The stubbornly high fuel prices of the past few years have focused considerable attention on the need for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Government regulators, environmentalists, lawmakers and automobile manufactures are all on a mission to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles manufactured and used in the U.S. As a consumer, the easiest way you can contribute to the effort is to ditch your gas-guzzler and drive a more environmentally friendly car. However, not all of us can afford a new car, or may not necessarily want one. Even if a new car is not in your budget or your wish list, there are several measures you can take to improve the gas mileage of your current vehicle.
One of the most obvious measures is to ensure that your vehicle is properly maintained. Vehicles become less fuel-efficient as they age mainly because critical components like the carburetor, spark plugs and air filters become clogged with grime and dirt. Regular maintenance of these components can help keep your vehicle running as fuel-efficiently as it was designed to, for years.
Driving at, or under the speed limit is also a good way to optimize fuel use. When you drive over your vehicle’s optimal fuel economy speed, you tend to use up more gas. Studies have shown that by cutting down on excessive speeding or acceleration you can cut down on fuel consumption by as much as 30 percent.
Similarly, keeping your tires properly inflated and minimizing cargo can help you save fuel. Try not to load your vehicle too excessively. If you must carry something heavy avoid putting it in a cargo box on the roof because a cargo-box reduces the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle and increases drag. Both factors can substantially reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
Another way to minimize gas consumption is to use cruise control as much as you an especially on long hauls. Cruise control helps maintain your car at a steady speed and reduces the need for constant acceleration and braking. Buying gas at the coolest time of the day is another way to save on fuel because it minimizes wastage due to evaporation.