save gas

With gas prices soaring well over $4 in many parts of the nation and summer vacation season looming (road trip anyone?), most Americans are trying to figure out how to cut their gasoline usage and the pain at the pump.

Gasoline is still less expensive in America than in most other countries, however cutting back on your fossil fuel usage is a great idea no matter what. Here are some easy tips to cut down your gasoline consumption.

1. Walk or ride a bike. While this is a no-brainer, many people’s work commute is too far or too tiring for a bike ride or stroll. So think outside your commute: Where else can you walk? To the post office? Bank? Grocery store? Even if you can’t commute to work, choosing to bike or walk at other times will help you drive less. 

2. Drive slower. Racing down the streets at 80 miles per hour isn’t just dangerous, but it uses much more gasoline that driving 55. Keep your speedometer in check and you will use less gas.

3. Clean out your trunk. Are you driving around with a trunk full of clothes to get rid of, an old bike and five gallons of water left over from a camping trip? This extra weight is hurting your gas mileage. Lose it.

4. Don’t drive like a teenager. Quick acceleration followed by sudden stops uses much more gasoline than slowly accelerating does.

5. Plan your errands. Running all over town five times a week for errands wastes your time and uses unnecessary gasoline. Plan your excursions, even small ones. If you have to drive a long way for something, try to think of other stops you can make on the way to cut down on extra trips.

6. Carpool. Really. In many places (like LA, for example), everyone likes to drive their own car all the time, which provides an extra sense of control. Make an effort to carpool not only to work, but also to events and on errands. The extra time it takes to coordinate is worth the savings on gasoline to you and the planet.

7. Driving under 35 miles per hour? Roll your windows down. Over 35mph? Roll them up and use the air conditioning. Having the windows down hurts your car’s aerodynamics when it is traveling at fast speeds, but at low speeds you are better off to cut the A/C and enjoy the breeze.

8. Don’t idle. If your car will be sitting in the same spot longer than a minute or two, it will take less gasoline to turn off the engine and restart it than it does to sit there and idle.

9. Inflate your tires properly. If the pressure in your tires is too low, it will hurt your gas mileage by 2-3%. Tire pressure is easy to check with a tire pressure gauge, and most gas stations have air pumps where you can top off your tires on the cheap.

10. Learn to coast. At high speeds on the freeway, you can probably use less gasoline than you are used to. Coast whenever you can, and your gasoline bill will drop.

image: Nicholas_T