All cars are not made equally, let’s face it some are fast, others are slow, some are big, others are small, most importantly some are fuel-efficient whereas others are not. In this article, we are going to go over a few driving techniques to save gas.
Cruise control is a smooth driver aid and fuel-saving tool. This is due to the computer and the engine working together to keep the car at a consistent speed. When the vehicle stays at a steady pace, the on-board computer controls the engine and transmission to keep the car in the right gear. In return, this allows the motor to keep RPMs low and more efficiently manage the throttle if your vehicle has an Eco Mode.
Speeding up to slow down
This is an action that many people don’t think about. This happens when someone in front of you is driving slowly, and you decided to speed-up to pass them. However, once you get in front of them, you end up getting stuck at the same light, and they’re either behind you or right next to you laughing.
This is one of the driving techniques that adversely affects your fuel economy as you’re required to speed-up, putting a more significant workload on the fuel system and engine. Slamming on the breaks for the light or stop sight then negates all the work, and you can’t coast to gain any of it back.
Coasting is an excellent tactic if you have the ability. Coasting coupled with cruise control is even better. If you know the route you’re taking, or you don’t have anyone behind you, this is an excellent tactic to try. This works whether using cruise control or not, but you see the stop sign or light coming up.
Instead of staying in cruise control the whole time then breaking, cancel cruise control or get off the gas. From there, just let the car naturally slow down. If you have a manual transmission, you can do this by putting it in neutral.
Automatic transmissions are not designed to withstand constant shifting from neutral to drive while in motion. This force can cause premature transmission failure by wearing down the components inside.
Stoplights are not pro drag strip lights. Try accelerating smoothly to achieve the speed limit. If you can keep the RPMs under or at 2,000-2,500RPMs, than you’re in the green area. Depending on your car and its gearing, the car will shift when it senses it will lose efficiency.
However, if you like to reach the speed limit in a hurry, the computer will recognize that through your throttle input and keep the transmission in a lower gear to keep itself in the power band. Clearly having the opposite effect of saving fuel economy.
The last driving technique to save gas is drafting. Drafting is achieved by the vehicle in front cutting the wind for the trailing car. The trail car is now in the slipstream and can enjoy the benefits. While in the slipstream, you’ll see your MPGs increase and you will be able to follow the lead vehicle at a lower speed. All motorsports use drafting. Cyclists and runners also use drafting to save energy.
Small cars can draft off SUVs and pickup trucks. Pickup trucks can draft off of larger trucks and 18-wheelers. The closer the better for fuel saving. However, if you are too close, you increase your chances of not being able to react to changes in their driving. You will still see an increase in fuel economy if you stay off half a car length to one car length.
18-wheelers are by far the best to draft behind. They are longer and taller, so any vehicle can see a more significant increase in their fuel economy if they are willing to deal with the potentially slower speeds.
More Driving Techniques
There are other methods we did not go over in this article, and you can try all the techniques together, or you can pick which ones that fit your driving style the best. We know it’s hard to try and incorporate all these changes to driving, which has so many outside factors.
Aside from how you drive the car, it’s also important to prepare it as well to save more fuel. For example, driving with your windows up will reduce drag. Changing your air filter regularly will allow your fuel to burn more efficiently. Performing regular and proper car tire maintenance will also increase your fuel economy.
We encourage you to challenge yourself to try all of these driving techniques or come up with a new approach. If you’re up for either challenge, let us know what you did and how it affected your fuel economy.
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