With the rising cost of fuel, you’ll be looking for ways to make your vehicle more efficient.
“People will often choose a gas station if the fuel prices are a few cents less there than at a similar station,” says Carl Pedersen, North Dakota State University Extension Service energy educator, “but they overlook the savings they could be having by doing a few simple things.”
All vehicles are different and will experience various levels of savings, but here’s some basics that work for all types of cars and trucks:
Remove extra weight. Those bags of traction sand you left in the bed of the truck or trunk are reducing your efficiency. Extra weight will affect smaller cars more than larger vehicles.
Maintain vehicles. While changing air filters on modern cars will have little effect on the amount of fuel used per kilometre, a car that is noticeably not running properly will consume more fuel than one that is tuned properly.
Check the air pressure on your tires. Vehicle efficiency will be reduced if your tires aren’t inflated to the proper air pressure. Properly inflated tires also last longer and are safer for you and your family. However, overinflating a tire results in uneven tire wear.
Slow down. Efficiency begins to drop off drastically at speeds in excess of 97 km/h.
Calm down. Aggressive driving, rapid acceleration and braking can affect fuel efficiency. You could see savings of up to 30 per cent with less forceful driving.
Car pool. Combining trips with friends, family and neighbours not only saves gas money but wear and tear on vehicles as well.
Be leery of “gas-saving” claims. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tested more than 100 fuel-saving products and found none that significantly reduces fuel consumption. In fact, a number of them actually caused damage to the engines in which they were used.
Eliminate extra wind resistance. Using a loaded roof rack or car-top carrier increases fuel consumption.