I recall reading an article in SOCO magazine a few months back about saving gas. The author suggested that by reducing speed and driving 5 MPH under the posted speed limit, you could save considerable fuel. What a farce I thought. No way could you save that much by slowing down that little. Who in today’s high-speed society is going to drive that slowly?
I was on a road trip recently, so I decided to test this off the wall theory myself. The following numbers are from highway driving on flat roads with moderate traffic. When I drove the 65 MPH speed limit, I got 24 MPG. I slowed to 60 and got 26 MPG. Big deal I thought two whole miles per hour. Then I increased to 70, 75, & 80 and got 22, 20 and 16 MPG, respectively. Now that is a big difference!
Note, I do not drive that fast as a norm, I pretty much stay at the posted speed limit. Just saying.
If you have a lead foot and drive 10 or 15 MPH over the speed limit, you could save upwards of 10 MPG if you slow down! That’s a pretty big chunk of change in my book.”
Now, do you need to get somewhere 2 or 3 minutes earlier? Driving that fast puts you and others in more danger, puts more wear on your car, and more stress on you. I find the more I race around, the more my heart & mind races. Is it worth it for a mere 2-3 minutes? Save on fuel and stress.
12 methods to save money on gas
- Keep your engine tuned up. Worn plugs, etc. promote inefficiency in your engine.
- Use the correct oil. Most new cars call for 5W20. Using heavier oil increases friction and forces the engine to work harder.
- Inflate tires to the recommended pressure. Over-inflation causes them to bulge out a bit thus causing the central part of the tread to wear. This shrinks the “tire patch” that is in contact with the road, and is more dangerous because a smaller tire patch means the car will take more distance to slow or stop. Under-inflating increases the tire patch, resulting in excess friction thus burning more gas and wear on the outer parts of the tread as well as loss of control for the driver.
- Change air filters regularly. A dirty filter forces the engine to work harder to suck in enough air to keep the engine running properly.
- Clean out the junk in your trunk. No pun intended. Remove anything you don’t need. The heavier the car, the harder your engine must work to push it down the street.
- Use your cruise control on highways with light traffic. It smooths out the speed and stops wasting gas on bursts of foot acceleration to get up to speed after you have fallen off due to inattention.
- Try to avoid quick stops and starts. When you see a red light ahead, coast to it and don’t floor it when you get the green light. Push on the accelerator as though there was an egg under your foot.
- Don’t make unnecessary trips. Think before you jump in the car. Plan out your route to optimize efficiency. Share driving with a friend or neighbor, such as trips to the supermarket.
- Try taking that vacation to a place nearer to home.
Check out carpooling to work.
- When you buy a new or newer car, take a serious look at smaller, lighter vehicles including hybrids, electric and someday soon hydrogen-powered vehicles. Do you need a big tank of an SUV?
- Check out gas discount programs offered by supermarkets and shopping clubs.
- Purchase fuel using a credit card that will pay you a percentage back in cash.
Happy motoring! Drive safe.