Drive to Save Gas

Dec 09

Interested in saving some gas money?¬† Well, maybe it’s not quite so urgent now that gas prices have dropped (Christmas isn’t the only reason to cry¬†Alleluia!)¬† Nonetheless,¬†with a recession in full swing and green consciousness burgeoning among North Americans, cutting back on gas consumption is a frugal, if not noble, act.¬†¬†And, buying a hybrid¬†automobile is a luxury that most of us cannot afford¬†given the financial and practical constraints¬†of¬†the typical family.¬† I know my minivan is an oversized gas-guzzler, but¬†with¬†three¬†mini-hockey players, the only way we’ll be driving a Prius is if there are rooftop seats.¬†

Luckily, minivan drivers like myself can still do our part in cutting down on¬†our emissions with what is known as Hypermiling.¬† It was developed by Wayne Gerdes, and is all about following certain protocols to keep your gas bill low and your gas meter high.¬† Aside from keeping your car well-maintained (like keeping your tires properly inflated), the main thrust of this technique is in the pedal.¬† Go easy on the brakes, no screeching at the last minute when you reach a stop sign.¬† Allow your car to coast towards a yellow light rather than race in the hopes of crossing the pedestrian line before red flashes.¬† Then gently accelerate when it’s time to move again – no screeching tires.¬†¬†Don’t speed, rather stay within or below speed limits.¬†

Yes¬†- you risk becoming the most irritating driver on the road, and you may have to turn the other cheek when some young punk flips you the bird.¬† But remember!¬† You’re helping to save the planet (and a few bucks!)¬† According to writer and carblogger¬†Phil Raby¬†in the latest issue of¬†MoneySense Magazine, he was able to cut his fuel consumption by about 30% in city driving and 10% in highway driving (city driving typically guzzles more gas than highway driving) thus¬†creating an annual savings¬†of about $750.

Some additional points to consider to save on the gauge:

  • Drive slow and steady
  • Start to coast in anticipation of traffic lights so as to prevent heavy braking.¬† Then inch away slowly after stopping, rather than revving forward
  • Think about purchasing a that keeps provies instant readings of how much gas your car is using
  • As for synthetic oil at your next check up
  • Properly inflate tires
  • Keep away from drive-thru restaurants – park and walk in for your order
  • Refrain from blasting the A/C or heater.¬† The A/C can suck up to a quarter of your fuel
  • Drive with the windows closed since the drag it creates when they’re open burns more gas
  • Remove rooftop carriers when you don’t need to use them
  • Keep your trunk clear of any stuff you don’t need

(Source: Dec/Jan 2009 issue by Phil Raby)

And -¬†here’s the tough one – get your kids out the front door on time.¬† That way you won’t need to ram your car out the driveway,¬†speed to the stop sign, slam on the brakes and zoom to the school/doctor appointment/piano lesson…¬†without being late.¬†¬†Close to impossible, I know.¬†¬†But no one said saving the world was going to be easy…

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One comment

  1. Kevin /

    I think everyone should take the high cost of travel seriously now, and walk more, idle less, and respect the road. This is a perfect opportunity to relax a little bit in our cars. Take your time, don’t rush at the expense of every other driver on the road, and get there relaxed, safe, and gas efficiently.

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