The popular option to consider is getting new transportation entirely. Both diesel cars and hybrids can get over 50 miles per gallon, which can add up to major money savings. I wouldn't recommend buying them unless you are already planning on buying a replacement automobile, as the cost will take a while to be offset by gas savings. Likewise, purchasing a motor scooter for short trips can save a lot of money if you make enough use of them. These scooters can get over 100 miles to the gallon, and are a blast to drive, so crunch some numbers using this calculator this calculator
The best options of course are to make better use of public transportation, walking and biking, but for many of us, these options don't fit well into our lives. With this in mind, I've assembled a list of tips and tricks will help keep as much green in your wallet as possible while still staying mobile.
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Step 1: Steps 1 & 2 - Easing up on the Gas
There have been a lot of articles online about how to cut down on your gas consumption, but
hopefully this should have some new tricks, and a good list of old ones.
There are two genera of ways you can stretch the mileage of your vehicle. You can modify your car, or you can modify your driving habits. Obviously, modifying your driving habits requires less time, work and no money on your part, so I suggest you start there.
Smart Driving Habits
1: Slowdown Leadfoot!
This is the most off quoted of ways to save gas, but it deserves to be, as it's epically important. On highways, cars have a sweet spot for gas mileage. It's usually somewhere between 55 and 70. Experiment a little and see where yours is. If you don't know, and you have a newer car, 65 is a safe bet.
The common statistic is that every 5mph past 65 you go, you lose 3mpg.
2: Accelerate Smart
Accelerating faster than you need to really kills gas mileage. You've got a speed limit anyway, so why race to get to that limit as fast as possible? Overall, it's how close (or how far above) that speed limit that's really going to make a difference in how fast you get somewhere, so speeding up faster makes a minimal difference anyway.
My trick for accelerating in a smart manner is as follows:
(I don't think you'll find this method anywhere else, so listen up)
- Get out on the highway, and once you're up to your cruising speed (60mph or so) look at your tachometer (that's your RPM gauge, as pictured. You may not have one, and investing 20 bucks or so in one might not be a bad idea). Look at your engines speed. This is all the power your engine needs to run at full speed, it's where your engine gets its best gas mileage, so you shouldn't need to rev you engine any higher than this in day to day traffic.
For one of the vehicles I drive, this RPM is 2100. I do my best to keep RPMs under this level. I
do this by not pushing as hard on the gas pedal, but also by momentarily letting up on the pedal as it approaches that speed. That lets the automatic transmission shift into a higher gear. If you have a manual car, simply shift when you get to this engine speed. For me, 50% throttle at 1200 rpm's uses less gas than 10% throttle at 2500 rpm's, experiment with yours.
Based on fuel maps from several common cars, this seems to often be the case. Also, short shifting is a way of limiting yourself from accelerating aggressively. If you keep yourself in a low gear until you need extra power, you will be more mindful of the extra fuel you're using to accelerate. Likewise, being in a higher gear reduces the "step on the gas and take off" result in pushing the gas, which tempts many a driver. Overall. it keeps you out of higher RPMs, which tend to use more gas compared to lower rpms, regardless of your throttle position.
Short shifting (shifting earlier than you otherwise would) is often helpful. If an engine is turning twice as fast, its pumping more or less twice as much air. In turn, your engine will be injecting more or less twice as much gas. Higher rpms are there to provide you with more power, if you need it. If you dont need the extra power, keep them as low as you can. (this is not applied in cases of downshifting manual engines, in which case fuel is often shut off entirely). Mind you, do not short shift to the point that your car feels bogged down and underpowered, as this is both inefficient and in the long run harmful to your car.
Just making this change to your driving habits can make a huge difference. I was a conservative driver to start with, and this still helped substantially.