High fuel prices are an everyday concern now. We all would like to squeeze every mile we can get out of each gallon of fuel. The predominant question is how do we do it? Here are a few tips to help accomplish that.
First, the tires are very important, both inflation pressures and ensuring the alignment of the wheels is in good condition. Fill your tires to the maximum inflation as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. This information is located in your owner’s manual and usually on the driver’s door or door post. Check front tires for wear on the edges or uneven wear patterns. This increases rolling friction and causes increased fuel consumption. Performing an alignment on your vehicle to correct this drag will increase fuel efficiency and also save on tire wear so you are actually receiving a dual benefit.
Second, and where most people see a significant improvement, is to change or modify your driving habits. Look ahead and anticipate traffic lights and stop signs and coast up to them. Just understand, each time you apply the brake, you are wasting fuel that you used to get up to your traveling speed. Knowing this can make it easier to remember to change our driving habits as we approach stops and traffic signals. Also, when running errands, plan your route of travel for the shortest distance without back-tracking.
If your vehicle has cruise control, you should use it whenever possible at speeds over 45 mph. This is very effective at conserving fuel. Also, remove any unnecessary items from the interior and trunk areas. Every pound of weight requires fuel consumption to move it. While it might seem desirable to run with lower fuel levels, modern vehicles shouldn’t run below ¼ tank too often. The fuel acts as a coolant for the high performance fuel pump and also more dirt and debris is run through the pump at lower fuel levels due to the slosh factor. Running constant low fuel levels can end up costing you an expensive fuel pump replacement.
And finally, of course, the overall important care of your vehicle in general. Routine maintenance will ensure that everything stays in good working order and helps keep the engine performing at peak efficiency. Dirty air filters and worn spark plugs can rob an engine’s efficiency and increase fuel consumption. Timing belts need replaced at predetermined intervals to prevent sudden breakdown if the belt breaks and in the case of some engines, severe engine damage results from this breakage. All in all, routine oil changes and following manufacturer’s recommended maintenance intervals for all scheduled services will ultimately save you money on repairs, fuel costs, and help to keep your vehicle’s value as high as possible.