The summer months means kids are out of school, and families are making trips all across Alberta for weekend getaways, which ultimately means more driving and more gas usage. With the fluctuating gas prices, which are still nearing historical highs, it is a good idea to learn about different techniques you can use to improve your gas mileage and reduce the punch to your wallet at the pumps.
Driving More Efficiently
When trying to reduce gas mileage, there are marketed additives and other products that are more likely to be a scam than actually be helpful. In the end, the way you are driving, and vehicle maintenance, are what you are going to need in order to see changes in your gas mileage.
Driving Less Aggressively
Poor driving habits that come from driving aggressively are one of the main causes of reduced gas mileage. If you are wanting to save on gas mileage every day, including on your day trips across the province, then watch how you use your vehicle's pedals. Rapid acceleration, speeding, and fast braking all waste gas. Drive more sensibly, and with more restraint and you’ll see improvements.
Expanding on the previous point, your vehicle has efficiency peaks in terms of the speed you are going. If you are speeding far over the speed limit, you’ll be using up a higher proportion of gas to maintain that speed. For most vehicles, every 10 kph over 100 kph is going to increase gas usage by 3%-5%. Driving at the speed limit will improve your gas mileage.
Use Cruise Control
Using cruise control on long stretches of flat road has been shown to improve gas mileage by up to 20%.
Check Tire Pressure
Properly inflated tires have a direct effect on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Under pressurized tires are good for winter driving when there is a risk of ice, but during the summer, it just reduces your gas mileage by increasing friction with the roads. Tires can lose 2 psi of pressure per month, and every tire that is under pressure by 10 psi reduces gas mileage by 3.3%.
Every time you switch out your summer or winter tires you should be getting a full alignment. Without properly aligned tires, your vehicle will use up more gas as friction is being increased with constant readjustment of your steering wheel. You can tell if your vehicle is misaligned if the steering wheel vibrates. Poor alignment also wears your tires out unevenly. Always ensure you get a balance and tire rotation at least twice a year.
Fill Your Tank Early Morning or Evening
You pay for fuel by volume, and while gas stations try to keep temperatures even, hot summers mean that when you fill up your vehicle during the middle of the day, you might be getting less fuel due to expansion of the molecules in heat. Filling up when it's cooler out means more fuel for your buck.
In the end, smarter driving strategies and proper vehicle maintenance are your best bets at getting the best gas mileage out of your vehicle.