How to Save Fuel: Green Driving Tips You Should Be Aware Of

Fuel pump gun 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from YouTube
Somewhere up high in the top 10 most anxiety-laden elements of owning a car is, without a doubt, the unpredictable fuel gauge needle and its relentless race towards the reserve indicator light. That's why we've put together a helpful guide certain to get the most miles out of your tank if you successfully apply our tips in real world driving situations.
Before we reveal the most important steps and niggles you can take to help maximize the fuel efficiency of your car, be it petrol or diesel powered, we inform you that spending big bucks on plug-in hybrids or other zero emissions electric vehicles doesn't necessarily buy you a super-frugal machine.

With gas prices constantly on the rise and fossil fuels following a continually diminishing course, these simple green driving tips will not only improve your ride's mpg figures, but also help Mother Earth as well. So how is it possible to squeeze more miles per gallon into every fill-up and get more than a tenth of that financial burden off your shoulders?

Service your car regularly

Of course, many motorists are tempted to skip regular service intervals in order to save a little bit of dough in the short term, but doing so will most certainly affect your car's health in the long run and your wallet too.

Automobile manufacturers don't offer servicing guidebooks and repair manuals just for the sake of doing it. In fact, a clogged air filter, used motor oil and an engine that hasn't seen maintenance in ages will affect the average car's fuel economy by 8 to 9 percent.

So don't be a cheapskate by skipping manufacturer recommended service intervals and cuting corners by using non-original service parts and no-name lubricants or filters. By keeping your car healthy, not only it'll be using optimal amounts of fuel and work properly for longer, but it'll ultimately save you a considerable amount of money.

Inflate tires accordingly and check pressure monthly

A wide range of scientifically proven facts reason why it's best to keep your rubber inflated as automobile manufacturers recommend for each and every model. Regardless of vehicle, size and tread pattern, every tire's load capacity, durability, traction and handling characteristics are dependent on using the proper pressure.

As it's the case with modern vehicles, most carmakers place a tire information placard label on the driver's side doorjamb for you to know how much psi your tires need inflating. Be aware that the right inflation pressure isn't the one branded to the tire's sidewall, but the aforementioned.

Underinflated tires greatly affect your vehicle's ability to steer and break. Extra resistance from the underinflated tires' larger footprint causes your car to use way more fuel, as well as premature wear of the rubber. If you want to save money at the pump, don't forget to check and inflate your tires accordingly.

Improve aerodynamics

From your city-dwelling supermini to your uber cool Fezzas and Maseratis, automobiles these days are all garnished with various aesthetic features that aren't there just to enhance the looks, but help cut through the air as smoothly as possible.

If you're the owner of a family-sized sedan, wagon or minivan, one way to improve the fuel economy of your ride is to remove aftermaket roof racks and roof cargo boxes unless you really need that extra hauling capacity. Over 30 mph (48 km/h), the two aforementioned elements provide loads of aerodynamic drag, ultimately translating into more frequent visits to the gas pump.

Stop hauling unnecessary things

Another extremely important factor for going farther on a tank of fuel is to get rid of all the bits and bobs lying around in your personal means of transport. For example, replace your full-size spare wheel with a compact space-saver tire, also known as a "donut" or "limited use" tire.

Try not to drive out of town with the windows open. At motorway speeds, an opened window equals an incredible amount of drag. Not only that, but the air turbulence inside the cabin will deafen and make you catch a very unpleasant cold as well. Just rotate the air-con dial 2 or 3 clicks - it's more comfortable and cheaper on the long run.

Also, you need to be aware of the hidden dangers connected to randomly tossing things around your car. An object as ordinary as a half-empty mineral water bottle could translate in a big crash if that recipient gets under the brake pedal by accident.

…and the big one - Improve your driving style

Yup, the way you operate your vehicle's controls is the dominating factor that can either hike or lower your fuel consumption. Specifically, by a margin of more than 35 percent compared to the typical driver's average mpg figure.

First thing's first - drive smoothly. Never poke the accelerator and brake pedals without considering a little bit of gentleness and carefully modulated pedal work. Sudden bursts of gung-ho acceleration and whoops-a-daisy braking have a huge effect on your car's fuel economy, especially if you spend most of your time in city traffic.

Speaking of which, try to read the road ahead for obstacles such as speed bumps so you don't have to jump on the brakes. Also, consider bringing the car to a stop gently. It's common sense to never mash your foot on the throttle then brake hard a few meters before the red light.

However, if you mostly travel outside the urban jungle, there's a very neat way to save fuel. Let's presume the motorway you're driving on has a 75 mph speed limit. Our advice is to not go that fast. Keep it steady at 65 mph and drive on the first lane. That small difference in speed quantifies in big savings at the pump over a month's worth of daily driving on the motorway.

You should also get used to shifting gears lower in the rev range. If your vehicle runs on diesel, try swapping cogs at around 2,300 rpm. We're sure you know that diesel-powered cars offer maximum torque low in the rev range, so don't overdo it because it's unnecessary, noisy and costly.

If you drive a petrol-powered automobile, do the same thing but not at 2,300 rpm. Try changing gears at a maximum 3,000 rpm or lower, without causing excessive laboring of the engine, clutch and transmission. Give yourself a couple of minutes and an empty street to find that perfect shifting balance.

The final advice we can offer you for lowering your car's appetite for fuel is to coast out of gear as little as possible. As opposed to rudimentary cars of yesteryear, modern day vehicles are equipped with highly technologized engines featuring electronic management systems like the ECU unit.

Even though the car is still in gear as you approach a red light, the electronic brain of the engine cuts the fuel supply when you take the foot off the loud pedal. Another benefit of staying in gear before coming to a halt is that you have the ability to accelerate should you need to avoid an obstacle.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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