With gasoline prices climbing higher as we head into the summer driving season, drivers are looking for ways to save money at the pump. Both energy and auto experts agree on a key piece of simple advice for motorists looking to save money: Slow down.
Simple solutions such as watching your speed combined with regular car maintenance can help boost your fuel efficiency so you spend less on gas. Here are the most important things to keep in mind to help keep your gas budget in check.
Ease up on the gas pedal. Brake gently and try not to accelerate too quickly. Your driving behavior can heavily affect your car’s fuel consumption. Observing the speed limit and not exceeding 60 mph (where legally allowed) can improve mileage by as much as 23 percent.
Riding with your foot on the brake pedal will wear out brake pads, which can cost you at the maintenance shop. Braking carefully and accelerating evenly can improve fuel economy and save you from a trip to the maintenance shop.
Besides causing pollution, idling wastes gas. If stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine. Also, don’t bother to “warm up” your car before driving – it’s not really necessary.
Keeping tires properly inflated helps save at least 15 cents per gallon and can provide a total miles-per-gallon increase of 3.3 percent, according to Fueleconomy.gov. The proper tire pressure recommendation is usually found on the panel inside the vehicle’s driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual.
In addition to tire pressure, poor alignment not only causes tires to wear out more quickly, but also forces your engine to work harder. Keeping your tires properly aligned may help save you money at the pump, as well.
Overall car maintenance is also important for fuel efficiency. Nearly one in four cars needs an air filter replacement. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Using the recommended grade of motor oil and changing it every 3,000 to 5,000 miles could also save you 1 to 2 percent on gasoline. Regular oil changes and making sure your engine is running properly will save a lot of money in the long run.
Following these simple tips can help you reduce the amount of money you spend at the pump each time you fill up. So, remember to slow down and keep your car well-maintained to save gas and money.
Joe Campanella is the EVP of business development at CARCHEX. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Md.,CARCHEX is the premier provider of Extended Auto Warranties and Mobile Vehicle Inspections. CARCHEX is the preferred partner to the most trusted names in the automotive industry, including Pat Goss of TV’s MotorWeek, Carfax and Kelley Blue Book. You can read their automotive blog here.