The last few years, the economy has been tough. We’ve felt the pinch in all aspects of our daily lives, and we’ve had to stretch every dollar as far as it will go. There are lots of things we can do to save money; for most of us, not driving is not one of them – however that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for us drivers to save at the pump.
Fuel efficiency 101: Before you leave your driveway
Fuel efficiency actually starts in your driveway. Sure, driving habits are important but there are many things you can do to improve the efficiency of your vehicle before it even hits the road.
> Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule
The first, and probably least surprising thing you can do, is follow the maintenance schedule outlined in your owner’s manual. I know, a no-brainer right? The truth is, a lot of people don’t maintain regular care on their vehicles. By following your vehicle’s maintenance schedule you’ll ensure your vehicle continues to operate reliably and, if and when the day comes you need to sell your vehicle, having invested all that time in the upkeep of the vehicle will surely increase the resale value.
> Simple things you can do:
- Change your oil
- Change your air filter
- Replace your spark plugs
Tires play a huge role in the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. First, consider installing fuel-efficient tires (low rolling resistance tires). These tires use innovative tread design and materials to minimize the amount energy (via combustion engine) required to move your vehicle forward. While they cost more than conventional tires, the investment will pay off in the form of fuel savings of about 6% – meaning you’ll recover the extra money spent on these tires within the year.
If you don’t have the budget to get a brand new set of tires, make sure the ones you do have are inflated properly; this means checking them regularly. Under-inflated tires can decrease you gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 psi drop in pressure in all four tires. Check your owner’s manual for the optimum tire pressure for your particular vehicle.
> Take a load off. Literally.
Superchips take it to the next level. Performance chips increase the power and torque produced by your engine, while still taking fuel economy into consideration. By making adjustments to your engine’s timing and air/fuel mixture, performance chips can help ensure your vehicle is running at peak efficiency.
> Additional fuel saving performance parts
There are other accessories you can add to increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency; namely performance exhaust and air intake systems. To find out more about these products, click on the links below.
- Top 5 Reasons to get a new air intake system
- Why you need a new performance exhaust system for your truck
Fuel efficiency 102: Behind the wheel
Driving habits play a HUGE role in fuel efficiency. In a perfect world, we’d all be perfect drivers. Fact is, we aren’t perfect; but there are techniques to help us get on the right track.
> Even acceleration, even deceleration
Who among us hasn’t been guilty of driving with a lead foot? Driving smoothly is the single most important change we can make when it comes to improving the fuel efficiency of our vehicles. As tempting as it is to gun it as soon as the light turns green, all we’re really doing is depleting our gas tank that much quicker.
> If you have to idle, keep it brief
Idling should be avoided if at all possible; it’s bad for the environment and hey – your vehicle isn’t going anywhere. Idling for more than a minute uses more fuel than is used if you shut off your engine and restart it. Keep that in mind the next time you’re running into the store or waiting in a ridiculously long drive-thru line Tim Horton’s during Roll Up The Rim season.
> Air conditioner usage
If you value fuel savings over staying cool, limit your A/C usage to only the hottest, most unbearable days. If driving at low speeds through the city, it is much more economical to drive with the windows down than it is to have the air conditioning cranked.
If possible, park in the shade. That will keep your car cooler in the summer and make it less likely you’ll melt upon entering the vehicle, and less likely you’ll use the A/C right away. Parking in the shade also helps to minimize fuel evaporation. While come July and August that elusive shady parking spot may be hard to find, it just may be worth the hunt if it means more cash in your pocket.
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