Summer is the ideal time for road trips, and traveling by car is an economical way to take a family on a vacation. However, mistakes in packing, driving style and car maintenance can cut into fuel economy. If you want to maximize efficiency, there are several ways to get better gas mileage on summer road trips.
Maintain Your Car for Improved Fuel Economy
Warm weather generally improves a car’s fuel economy. Engines warm up quickly. Hot air creates less drag than cold. Gasoline’s summer formulas give you more miles for your dollars. But those advantages disappear when a car hasn’t been well maintained. A car that’s overdue for fluid and filter changes is inefficient and takes more energy to run.
Take your car in for oil changes, tire rotation and other services as specified by the manufacturer’s manual. Regular maintenance keeps gas costs down, extends the time between repairs and increases safety. Inflated tires alone instantly cut down on fuel consumption.
More Money-Saving Tips
Here are some other easy ways to get more miles per gallon:
Use AC wisely: At low speeds, such as when driving in a city, keep cool by opening the windows. Once you’re on the freeway decrease the drag on your car by keeping windows closed and using air conditioning. AC can reduce fuel economy by 25 percent or more, so use it only as needed. Don’t idle with the AC running and keep your car cooler by parking in the shade.
Don’t speed: What’s your hurry? Take time to enjoy the drive and the scenery by slowing down where possible. A car’s optimal fuel economy is generally far below freeway speeds. It may not always be safe or desirable to drive below the speed limit, but fuel use increases with speed.
Avoid rooftop cargo boxes: Car-top boxes increase drag and fuel use. The inefficiency grows as speeds increase. A cargo tray attached to the rear or the vehicle is a better choice.
Be a smooth operator: Aggressive driving such as abrupt braking and sudden accelerations use more fuel. Besides wasting money, such driving is dangerous, puts stress on your car and makes passengers uncomfortable.
Lighten up: Don’t overpack. The heavier your car, the more energy it needs to run. Lose excess weight by packing only the essentials.
Today’s vehicles are more efficient than ever, but you can always find more ways to cut down on gas use. Like a wise man once observed, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Visit Grease Monkey and the Clean Machine Car Wash ahead of your trip. We’ll make sure its fluids are topped off and tires are inflated. Have a great vacation!