Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to pack away the flannel, slip on those flip flops and slather on that sunscreen. As that timeless song goes, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy – except for the price of gas. It seems like every time you install those summer tires, roll down the windows and crank up the tunes, the price of gas climbs.
And then there’s the environmental impact. We’ve all become more aware of how fuel can affect the world we live in. So, if you’re looking to save a few dollars and minimize your impact this summer, here are some fuel-saving tips (that don’t involve trading in your car for a hybrid model).
- Drive below or at the speed limit
We understand the impulse to get somewhere quicker, cruising down the open road on a cloudless summer day. Not only is driving above the speed limit unsafe and could lead to a ticket, but the amount of time you’ll potentially save can cost you in fuel. So, slowing down is not only the safer route, it’s the cheaper one too!
- Skip the sudden movements
In the same vein, keeping your speed constant (and in the highest gear for those driving standard), is the most efficient way to go. Sudden and quick acceleration to help you overtake the slower car in front of you might offer short-term gratification, but it will only last as long as your next fill-up at the tank.
- Get a checkup
Regular car maintenance should be a no-brainer to keep your car running smoothly. But if you’re not following a schedule, you may feel it in your pocket too. According to experts, a vehicle can burn up to 30 per cent more fuel if proper maintenance is not performed regularly. While you’re at it, check your air filter and engine. Your engine will burn gas more efficiency if you replace your air filter and spark plugs regularly too.
- Kick those tires
Make sure to check the tire pressure before you set out on a drive. Under-inflated tires burn more fuel and can prove problematic for safety reasons too.
- Make fewer trips
Each time you stop and restart that engine, the car uses more fuel the first few kilometres as it warms up. So, whenever you can combine your errands into one trip, the better.
- Limit idling
Idling uses up more gas than turning your engine off and then on again. Try not to let your car idle for more than a minute or two.
- Don’t slam on the brakes
It’s much more cost-efficient to ease your way to a stop sign or red light than to stop immediately (unless, of course, you have no choice). To be sure, the added benefit of cruising to a stop is your tires and brakes are treated better too – which means other savings in the long run on repairs and maintenance.
- Lighten the load
The more you carry around, the more gas you’ll be using since extra weight requires the engine to work harder, reducing gas mileage. Removing unnecessary items from your trunk or the back seat will pay off in more ways than one.
- Think twice before cranking up the AC
Here’s the thing about air conditioning: when driving at slower speeds, it burns more fuel, but at higher speeds, it’s less problematic. What does that mean for you? When possible, keep those windows rolled down when driving around town and save the AC for highway driving only.
- Keep cruisin’
Speaking of highway driving, putting your car in cruise control is another good way to help reduce your fuel consumption.
Driving your car will inevitably come with a cost. But, whether driving in the city or on the highway, there are things you can do to reduce you gas bill and protect the planet. Alternatively, there’s always your bike!