The summer travel season is upon us and right on cue the average price of gas in Michigan is beginning to creep towards the $4 per gallon mark.
While there’ll be plenty of news stories this summer touting the advantages small hybrid and electric vehicles give you at the pump, the reality is that these vehicles aren’t always convenient.
Especially if you’re a family of five…taking a 12 hour road trip to visit the relatives….with teenagers that need their space…who might get a little cranky…see what I’m saying?
So what’s a responsible person to do? You start looking for new ways to maximize your current vehicle’s fuel economy, that’s what!
Don’t worry though, I took all the hard work out of your quest and put together these 6 little known facts that can boost your vehicle’s fuel economy today.
1. Old Engine Oil = Lower Fuel Economy
I asked a few people around the office this question: Does the age or quality of your engine oil have an impact on your fuel economy?
I was surprised by the answers I received. A few said “Yes” but they couldn’t explain why (it was just a feeling), a couple more said “No” and one said “I don’t know”.
The answer is Yes, the quality of your engine oil does indeed affect your fuel economy.
There’s plenty of sound science behind the reason why, but you didn’t come here for a science lesson. You’re here to get as many MPG’s out of your vehicle as you can.
So make sure you change the oil in your car according to your vehicles maintenance schedule, and you’ll be a step ahead at the gas pump.
2. Stop Carrying Dead Weight
No, not your daughter’s less than responsible boyfriend (although that wouldn’t hurt). I’m talking about all that excess junk (again, not your daughter’s boyfriend) that’s in your car.
Look, we both know hockey season ended months ago, so why are you still lugging around those heavy skates, sticks and pads in the back of the family hauler?
Here’s the deal – traveling with excess weight in your vehicle makes your engine burn fuel faster thus degrading your fuel economy.
Want to get another boost of MPG’s? Start cleaning that car out to get rid of all the junk that isn’t being used.
I know, you’re already busy and cleaning out your car sounds a bit tedious, but with a little help from the kids you can make it fun.
If you must, throw them a couple of bucks for helping out with the task (or just remind them if they want rides to and from the beach this summer, they should just do the right thing)
No matter how you make it happen, just remember that the less weight your car carries, the more your gas mileage will improve.
3. Break Your Bad Driving Habits
Let’s face it, you and I probably both have some bad driving habits. Personally, I’ve been known to accelerate a little too fast when driving my wife’s SUV (much to her chagrin).
Now I know habits can be hard to break, but if you want to maximize your fuel economy, you’re going to have to change your gas guzzling ways.
Did you know aggressive driving such as rapid acceleration and speeding can decrease your gas mileage by 33%?
This might be a good time to brush up on your hypermiling skills. You don’t have to go overboard, but the more steady and consistent your driving becomes, the more fuel efficient your vehicle will be.
4. Cruise Control Won’t Help You
I’ve fallen victim to the myth that by setting your vehicle’s cruise control between 60 and 65 MPG you’ll be driving along the freeway most efficiently.
Not so fast!
While it sounds great in theory, it doesn’t really translate in real world driving scenarios.
The fact that cruise control keeps you going at a constant speed doesn’t take in to account shifts in the terrain.
Try it out yourself. Set the cruise at 60 MPH and listen to how hard your engine accelerates when you drive up an inclined section of freeway.
If all roads were flat, cruise control would be perfect for optimizing your fuel economy. But because most roads are made up of series’ of inclines and declines and are rarely flat (unless you are in North Dakota), you have much more control over how your vehicle handles the road if your foot is actually on the pedal.
So stay in control of your cruising and you’ll be on your way to maximized fuel economy in no time at all.
5. Avoid Traffic With Waze
Ok ok, I know what you’re already thinking. How is not getting stuck in traffic a “little known secret’ to boost fuel economy?!
Clearly no one in their right mind goes looking for traffic. Crawling along the road at a snails pace is not the most efficient way to use your limited gas supply.
But did you know there’s a FREE smartphone app that will help you boost your fuel economy?
I highly recommend that you install Waze on your smartphone. It’s a navigation app that sends real time traffic and construction updates right to your phone.
Once you program your destination, Waze will seamlessly alter your route if an accident or construction is impeding your progress to your destination.
Unlike some in car navigation systems or the built in maps app on the iPhone, Waze has never led me astray.
Give it a try the next time you leave the house, and you just might delay your next trip to the pump.
6. Keep Those Tires Properly Inflated
I wasn’t going to include this tip, because I thought it was common knowledge that under-inflated tires drastically affects your fuel economy.
But after floating the thought by a couple of our service writers, I decided to include it.
Also, tires with low air pressure do a lot more than lower your fuel economy. Low tire pressure can also lead to premature wear, poor handling, and even massive failures while driving on the highway.
So do yourself a favor, and swing by your local gas station and make sure check your tire pressure today.
Did you learn something new today? I sure hope you did.
So while you can’t control the rising gas prices, you can follow along with these 6 little known facts that can boost your fuel economy.
Need more advice on what maintenance your vehicle needs for optimal fuel efficiency? Your local LaFontaine Service Center services all makes and models. Give us a call at (855) 523-6682 or visit us online today!