Summer Time Fuel Efficiency: How to Save Gas for More Summer Fun!by KC Martin Automotive on 06/20/17
The Summer is HERE! And it's a huge relief from our record-breaking, soaked Winter. Coming out of Winter, it's important to have your car seen (during your regular oil change is okay) to make sure that any wear and tear from the Winter months are acknowledged, if not tended to. For this message, we're going to assume that your car or truck is in good working order, and not needing any auto repairs or servicing to run optimally. Even then, there are still ways to be smart and save costs during the Summer months to come.
Being fuel efficient can be a concern for your wallet, or the amount of extra stops, or possibly just your care for the environment, and in some cases, folks care about all three issues somewhat. Here are FOUR solid tips and good habits you can get into, to make sure that you are using your fuel responsibly this Summer and in all the Summers to come!
1. Check Your Speed
The old saying is that you should keep your car at or below 55 miles per hour for best gas mileage. Why? Because at the higher speeds, your vehicle encounters considerably more friction and air resistance.
In actuality, cars reach their optimum fuel efficiency between 35 and 60 miles per hour. So, the number to focus on is 60 mph. The Department of Energy has stated that for every 5 mph you reach over 60, you are causing yourself the cost of an additional 24 cents per gallon of gas. This can add up, and if it's not necessary to go that fast (and it rarely is), you can slow down and save the money. Also consider that keeping it at 60 mph will always have the added benefit of safety for avoiding auto accidents.
2. Use Your Air Conditioning Wisely
Your car's air conditioning burns up fuel, but in the hot Summer temperatures, you're most likely to be glad to stay cool and forget the expense---we get it. Since it can add up to 25% worse gas efficiency, it's a good idea to get in the habit of limiting usage when and where you can. Turning down the AC can help, but also consider using it intermittently and switching to the "vent" option at times.
Some will advise to simply "roll down the windows" instead, but this may not be sound advice. At speeds of 50 mph or more (freeway/highway driving), the wind resistance, or drag, can actually cancel out any savings from not using your AC. The best way to go, is to keep your AC use and your target temperature moderated. Also, you can make a practice of parking in shaded areas, so that you don't have to work as hard to cool your car when it's time to drive.
3. Avoid Idling When You Can
Keeping your car idling any time of year, can use a quarter to a half-gallon of gas per hour. It's even worse if the AC is left on. In cases where you are waiting, just try turning off the engine and opening windows or even stepping outside the car for a second. Pre-cooling a vehicle isn't actually necessary and the Air Conditioning actually works faster and better when you're in motion.
4. Don't Overload Your Vehicle
You're going to want to remove any extra weight from your vehicle before going anywhere. In fact, you may want to get in the habit of popping the trunk and including your entire vehicle in your Spring Cleaning plans every year. Make sure to check your entire care for unnecessary items especially leading up to longer trips. It's estimated that each extra 100 pounds of load can reduce fuel economy by 1%.
Along with these tips, make sure you do all the things you should be doing year-round, like keeping tires properly inflated and keeping your car properly maintained. Use these tips and have a better and more cost-effective Summer and be a more responsible consumer of gasoline.
If you live in the Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mill Creek, or South Everett areas, KC Martin is here to help you any time! If you've got questions about your car, we've got answers. We'd love to see you, and thanks to all of you for reading our Auto Repair Tips Blog!