If you want to get better fuel useage and save big bucks at the pump, simply changing your driving habits can improve your miles per gallon by 30 percent or maybe more. To illustrate this aspect, two General Motors fuel economy engineers each drove an identical 2011 Chevy Cruze on a combined city/highway route, each using a different driving style. The 2011 Cruze has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy rating of 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The engineer who drove aggressively turned in an average of 20.5 mpg, while the engineer who employed fuel-efficient driving techniques delivered an average of 37.4 mpg on the same course. That’s a positive difference of 16.9 mpg due solely to driving style!
Many people falsely assume that the vehicle they drive should regularly deliver its official estimated fuel economy rating. The true secret word here is “estimated.” The combined, city and highway mpg numbers are calculated by running the automobile through preprogrammed driving cycles on a stationary chassis dynamometer. This test does not completely allow for various human factors, including driving style, as shown from the Cruze example.
This is actually great news: A little bit of human control can go a long way toward meeting as well as exceeding a car’s mpg rating. The following 12 fuel-efficient driving techniques are easy to apply and learn. Try these tips for how to get better gas mileage and call upon your competitive spirit to find out how much you can boost your vehicle’s fuel useage with each tank.
12 Fuel-Efficient Driving Techniques
1. Light Touch in the Accelerator. As the accelerator pedal controls how much gasoline or diesel fuel (or electricity, in the case of electric cars) is fed to the engine, it makes sense that a light touch will yield the most effective mpg. A car or truck is least efficient after it is accelerating, and so the trick is to apply just enough power to get up towards the desired speed quickly enough, without hard acceleration and without prolonging that phase. On the other hand, accelerating too slowly can actually hinder overall fuel consumption.
2. Avoid High-Speed Cruising. Wind resistance compounds with speed, meaning high-speed cruising greatly diminishes fuel economy. The threshold for most vehicles from which highway mpg really starts to degrade is at about 60 mph, above which fuel economy drops off at a rapid rate. Only when it’s feasible and doing so won’t impede traffic or cause other safety issues, although you can increase mpg by running below the speed limit. If you feel “range anxiety,” slow down, electric cars will discover their range drop significantly at higher speeds, so.
Running air cooling or other engine-powered accessories helps make the engine work much harder and hurts fuel economy. At slower speeds, roll the windows down to cool off. At higher speeds, however, obtaining the windows down creates aerodynamic problems, so it’s actually better to use air conditioning.