How to Increase Your Fuel Efficiency
Without Buying a New Car

There's no doubt about it: the easiest way to save money on gas is to purchase a car that gets better gas mileage. But for the majority of people who aren't in the market for a new automobile, there are more practical ways to cut costs on gasoline and to get a few more miles out of each tank of gas. In addition, it is important to recognize that increasing fuel efficiency is not only easier on your wallet but it's easier on the world, as it reduces our dependency on this scarce natural resource and on the oil companies who are profiting from our regular spending.

One of the easiest ways to increase fuel economy is to reduce your driving speed. More precisely, following the speed limit is not only a great way to prevent accidents- it's also a fabulous way to save money on gas. Studies show that drivers who drive at speeds above 55 mph lose approximately 1 mile per gallon for every mph they accelerate over 55 mph. This is because the increased speed of the car creates additional drag on the vehicle, and more gasoline is required to fuel this 'heavier' vehicle. Another way to reduce drag is to reduce the vehicle's load. Keep the car's trunk as empty as possible and avoid using a roof rack unless absolutely necessary.

Studies show that drivers who drive at speeds above 55 mph lose approximately 1 mile per gallon for every mph they accelerate over 55 mph.

Driving at a steady pace is another concrete way to increase fuel efficiency. It's no secret that most cars get more mpg on the highway than they do on city streets. This is because highway driving offers more opportunities to maintain a steady pace, whereas frequent acceleration and braking requires much more gas. Even while driving on city streets, drivers should take care to predict traffic patterns. If they suspect that they may reach a red light, for example, they should slow gradually instead of slamming on the brakes. When stopped, drivers should accelerate steadily so as not to flood the engine with gas unnecessarily.

Interestingly, driving with a cold engine decreases fuel efficiency, while warming up the engine for too long is a waste of gasoline. A practical compromise is to warm up the engine for no more than 45 seconds before driving so that it maximizes fuel efficiency without squandering gas.

Many drivers believe that turning on their car uses more gasoline than letting the engine idle. For this reason, many drivers let their cars idle while they are filling up their tanks or waiting for others. In reality, however, letting a car idle wastes significantly more gas than the fuel required to turn on the vehicle. For this reason, drivers should take care not to let their cars idle if they know that it will be idling for longer than 1 minute.

Even if drivers are vigilant in following all of these rules to increase fuel efficiency, they will still spend thousands of dollars a year on gas. The most efficient way to save money on gas is to leave your car at home. Try carpooling, public transportation or walking to save money on gas- you may be surprised at how much more you enjoy the commute.

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