5 Great Ways to Save Gas
Gas prices will rise and fall here in Sterling, VA and all over the country every summer without fail, but how can we get the most value of the gas we buy? Unfortunately, we can’t control the price of oil, but we can learn a few simple ways to save gas.
At Lindsay Volkswagen, we also hate to spend money on gas, so here are 5 simple directives to follow and hopefully keep you away from the gas pump just a little longer between fill-ups:
1) Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
This is not just a lot of hot air. The Department of Energy estimates 5 to 15% of the fuel burned by a vehicle while in operation goes toward overcoming friction between tires and the road. Keeping tires properly inflated can boost mileage by 3%. That means if you drive roughly 15,000 miles annually, you are saving enough gas to travel an additional 450 miles at no cost to you. You can find out how much to inflate your tires by referring to your owner’s manual. The PSI (pounds per square inch) is always written on the jamb of the driver’s side door.
2) Stay in Tune
Although car engines contain a multitude of moving parts, the way they work is quite simple: Gas and air mix together and fire in order to make the wheels turn. In many cases, the gradual wearing down of certain parts (such as spark plugs, plug wires and coil packs) can throw off the most favorable ratio of gas and air. In those instances, your car will run just okay, but will burn more fuel than it should. According to fueleconomy.gov, replacing worn parts can boost the average mileage of an out-of-tune car by as much as 4%.
3) Use the Correct Oil
Despite great advancements made by auto manufacturers to maximize engine performance, the California Consumer Energy Center reports that 62.4% of the energy produced by fuel is wasted due to engine inefficiencies. These often develop because of friction caused when moving parts rub together. In addition to using the proper grade of oil for your car you can save gas by using one that is labeled “energy conserving.” These types of oil are approved by the American Petroleum Institute and contain additives that reduce friction and improve efficiency.
Today’s vehicles have significantly lighter, more aerodynamic designs, but even they can suffer when they’re overloaded or used to carry too many items on the vehicle's roof. This creates drag that, according to fueleconomy.gov, can reduce mileage by 2 to 8% in the city and as much as 25% on the highway.
5) Stay off the Brakes!
Some drivers – even those driving in Sterling – ride the brakes way too much, and they probably don’t realize how much gas they’re wasting. Fueleconomy.gov reports that accelerating gradually, braking at a minimum and driving at the legal speed limit can boost mileage by up to 5% around town and 33% on the highway. Traveling at slower speeds on the highway can boost mileage by 7 to 14% and you’ll be safer to boot.
Sources: Fueleconomy.gov, California Consumer Energy Center and American Petroleum Institute