People can get incredibly attached to their cars, sometimes even naming them endearingly. While that might seem odd, treating your car like a person can actually save you money at the gas pump. Like people, cars operate best — and therefore use less fuel — when healthy and not overtaxed. Think about making a few simple changes to get the most out of Charlie, Bertha, or even your standard, nameless old Chevy.
Tip 1: Cruise Through Life
The harder your car works, the more gas it uses. It works hardest when you accelerate or brake quickly. Slow down gradually when you know a light’s coming. Don’t try to go from 0 to 60 in a few seconds. Gradual acceleration and braking don’t overtax the engine, which means you’ll use less fuel. One good idea is to use cruise control on flat roads.
Tip 2: Keep On the Straight and Narrow
Typically, changing lanes requires sudden acceleration, and it won’t necessarily get you to your destination more quickly. By sticking to a moderate speed in a single lane, you’ll reduce wear and tear on your engine and save gas.
Tip 3: Don’t Just Sit There
Idling wastes gas if done for longer than a couple minutes. If you’re stuck waiting for a train to pass, turn the car off. Restarting a warm engine doesn’t take as much gas as restarting a cold one.
Tip 4: Slow Down
Feel like paying almost a quarter more per gallon? According to fueleconomy.gov, a joint project of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you’re spending the equivalent of that in wasted gas for every five miles per hour you increase your speed over 60 mph.
Tip 5: Lose Weight
The more your car carries, the more fuel it will need to do it. Empty your trunk of useless pounds, such as the gym bag and hand weights you forgot you owned. This also leaves room to fill the car with what you do need. If you’re carrying luggage, stow it in the trunk rather than on a roof rack, which increases drag on the car.
Tip 6: Get in Shape
A well-tuned car can save you up to 11 cents a gallon. Take your car’s oxygen sensor as an example. Since this piece of equipment tells your computer how much gas to send to the engine, you’ll waste fuel if it’s not in top condition.
Tip 7: Give it Air
Underinflated tires increase resistance on the road, which means your car has to work harder to move forward. Keep your air pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended level to bump up your miles per gallon.
Tip 8: Keep it in Overdrive
For most routine driving, keep the car in overdrive, which lowers the engine’s revolutions per minute. This makes it work less and helps to save gas.
Tip 9: Feed it Well
Use motor oil that’s the right grade for your car so your engine can run smoothly, and choose the energy-efficient oils which reduce friction in the engine.