Shame on us. This nation of coupon clippers is ignoring an easy way to save a third on a major budget item, which is gasoline. Experts say the way we drive has an enormous impact on gas mileage and can easily turn a somewhat average 22 mpg into a respectable 30. Here are some of their recommendations for saving gas:
Take your time on the highway as well as city streets. Following the 80-mph crowd on the interstate may be tempting. Note, however, that the U.S. Department of Energy <www.fueleconomy.org> says to expect a rapid decrease in mileage at speeds over 60 mph. Use cruise control on the open road to cut down on speed changes and to keep your speedometer from creeping upward.
Around town, driving with a light foot will pay big dividends. One expert suggests driving as if you had a hard-boiled egg under your right foot. Another recommends that you not press your gas pedal down more than an inch unless you have to. Accelerate slowly from green lights. And remember that racing to a red light and letting your car idle while you wait for the light to turn makes no sense. Try a slow and easy approach instead.
Avoid hills if you can. If you can't avoid them, don't try to climb one at record speed or your mileage will take a plunge. Maintaining your speed on hills (even dropping down in speed) is perfectly acceptable.
See a stop sign ahead? Coast as far as you can, and then brake gently. Traveling down a hill? Again, try coasting. The reasoning is simple. Accelerating uses gas and not accelerating saves gas.
Staying in one place is murderous for your mpg. For that reason, avoid rush-hour traffic whenever possible. And if you're waiting for more than two minutes for the kids to get out of school, shut off the engine.
The no-idling rule extends to cold-weather warm-ups. You only need to warm up your car when it's below freezing. Even then, 30 seconds (or a minute if the weather's really cold) will do the trick.
It All Adds Up
Experts offer other suggestions that, little by little, can help on saving gas.
Try these tips, and you'll be groaning less about the high cost of fuel and saving gas. No coupon required.
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