Saving Gas, Aggressively

Saving Gas, Aggressively

Most Americans complain about paying at the pump without any intention of modifying the way they drive to save on fuel. Speeding, breaking suddenly and uneven acceleration and deceleration all contribute to fuel waste, but no one seems willing to make an effort to change the way they drive. How can Americans become aggressive about saving gas? One solution is by tapping into the competitive spirit often associated with Americans. Instead of thinking about saving fuel as a tedious task requiring unwanted change, think about it as a competition to see who can save the most. Read on for some of the best methods for coming out first in the challenge to save fuel.

Method One: Stop Driving Aggressively

Want to save a lot of money on gas? Save aggressively by not driving aggressively. Edmunds tested the theory that bad habits involving the gas pedal account for most wasted fuel, and the results were as expected. A person can save over 30 percent on their fuel costs just by not driving aggressively. Wondering how exactly this fuel savings can be realized? Here are some tips:

Accelerate Moderately

Plenty of people merge onto the highway and jam the gas pedal to accelerate to highway speeds as quickly as possible. If they would just take five to ten more seconds to accelerate up to highway speeds, the fuel savings would be staggering.

Brake Gradually

It's pretty common for drivers to wait until the last second and slam on their brakes, but this is a disaster for fuel efficiency and safety. Instead, give enough time to gradually apply the brakes, saving gas and allowing for a safer situation.

Method Two: Slow Down

The U.S. Department of Energy notes that most vehicles achieve the best fuel economy when driven at 60 miles per hour. Anything above that speed can seriously decrease fuel economy, with every five miles per hour above 60 wasting at least seven percent more gas. As with aggressive driving, observing the speed limit also contributes to safer driving. That means less money shelled out at the pump with the added bonus of a lower chance of being in an accident. One problem with slowing down that Edmunds encountered when testing out the theory about slowing down to save money was that most drivers on the road become irate when stuck behind someone going the speed limit. Drivers are advised to ignore this behavior as much as possible, as going the speed limit isn't something that should cause road rage.

Method Three: Stop Carrying Around Excess Weight

Everyone needs their golf clubs, their running clothes and a case of water in the trunk in case of emergencies, right? Not so much, and carrying around extra baggage in a vehicle can quickly cut down on fuel economy. Depending on the size of the vehicle, every 100 pounds carried around can decrease fuel efficiency by as much as two percent. Drivers should be sure to only have necessities for the current trip to avoid paying for unnecessary transportation.

Method Four: Don't Idle

It's common to see a family pull up to a grocery store and leave the car idling while one family member runs into the store and the rest stay in the vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every minute spent idling costs up to four cents in wasted fuel. It may seem like a small price to pay, but the cost of idling can add up when a driver decides to let their car idle to warm up and leaves the car idling in store parking lots. A vehicle should be turned off when not actively in use, including situations such as when a vehicle is waiting at a lengthy red light or for a train to go by. These are the ways a driver can save gas while driving a car they already own, but what about looking into a new, more fuel efficient vehicle? As drivers cringe at the cost of gas, car manufacturers continue to develop new technology to allow drivers to save at the pump. Drivers considering the switch to a more efficient vehicle can find comprehensive information in the U.S. Department of Energy's 2012 Fuel Economy Guide. Read on for some highlights from the guide.

Electric Vehicles

Vehicles that are run entirely on electric cut down drastically on fuel costs. Instead of using gasoline for energy, electric vehicles are plugged in and charged. The number of miles an electric vehicle can travel when fully charged depends on the make and model. The vehicle on the market with the best range on a full charge is the Nissan Leaf, which can travel up to 73 miles before needing to be plugged in.

Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrids use a combination of gasoline and electric. The hybrid with the lowest annual fuel costs is the Toyota Prius, a popular model with annual fuel costs pf approximately $1,077. Even a traditional vehicle with good fuel economy will cost at least $200 per year more in fuel, while a vehicle with an average fuel economy could cost twice as much in annual fuel costs. As gas prices continue to trend upwards, drivers are looking for ways to save gas and therefore cut down on fuel costs. Driving smart is one way to save gas and money, while drivers with a new car in their future may want to look into a vehicle that uses alternative fuel sources. Some vehicles use no gasoline at all, although these vehicles are not practical for long trips. In the end, saving gas is a matter of being proactive and sticking to efficient changes.

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