Gas prices on the rise. Tips to Increase Your MPG, Save You Money
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – AAA says gas prices are close to $ 3 a gallon locally and even higher nationwide – up 12 cents a gallon from a month ago and 30 cents more than there was is one year old. And it comes right before the holiday weekend.
Right on time, Consumer Reports offers 10 ways to make sure you’re getting the most miles for your money.
1. Stay half: Keep at least half a tank of fuel at all times as long as there is a risk of a shortage. If gasoline is scarce in your area, having gasoline in the vehicle will give you options.
2. Check online: Apps and websites such as GasBuddy can display local gasoline prices, making it easy to find the right prices in your area or if you need to travel. In general, gas stations far from major highways and city centers tend to offer better prices, as do warehouse stores and some major travel centers.
3. Minimize travel: If you can delay shopping or other activities, you will conserve the gas you bought and reduce overall consumption for the area, helping to reduce the gas shortage.
4. Observe the speed limits: When driving, obey the speed limits and drive smoothly. Your driving habits can play an important role in fuel economy.
Higher speeds demand a toll in fuel consumption. A recent CR tested gas mileage while driving at a constant speed of 55, 65 and 75 mph in a Nissan Altima and a Toyota RAV4. We found that reducing the speed from 65 mph to 55 mph improved fuel economy by 6 mpg in the Altima and by 8 mpg in the RAV4. The 75 mph cruise penalty, rather than 65 mph, was nearly 7 mpg in the Altima and 6 mpg in the RAV4.
Another way to look at it: accelerating from 55 to 75 mph is like going from a compact car to a big SUV. Beyond fuel issues, speed is, of course, a safety risk.
5. Drive evenly: Avoid hard acceleration and braking as much as possible In our tests, frequent acceleration and braking reduced the mileage of an older Toyota Camry by 2 to 3 mpg. Once leveled, maintain a steady pace. The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. Unnecessary braking wastes the fuel you used to gain speed. Drive smoothly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Smooth acceleration, cornering and braking also extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes and tires.
6. Pay attention to aerodynamics: Remove the roof racks when not in use. At highway speeds, more than 50% of engine power is used to overcome aerodynamic drag. Add nothing to that by carrying unnecessary things on the roof. We performed highway speed fuel economy tests on a Nissan Altima and Toyota RAV4 with a roof rack, drawbar and roof box. Carrying two mountain bikes on the roof had the biggest impact. The Altima lost 13 mpg, going from 46 mpg to 33 mpg. The RAV4 lost 7 mpg, going from 39 mpg to 32 mpg.
There is even a loss when driving with an empty roof rack: the Altima has lost 5 mpg and the Toyota has lost 2 mpg. The Nissan lost 12 mpg with the bikes on the hitch-mounted rack, while the RAV4 was down only 5 mpg. The bikes protruded from the sides of the sedan, creating additional drag. They were mostly hidden behind the wider, boxier body of the RAV4.
The roof box resulted in a decrease of 9 mpg for the Altima and a decrease of 5 mpg for the RAV4.
Overall, the aerodynamic drag doesn’t hurt the squarer RAV4 as much as the sleeker Altima.
7. Don’t be picky about gas: We generally recommend using Top Tier gas, that is, a gas subject to more stringent standards through the voluntary participation of many brands of service stations, including BP, Exxon and Shell. But there are many well-known brands that don’t have Top Tier gas. That said, during a shortage, there is no reason to hesitate to use any brand of gas that is practical and competitively priced. Detergents in Top Tier gas can potentially clean engine deposits that can build up when gas is more readily available.
8. Spend the bonus: Save money and avoid premium gasoline unless it is “required”. This is indicated on the fuel filler flap. Many cars are “recommended” which means they are optional. If there is only mid or super grade fuel available, it will work well in a car designed for regular gasoline.
9. Check the tire pressure: Check your tire pressure. Tires lose about 1 psi per month. Having tires with lower pressure than recommended on your door pillar sticker can affect performance, tire life, and fuel economy.
10. Ignore the AC: The use of air conditioning consumes gas. In mild weather, if you can do without it, even if you open the windows, it will save you extra money. But once it gets hot, having air conditioning to cool the cabin and reduce humidity is a wise investment in your comfort and ability to stay alert while driving.
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