For most Americans, getting better gas mileage is about putting more money in the bank during the recession. If their vehicles can be more fuel efficient simply based on the way these motorists drive, why wouldn't they try to slow down a little bit, brake a little softer or plan more intelligent routes? Some Americans also appreciate that they are supporting a cleaner environment and reducing their carbon footprint by consuming less fuel. At the same time, they are reducing the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Fuel saving is smart for so many reasons. At fueleconomy.gov, you'll find lots of practical tips on how to make increased gas mileage a reality, no matter what type of vehicle you're driving.
The first step in saving fuel is to drive sensibly. Drivers use the most fuel when accelerating or braking. The Environmental Protection Agency tests show you can conserve 5% of your gas on city streets and 33% on highways just by braking gradually (or coasting to stops), using cruise control whenever possible and accelerating gradually from stops. Observing the speed limit is not only safer, but also wiser. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph, so think of every five miles per hour you drive over 60 as spending an additional 24 cents per gallon for your gas. In the end, driving 60 or less will save you 7-23% in fuel economy.
The EPA also recommends avoiding excessive idling (since you get 0 MPG while stopped with the engine running), using cruise control whenever possible to help you maintain a constant speed and using overdrive gears to slow yourself down, save gas and reduce engine wear.
Keeping your car well-maintained is another method of fuel saving. Fixing an out-of-tune engine or a car that has failed an emissions test can improve its gasoline mileage by 4%, on average. Similarly, fixing a faulty oxygen sensor or other serious maintenance problems can improve your fuel economy by up to 40%! Another one of the most common hypermiler tips is to keep your tires properly inflated. You can improve your mileage by 3.3% with the proper tire inflation. In fact, under-inflated tires can boost your fuel consumption 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure on all four tires. Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil can improve your mileage by 1-2%. You can also look for special motor oil with "energy conserving" additives to reduce friction and improve efficiency.
Intelligent planning is a third method for fuel saving used by expert hypermilers. Looking at a map, you can probably determine several alternate routes to get to work each day. Look for ways that minimize the amount of stop signs, stop lights or left-hand turns you need to make. Consider routes that involve slower speed limits and more downhill coasting than uphill chugging. If you are running errands, try to plan to make more than one stop per trip. EPA studies show that you can save 50% of your fuel consumption by making all your stops in one fell swoop, once your engine has been adequately warmed up (compared to making all the same stops on different trips from a cold start).
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