a lot.
Use alternate roads when safer, shorter,
straighter. Compare traveling distance differences -
remember that corners, curves and lane jumping
requires extra gas. The shortest distance between two
points is always straight.
WHEN BUYING A CAR
Look for high MPGs
If you are
in the market for a new car, you definitely should
consider fuel efficiencies. Consider a hybrid just for
the better fuel economy if I weren’t in the market for
a new car. You can easily calculate how much money you
would save a year and weigh that against the cost of
the car (plus the potentially higher maintenance
In hot climates, drive a car with light colored
exterior and interior, to reflect light, heat. Tinted
glass also prevents heat buildup. Stay away from
Black! I have owned black and beige cars and I can
tell you that black cars get a lot hotter than lighter
colors. Therefore with a black car you will need to
use the A/C more often.
Operate as small a car as possible for your driving
needs. (Small cars weighing half as much as large cars
use about half as much gasoline!)
Avoid cars with gas-consuming options such as air
conditioning; power equipment such as window,
door locks, etc.; automatic transmission,
When buying a new car, keep in mind that a sunroof
helps disturb smooth air flow (and gas mileage).
It’s not commonly known, but Diesel engines can
give you a much better gas mileage than Hybrids on
long distance drives. That’s one of the reasons,
hybrids aren’t popular in Europe but Diesels are. The
downside is that diesel fuel costs a good chunk more
than unleaded right now.
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”. (I know the effectiveness of this
one is debated, but it won’t hurt.)
Choose type and brand of gasoline carefully.
Certain brands provide you with greater economy
because of better quality. Use the brands which “seem”
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. It could also leak or spill in heat or on a
Set the Pump Trigger on lowest position.
If a gasoline truck is pumping into the storage
tanks, don’t buy.
Don’t fill up unless you are on empty, since all
this gas weighs a lot and more weight reduces
THE CAR ITSELF
Seasonal fuel-saving tips
Auto air conditioners can reduce fuel economy by
10% to 20%. Heater fan, power windows and power seats
increase engine load; the more load on your engine,
the fewer miles per gallon.
Use snow tires and/or chains as little as necessary
because they make your car work harder and use more
Remove snow tires during good weather seasons;
traveling on deep tire tread really robs fuel!
During cold weather watch for icicles frozen to car
frame. Up to 100 lbs. can be quickly accumulated!
Unremoved snow and ice cause tremendous wind
resistance. Warm water thrown on (or hosed on) will
eliminate it fast.
Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold
mornings - 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.
Keep wheels aligned for better gas mileage - longer
tire life, too.
Make certain your gas cap fits properly.
Keep brakes properly adjusted. Dragging brakes
It’s not a bad idea to make sure there are no gas
leaks. Gas spilling out on the road doesn’t help your
Regular tune-ups ensure best economy; check owner’s
manual for recommended maintenance intervals. Special
attention should be given to maintaining clean air
filters… diminished air flow increases gas waste.
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.
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. Check manufacturer’s
specifications for maximum tire pressures.
Good idea adjustments to your car
Get a locking gas cap - stolen gas really hurts
You can also try to reduce the mass of your car by
emptying out the trunk and removing heavy items that
you don’t need (keep your spare tire and car lift, but
get rid of the gardening equipment). Extra weight
reduces mileage, especially when driving up inclines.
If you drive a car with a car top carrier, bike
rack, or really any thing attached to it, you may want
to take it off to reduce air drag.
Remove vinyl tops - they cause air drag. Rough
surfaces disturb otherwise smooth air flow around a
car’s body. Remove items that cause wind resistance,
such as luggage racks.
Use radial tires for less friction between tire and
road. Radial designs are the recognized fuel-savers.
By using the recommended grade of motor oil you can
improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. For example,
using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use
5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Using
5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your
gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent.
Look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on
the API performance symbol to be sure it contains
Advanced ways to save gas
Eco-tuning. Many tuners offer replacement chips for
your engine computer that increase the power while at
the same time saving gas. How? They improve both ends
of the curve. At the upper end they give you more
power (with reduced efficiency) and at the lower end a
better efficiency. You choose with the gas pedal which
mode to use. Make sure you use manufacturer approved
tuners if you don’t want to lose your warranty.
For more tips check out the inspiration for