It’s no secret. Gas prices are absolutely ridiculous around the world (unless you live in a nation where the fuel prices are subsidized). Diesel isn’t that far behind. And while hydrogen, fuel cell, ethanol and lithium ion battery powered vehicles are out there in the market, they haven’t caught on just yet. Not to mention the fact that they aren’t cheap to purchase either. They stand every chance of becoming mainstream in the near future, but not yet.
In the meanwhile there are a few things we can do on a daily basis with our existing modes of transportation to extend that precious tank of fuel. Most of us drop off our car at the dealer for a service and don’t think twice until it is time for the next service (but next time make sure to ensure your dealer checked your oxygen sensors and oil levels) . In order to see any gains in your mileage, you have to make a conscious effort. Some of the tips are just based on common sense, are very simple to follow and may have very minimal impact but there is an impact nonetheless. Every little bit helps right? Let us take a look at some pointers:
- Check your tire pressures: This is probably the most overlooked point of all. Having the improper tire pressure or mismatched tire pressures throws the vehicle off balance, affects the handling and can also affect braking. It all comes down to having the right amount of tire contact with the road surface. It is generally a good practice to check your tire pressures once every couple of weeks. If you drive around on really rough roads, once a week can’t hurt either.
- Avoid excessive braking: This doesn’t mean don’t brake at all. It is human tendency to brake for almost any occurrence on the road. But efficient braking i.e. letting off the gas pedal and allowing the vehicle to coast is a great way to increase your mileage.
- Avoid tailgating: This goes hand in hand with point 2. The more you tailgate, the more your chances of slamming on the brakes. This in turn means you will step on the gas pedal more frequently leading to lower gas mileage.
- Avoid over-revving your engine: This mostly applies to people that drive manual transmissions. There is a reason for the 5th and 6th gears in most cars. They are considered overdrive gears. This keeps the engine RPM down and in turn assists in extending your mileage. Yes we all love the sound of a high revving motor but unfortunately it just kills your fuel economy. Case in point, a car that gives you about 18mpg around the city, when flogged around a race track, the fuel consumption increases almost three fold and you would be lucky if you got above 7 or 8mpg (true story).
- Drafting: Yes this is the same concept as in Formula One or Indy cars or Nascar. Drafting the vehicle in front of you reduces the drag on your vehicle which in turn reduces the rate at which the fuel is consumed. This may not be feasible while driving around the city, but try this on the open highway by drafting a semi truck and you will see the results.
- Weight loss program: Jared isn’t the only one who got healthy by losing weight. Excess weight in your vehicle means your engine has to work harder to get you moving (and stay moving). Why do you think SUVs have horrendous gas mileage? Trimming the excess fat also provides some gains.
These tips, if followed on a day to day basis, are sure to bring about an increase in your gas mileage. And as you can see, they are very intuitive and easy to follow. If you have any other ideas that work, please be sure to share them! Happy motoring!