Save Money by Reducing Vehicle Fuel Consumption

One of the most significant costs of owning a vehicle is buying gasoline. While all-electric cars are making progress, most of us still rely on a gasoline-powered vehicle to get where we are going. There are a number of things that a person can do to reduce the amount of fuel that his or her vehicle uses. By taking steps to reduce fuel usage, a person can save a significant amount of money over time.

Tire Inflation

One of the simplest steps that a person can take to avoiding wasting fuel is to keep the tires inflated at the correct pressure. Tires that are not properly inflated roll with more difficulty, causing the engine to work harder and use more fuel. You cannot tell when a tire is low on air by simply looking at it, the tires should be checked with a gauge at least every month. Tires should be checked in the morning before driving the vehicle as the tire pressure will increase due to heat as the vehicle is driven.

Drive Conservatively

Aggressive driving, such as quickly accelerating and braking, will result in increased fuel consumption. When possible, a person should accelerate gently and allow a vehicle to coast as much as possible when slowing down as the vehicle approaches a red light or stop sign. In fact, a person should avoid stop and go driving whenever possible as a vehicle will use less fuel cruising at highway speeds than driving through congested traffic. In addition, driving a few miles an hour slower than normal will result in a significant improvement in fuel efficiency.

Excess Weight

Many people use their vehicles to store items that they do not regularly use. While keeping sports equipment, tools and other items in a vehicle may be convenient, constantly carrying these items around will result in wasted fuel. To save fuel, these items should be removed from the vehicle when they are no needed. Bulky items should be transported inside the passenger area of the vehicle when possible as placing them on a roof rack will make a car less aerodynamic, resulting in increased fuel consumption.

Proper Maintenance

Neglecting to properly maintain a vehicle can cause an increase in fuel usage. Over time, sludge can build up in an engine that does not have regular oil changes.  This causes the vehicle to use more fuel. Simple problems such as dragging brake pads, partially clogged air and fuel filters and engine vacuum leaks can also cause increased fuel consumption. An illuminated check engine light may also be indicating a problem such as a faulty oxygen sensor which can also negatively impact fuel efficiency. It doesn’t matter whether you drive an older car or brand new Toyota keeping up on your maintenance is very important.

Ideal Size

Different people have different vehicle needs. For example, a single person with a long commute may be content with a subcompact car, while a family will likely need a minivan or other larger size vehicle. Though many people buy vehicles based on appearance or status, buying based on aesthetics will often result in buying a larger vehicle than is needed and spending more than necessary on fuel. By choosing a vehicle that is the ideal size for his or her most common transportation needs, a person can maximize fuel efficiency and save money on the operation of the vehicle.

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