Saving at the Pumps on Your Summer Adventures
With gas prices reaching shocking highs this summer, saving every penny possible matters when filling your tank and hitting the roads. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, the tips below will help you save gas on your next summer adventure.
Pack light. Your vehicle doesn’t have to work as hard, and as a result uses less gas, when not packed full of heavy unnecessary items. Well before throwing bags and coolers into the back of your vehicle, consider where you can cut weight down for your trip. When planning your trip, consider whether it makes sense to pack up your cooler with food and drinks for the duration of your trip at home or whether you’ll have access to grocery or beer/liquor stores closer to your destination. It might not seem like much but a cooler and a few cases of pop and beer add up quick and give enough extra weight for your vehicle to haul that it can affect your fuel mileage.
Only roof rack if you must. Vehicle design has almost become a competition between automotive manufacturers of who can be the most aerodynamic with the super sleek exteriors the latest models are sporting. Even if your vehicle came with a roof rack, or has the option to add one, once any luggage or cargo is added to the roof of your vehicle you can expect your fuel efficiency and aerodynamics to be affected. If you have to use your roof, consider an aerodynamic hard shell cargo carrier, as they are safer than having a bunch of gear tied down and at risk of flapping loose and flying off the roof into traffic behind you.
Drive smart. Don’t stomp on the gas pedal when the light changes to green, or slam the breaks when the yellow turns red. Fuel economy can be greatly impacted by gentle starts, anticipating stops, and maintaining a steady speed whenever possible. There’s also a sweet spot for optimal fuel economy, which is usually around the speed limit so do your best to stick to the posted speed limits to avoid extra costs at the pumps and as a result of speeding tickets.
Plan your own detour if needed. Summer travel usually consists of at least one hiccup due to construction work or highway accidents causing total chaos and traffic backlogs as far as the eye can see. Thanks to the help of technology you now have the power at your fingertips to spot traffic issues before you reach them and plan accordingly. Since using a phone while driving is against the law, this task is best left to your passenger seat navigator to help out with.
Tire pressure matters. You should check your tire pressure regularly already, but make an extra effort to check before heading out on a road trip. For every five PSI your tires are underinflated you can lose 2 per cent of your fuel economy. If you aren’t sure the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find a sticker with the information inside the driver’s door. While filling your tires, be sure to only inflate to the recommended pressure as going over and overinflating will negatively impact your vehicle’s handling.
Passing grades all around. Two more factors which can influence your fuel economy are whether you maintain your vehicle regularly and whether you use the manufacturer recommended fuel grade. A vehicle which is performing properly will be much more fuel efficient than a vehicle which is not a smooth running machine, which may see certain parts of the engine working harder to make up for underperforming parts and thus causing more gas to burn. The octane level of the fuel you use can also change how your vehicle runs as engines are designed with a specific type of fuel in mind and by not using that fuel you are risking your engine not performing optimally.
As August rolls in and with the start of the school year not too far away now, we hope everyone enjoys their final few weeks of summer vacation and stays safe on the roads!