8 or 9 Simple Ways to Improve Fuel Economy as we Reach Peak Prices

While experts are saying that gas prices are reaching their peak for the year, it's not likely for these prices to drop during the summer months. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that cars are getting better miles-per-gallon ratings every year.  Most of us can't buy a new and improved vehicle with better gas mileage every 12 months, but there are some things we can do reduce the amount of time we spend at the pump. 

 1. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Every car and tire set has a recommended PSI. Being off by one or two psi will not have much impact, but if your tires are significantly under-inflated, you will see a drop in MPG as well as compromised braking and steering and an increase wear to the tires. Hyper-vigilance is counter-productive, but it's good checking the tire pressure once a month, such as when you'd also check your oil level.
   2. Drive reasonably and defensively. Steady and gentle braking before a stop, giving yourself and other cars plenty of room to avoid sudden changes in speed and driving defensively will help your MPG and keep you and others safe on the road. Rapid acceleration and deceleration can drop your cars MPG by between 5% and 35%, depending on your speed.
   3. Minimize Drag. Avoid hauling cargo on attachments to the rear and roof of your car when able. If you have to use an attachment, attaching something to the rear will cost you much less fuel economy than something attached to the roof. Driving on highways with your windows down also increases the drag. Moderately use the AC at a comfortable level and keep your windows up when driving over 35 MPH. On the flip side, you're usually better off with the windows down and the Air Conditioning off to keep cool in stop-and-go traffic.
   4. Avoid excess idling. Unless you're leaving your car for a few seconds, turn it off; it only costs a few seconds of fuel to start your engine. Some articles even suggested turning off the engine at long stoplights. If you have pets or children, either plan your errands ahead of time so that they have someone to look after them or you can take them with you so you can avoid leaving them in the car.
   5. Cruise Control and Overdrive. Your car is happiest in a steady state. You'll reach an infinite amount of MPG (or zero) when the car is sitting still and the engine off. While in motion, the best fuel economy is reached when moving at a constant speed. Driving at a steady speed in the highest gear you can lowers the speed of the engine, increasing MPG  and lowering engine wear.
   6. Keep up with upkeep. Make sure your car is in top form. Keep up with oil changes and routine maintenance, (again) make sure your tire pressure stays close to the recommended psi, and use the right gasoline for your engine. Engines are designed to run on a specific type of fuel and will get the best MPG on that type of fuel.
   7. Reduce the amount of driving you do. Combine as many trips as you can into one, and plan your route as efficiently as possible. Car-pool whenever possible, like going to school or work. And, since it's summer, walk or ride your bike whenever possible. Weather permitting, walking or riding a bike has no fuel-related costs and is good for your health.
   8. Driving modes. Avoid pressing the sports mode button if your car has one, as it will adjust the engines response curve so that it kicks in sooner and harder as you depress the gas pedal. If you drive an SUV or truck with variable drive modes, keep them on 2-wheel drive whenever possible. Your vehicle will need to use less energy to power two wheels and decreases the wear on the 4-wheel and all-wheel drive systems.
   9. BONUS: Buy a Fuel-efficient vehicle. While this sounds pretty obvious, there are some cheap cars on the market that get excellent gas mileage. If you own an SUV or other large personal vehicle that you use for towing or hauling people or cargo, you probably want to keep it for those purposes. However, you can still invest in a fuel-efficient vehicle as a daily driving car, allowing you to save on your daily commutes and keep your larger vehicle or sports car safe in the garage for when you need them.
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