Gas prices continue to be near all time highs meaning that car travel is taking a a larger portion out of each of your paychecks. AAA estimates that the cost of driving a car including all direct and indirect costs has surpassed 50 cents a gallon with that price expected to rise.
Reducing the cost of driving your car can be done fairly easy simply by paying a bit more attention to your car.
Here are 10 easy ways to cut the amount of gas your car uses:
1. Purchase your gasoline when it's coolest outside such as in the early morning or at night. Gas becomes denser in cooler temperatures. Since gas pumps only measure the volume of fuel -- and not the density -- you'll get better overall gas mileage for your money by purchasing fuel when it's cool outside rather than in the heat of the day.
2. Religiously check your car's tire pressure each month (make sure to purchase a good-quality dial-type gauge for yourself -- pencil-style gauges and the ones mounted on the air hose are unreliable according to federal government surveys).
Under inflated tires reduce fuel efficiency by 2% for every pound they are under inflated. Under inflation also causes premature tire wear, giving your tires a shorter use life.
3. Slow down and drive at the speed limit. Cars use about 20% more fuel driving at 70 miles per hour than they do at 55 miles per hour.
4. Avoid using air conditioning whenever possible. Air conditioning reduces fuel economy by 10% to 20%. Use the air ventilation system instead.
5. Don't drive with open windows when traveling at high speeds. Open windows on the highway can reduce fuel efficiency by 10%. It's much better to use the ventilation system.
6. Remove car racks and other items which make your car less aerodynamic when they're not being used. Leaving them on only makes your car less fuel efficient and costs you money.
7. There is no need to let your car idle. Even on cold mornings, cars don't need to idle more than 30 seconds. Newer cars are designed to be driven almost immediately and letting your car idle longer is a waste of gas.
8. It's more efficient to turn off your car and turn it on again than to let it idle for more than 45 seconds while waiting.
9. Remove all the excess weight from your car. Many people use their car trunk as a storage space adding unneeded pounds to the car's weight. This unnecessary weight reduces the car's fuel efficiency by about 1% for every 100 lbs.
10. For most cars, higher octane gas is simply a waste of money. Regular unleaded (approx. 87 octane or so) is the least expensive and what you should purchase. It's important to remember that octane is a measurement of how hard it is to ignite the gas, not the quality of the gas. Purchase mid or high octane gas only if your engine pings, knocks or rattles when using regular unleaded fuel.
Jeffrey Strain. He is owner of www.paidtodriveautowrap.com -- a Web site dedicated to telling you the truth on why getting paid to drive a car isn't as easy as many make it out to be.© 2006 Jeffrey Strain
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