Top 5 Gas Saving Tips
Thursday, December 29, 2011
There’s nothing worse than heading to the gas pump to find gas has jumped another couple of cents since your last visit; and with gas prices well over the $1.00 mark everybody is looking at ways to save money on their next fill up. At Western Direct, we’re here to help. Below is our top 5 ways for you to save money and get the most out of each fill up, with these gas saving tips.
1. Keep tires properly inflated
Correctly inflated tires are not only a great way to save fuel, but they’re also safer. A tire that is under-inflated by just two psi (14 kPa) can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 2% and reduce the tires life by about 6,500 kilometres. You should regularly check your tire pressure, particularly after a sharp change in the temperature (warmer or colder). An under or over – inflated tire is more susceptible to failing and can cost you fuel efficiency.
2. Avoid aggressive driving and hard braking
There are studies upon studies that conclude driving without a lead foot results in the most significant gas savings of all.
Several studies found that rapid acceleration from stoplights and hard braking reduced travel time by just four percent in city driving, but resulted in a 37 percent jump in fuel consumption. Add to that the five-fold increase in toxic emissions, and you’ve got a couple of great reasons to drive more smoothly.
The best advice is to accelerate smoothly, maintain a steady speed and plan ahead so that you can also brake smoothly. Similarly, avoid over-revving your engine.
3. Use cruise control
Maintaining a constant speed on the highway is one of the most difficult things to do, and is also one of the most costly to your fuel efficiency, if you’re not using cruise control. Testers have found an average of seven percent savings for those that use cruise control. This adds up to big savings especially on long trips.
4. Reduce weight
For every extra 45 kg (100 lbs) you carry in your vehicle, your fuel efficiency can drop by 1-2%. So keep your trunk or back seat clear of unnecessary items that just add weight to your vehicle. If there’s something you don’t really need to take along – don’t take it. If you’re not using your roof rack, take it off. Transporting something heavy? Unload it as soon as possible. Remove winter extras like sandbags once spring arrives. This reduced weight will add long term savings to your fuel use.
5. Avoid excess idling
We’ve all heard how an idling warmup period is good for your vehicle, unfortunately this advice is just not true. Excessive idling, including warming up your vehicle, wastes gasoline, contaminates engine oil and damages engine components. Even in cold winter temperatures today’s vehicles need no more than 30 seconds of idling before driving away.
The best advice for a warm winter car, is a block heater. A block heater with a timer set to turn it on two hours before you need the vehicle will help your engine start more efficiently and help it to warm up quicker. But what’s more is a block heater can improve your fuel economy. In temperatures below zero Celsius block heaters improve fuel economy by about 10 percent.
What’s more, if every Canadian motorist reduced idling time by five minutes a day, emissions would be reduce by 1.6 million tonnes per year.
Sources: Edmunds.com, Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency.