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Way back in 1980 I whipped up a list of gas saving tips among various other little pamphlet items. Being both chronically money-short and the one-time owner-builder of a supercar I was well qualified for the task. Now here it is the 21st century and gas prices are stinging us once again. So I figured why not post my old tips online? Here they are, only slightly revised from before.
Keep a couple things in mind as you peruse the tips: one, automobile technologies have changed some since I first created this list, so certain adjustments may be in order according to your own knowledge and expertise with regards to your vehicle. Two, these tips all work best if used together. I.e., slightly over-inflating your tires for less rolling resistance should prove fine so long as you're also driving more sedately than before. But less rolling resistance also means slightly less effective panic braking and high speed cornering. So drive like your grandma when you're using ultra low rolling resistance.
#2: Combine as many different car trips into one as you can.
#3: Own more than one car? Drive the most economical every chance you get.
#4: Don't haul unnecessary weight in your car (including in your trunk). Every extra ounce hurts mileage.
#5: Add 3-5 pounds OVER the manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure to your tires, for less rolling resistance.
#6: Avoid excessive idling. Most engines warm up faster under load anyway.
#7: Avoid hard acceleration. It accounts for the greatest flood of gas ever available to an engine.
#8: Avoid panic stops. It's rough on mileage and brakes both.
#9: Obey the speed limits. Most cars' most efficient running speeds fall well within these speed ranges. And avoiding just a single speeding ticket could be worth untold tanks of gas to you money-wise.
#10: Pay attention to your driving habits. I.e., DON'T ride the brakes as you drive, and avoid exerting even the slightest pressure on the throttle at traffic stops, etc.
#11: Always shift into high gear as soon as possible with a manual transmission.
#12: Don't tailgate. It necessitates constant braking and acceleration moves.
#13: Avoid using your brakes as much as possible. By taking everything slow and easy in your driving, you can usually get by with much less actual brake use than you might expect.
#14: If your car is easy to start you can shut if off momentarily at any traffic stop which typically lasts more than a minute to come out ahead gas-wise. There was a pair of redlights in Round Rock Texas located one right after the other that I swear seemed to stay red for fifteen minutes each...my friend Steve the world traveler himself said they may be the longest red light stops in the world.
#15: Use your emergency brake instead of your clutch to hold your manual transmission car at a standstill on hills.
#16: Avoid using your air conditioner (it cuts mileage up to 10%).
#17: Use your cruise control wherever practical.
#18: Keep your windows closed at highway speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag.
#19: Never 'rev up' your engine before shutting it off. It accomplishes nothing anyway.
#20: Avoid driving on dry pavement with front axles engaged on four wheel drive vehicles. It causes needless, wasteful friction.
#21: Keep your gas tank OVER half full to prevent excessive evaporation and condensation. This can also help prevent fuel line freeze ups in winter, and the extra gas reserve comes in really handy in emergencies or sudden fuel shortages.
#22: Buy the lowest octane gas your car will run on without problems.
#23: Pump your own gas. Self-service prices are generally cheaper than full-service ones.
#24: Shop around for the best prices-per-gallon as you would groceries.
#25: Avoid 'topping off' your tank. Chances are that even if you manage to prevent some gas running onto the ground you'll still lose some due to expansion once it warms up in the tank.
#26: Park your car facing downhill to avoid spilling gas.
#27: Park your car in the shade to reduce gas evaporation.
#28: Plan your routes ahead of time. Check out street maps of areas you frequent and experiment with different courses on occasion which appear promising. Sometimes you'll find great short cuts that'll cut both your future trip times and traffic problems.
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