Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

How to get better gas mileage

Want to get more for your gas dollar? You could invest a hybrid car. Or you could leave the car at home by telecommuting, carpooling, and using alternative transportations. However, these actions are not always practical for everyone to implement. Not to worry, as you can still make some quick changes to your traveling routine with a savings to both your wallet and carbon footprint.

First, slow down. You’re cruising along at 70 mph, which is a speed our grandparents might have felt reasonable to take us to the moon. Instead, you’re getting honked at for going too slow as Southern Californians fly past you in the left lanes. But guess what? Dollar for dollar, your gas mileage is better. As The Daily Green reports, “For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%.” So even slowing from 70 to 65 mph saves you money. Take that, speed demons.

Next, practice a better driving technique. A Southland driving school handbook could be written in two sentences. Drive, stop, drive, stop, go as fast as you can until you have to stop. Then park. But guess what? Our jerky stop-and-starting is terrible for fuel efficiency, not to mention our brake pads. Also, consider opening the windows to cool the car down. The more energy your car uses, the more money you spend.

Finally, keep your car in good health with regular tune-ups. Make sure your engine is running as it should, and that your tires are properly inflated. Clean out your trunks so you’re touting less weight. Replace your air filter to improve mileage. Make sure your alignment is straightened out. The less your car has to work to keep you moving, the less you have to spend on moving it.

Image: nataliemaynor/Flickr