7 secret ways to save gas / fuel when driving a car

Perhaps you already know the most known tips about how to save gas, like to close the air conditioner or not to have a fully loaded trunk or to turn off the car when you are stopping. But in this post I will give you some uncommon tips and explain why you can save gas with them. Note that the following tips are not going to work to all types of cars. So test them and see which work for you.

Keep your car clean, to keep it running like a dream

Well in one Mythbusters show Adam and Jamie test a myth which said that a dirty car goes more miles than a clean one with the same ammount of fuel. Well the experiment the took shown the exact opposite. The clean car drove for more miles than the dirty one. So there you are, clean from the outside your car to save gas, if you wax it too, then you will get better results because the waxed surface is very glossy and the air glides on it.

Do the planned service checks

When you do a car check the most common things you change or replace are oil, filters, fluids. The engine oil has to be changed frequently (as the manufacturer recommends) because with new fresh oil the engine will run with less friction which means less fuel is needed to run. Filters are also important espessialy the air filter. The air filter filters the air and sends it free from dust and other particles. If this air filter is full of dust then it can’t deliver the quantity of air needed from the engine which means again more fuel consumtion.

Tires, tires, tires

Tires are also an important factor that can increase the fuel consumtion. The tires have to be inflated properly as the manufacturer implies. When they aren’t then deflated tires have more friction with the road. Also take care of winter and summer tires. Each one is made for the equivalent period of time. The winter tires for example have also more friction (so they cannot slip on snow) and thus more consumption when you use them in summer.

Not to mention that when you don’t follow the instructions of the tire and car manufacturer it’s very dangerous for your safety.

Optimise your driving behaviour

7 secret ways to save gas / fuel when driving a car

You can save a lot when you make little changes in how you drive every day. Here ‘s what I mean. When you see traffic lights or a crossroad at whatever distance you see them don’t accelerate, instead leave the gas pedal slowly and let the car to decelerate by itself. This saves you not only gas, but also the the breaks because when you finaly reach the traffic lighs or the crossroad then you don’t need to press the breaks so much or perhaps not at all.

When you accelerate try to make it as slow as you can as the quick acceleration consumes more gas. Of course you can’t accelerate slowly when you try to pass by another car, or you just start from traffic lights. But you can accelerate slowly when you drive from a parking place, or from your garage. Do not accelerate so much if you know that in a few meters of feet away you going to stop.

If you ‘re driving a car with manual transmission, you can try to use
the N (neutral) gear when you need to decelearate slowly or when you are
driving downhill. Note that driving with the neutral gear isn’t safe so
you have to drive more careful and in some cars the neutral gear
consumes actually more gas then other gears.

Optimal RPM (revolutions per minute)

7 secret ways to save gas / fuel when driving a car

If your car does’n have a tachocounter then install one. It’s very important because with it you can see how much you are stressing the engine. The more RPM (revolutions per minute) the more you are stressing the engine. Of course I will agree to the aspect that the real horse power of the car can be achieved only when you are driving at high RPM but more horse power more consumtion. The ideal RPM for most cars is around 3.000 and 3.500 RPM. At this RPM the car has the best fuel consumption. Someone will ask what if we drive with less then 3.000 RPM. Well this is bad for the engine too. Because you don’t give enough gas to the engine, or have low speed but the 5th gear the engine is stressed more.

Drive pro-actively

By saying pro-actively I mean that you should drive by predicting the actions of the other drivers and the traffic lights. Let me explain how and why you do it. You are driving on a road, another car is driving in front of you. You leave enough distance from the other car, so when it stops or slows down you can slow down with a smaller pace. That gives you the advantage that

  • if the car in front of you accelerates again, you won’t have lost all the energy and you don’t have to accelerate so much
  • if the car in front of you decelerates and finaly stops, you will decelerate slower which means again lower consumption and less break usage
  • if the car in front of you takes a turn again you maintain your speed because you got plenty of room
  • if you see a traffic light in front of other cars that turns yellow then you have time and space to decelerate slowly
  • you are more safe when you have more distance because you have more time to react on any situation

Try to keep your car moving. When you slow down and then accelerate again you consume more gas. So try to keep the car moving even when you see red traffic lights, slow down very much but don’t stop. If you have enough distance then perhaps the light turns green again and you can accelerate with lower consumption.

Don’t turn off your car when you stop temporarily

It is proven that for stops which are less then 30 seconds you should not turn off your car because when you turn on again you consume more gas. For stops more 30 seconds you should turn off the car, because the gas you will save by not turning on the car is less than having it running all the time.

Try it!

Just give the above a shot. These advices come from my personal experience driving a Fiat Punto HLX 2001 model. My average consumtion is between 5 to 5.5 liters per 100 km even when driving into the city. Notice that my car is old but still the gas consumtion is low.

So put your seatbelt, don’t drink, and drive safely. Wish you nice and economic routes. Oh and don’t forget, please report your findings here, to share the knowledge.

Image courtesy of Maschinenraum
Image courtesy of Joeri Borst
Image courtesy of amy_kearns

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