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List: Posted: 11/07/11
So you want to get a little more out of that $4 a gallon gas? Me too! That’s why I find it very important to cruise the roads with a few simple pointers in mind. It’s easy to give up a few miles per gallon due to crazy driving habits, but who said it can’t be even easier to gain at least a little?
Kick the 'Heavy Foot' Habit
Okay, let’s just say up front that driving with a heavy foot is going to cost you dearly at the gas station. That could be in terms of lower gas mileage, but there is also the greater risk of accident, injury, or a speeding ticket. If you’re truly looking to increase your gas mileage, that will involve leaving the house early enough to show up on time, amongst other factors, so that your trip will be cost-effective and car-friendly.
Coast Up to Traffic Lights
Now, here’s a real money-maker: let your foot off the gas pedal well before you must begin braking for a traffic light. Whether this sounds like it won't save you much gas, I assure you that the gas (and wear-and-tear on the brakes!) that you’ll save by putting this into practice will quickly add up. Part of the increase will come directly from letting off the gas sooner, and more will come from developing similar habits on the road. Regardless, most cars will coast quite some distance when in motion, taking a while before actually slowing down much on their own. Check it out in your own vehicle!
Avoid Stop Lights Where Possible
Another good idea: pick a route that will allow you a smooth ride, avoiding stop lights and heavy traffic. The idea is to minimize the amount of idling and stop-and-go travel on a trip. If you go the same way every time, surprise yourself by trying something new! Just because the freeway is direct and sometimes quick doesn’t mean that it’s always the way to go. Of course, it is good to avoid stop lights, as continual stop-and-go travel wreaks havoc on your mileage (and maybe your patience too). All in all, take into account alternative routes and the time of day, considering the lunch rush and evening rush hours, and avoid burning gas to no avail.
Check Your Tire Pressure
While we’re at it, let’s all take a moment to check the tire pressure on our car. Check with a tire gauge at home or take your car to the (free) air gauge at the auto repair shop for a quick check. This minimizes drag between the tires and the asphalt, allowing the engine to propel your car forward without being unnecessarily held back. It’s a simple fix, really, and you also help to make the road safer for everyone by preventing blowouts.
The overall idea is to keep your car in tip-top shape (at least on a feasible level) and to give yourself the freedom of the open road to the greatest possible extent. Doing so will cause your gas money to stretch even further by your new-found increases in gas mileage. Why not? It’s better all-around.
So especially when you see that red light a ways down the road, teach yourself to give that gas pedal a break. Even begin to think up new ways to save gas, like emptying your trunk of that dumbbell or box of books you hardly ever use. Your car will like a lighter load. Be smart, save, and maybe even have a little fun along the way!
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