Aside from the weather, gas prices are often a popular topic of conversation. Probably because we like to complain ("Hot enough for you?", "Gas prices are killing me!").
Here in Indianapolis, we are certainly not immune to painful gas prices.
Here's the thing... we don't have much control over the price of gas, but we do have control over whether or not we're getting the most out of the gas we buy. Fight skyrocketing gas prices by taking control of your vehicle's unnecessary fuel consumption. You can add miles to every gallon you pump by following a few easy and inexpensive maintenance steps with your car.
Most motorists don't realize that it's the little things that don't take a lot of time or cost much that can really make a difference when it comes to saving money at the pump. Loose or missing gas caps, underinflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy.
Here are some gas saving maintenance and driving tips that really work:
1. Make sure your gas cap is in good shape. About 17% of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year. Poof!
2. Inflate your tires. Sometimes it's good to be full of hot air. When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon. If you don't know how to check your tire pressure stop by and we'll gladly show you how.
3. Replace your spark plugs. A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
4. Replace your air filters. An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture - too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%, saving about 15 cents per gallon.
5. Don't be an aggressive driver. It pains me to say it, but it's true. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% on city streets, which results in 7 to 49 cents per gallon. clearly, whoever discovered this money saving strategy did not drive the same kind of cars you and I do. No aggressive driving?! That's a joke right? It's a trade off, you make the call. I'll probably forfit the 7 to 49 cents per gallon in lieu of a little fast paced fun, but it's solid information should you want to conserve.
6. Avoid excessive idling. Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
7. Observe the speed limit. Again, painful for me. I have special shoes made to accomodate my right foot, which has morphed into a big block of lead. But, again, it's true. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. Use your cruise control when possible to help maintain your speed on the highway.
8. Combine errands into one trip. This saves gas and time. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance.
9. Get the junk out of your trunk. An extra 100 pounds can cut fuel efficiency by a percent or two.
Gas prices are skyrocketing but with a little bit of maintenance and some small adjustments to driving habits, you can fight back and drive with greater fuel efficiency.
(Statistics provided by Car Care Council)