Gasoline Tricks and Treats

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Gasoline station 

Image by ^riza^ 

Now that we are going to be heading into the holidays, I figured I’d give you a few tricks and treats you can use to make the most out of your vehicle’s gasoline consumption.  These tips can be used anytime actually whether gasoline prices are up or down or whether you are driving to work or heading out for that holiday vacation.  Just keep them in mind as they can help you lower your emissions, speed up your travel and of course put more of your money back in your wallet.

1. If you have a vehicle that uses alternative fuels, take the time before you leave to find out where the alternative fueling stations can be found.  It will save you time and speed up your arrival time if you know exactly where you can/can’t stop along the way.  GreenCar.com has a great tool that shows you all kinds of alternative fuel filling stations within a 1-10 mile radius of the location you enter. 

2. Know before you go.  Entering your destination on your GPS or mapping your route via a service like Mapquest will help you save time and fuel.  Studies have even shown that use of a GPS can reduce emissions by up to 21%.  Mapquest also has a cool gas price programwhere you can see what the price of gas (or diesel or alternative fuel) is along your route and/or at your destination.  This way you know whether its smarter to fill up now or just put in 1/2 a tank as there is cheaper fuel further along.  This is particularly valuable when going on long trips as we all have probably experienced filling up and then seeing a sign for cheaper fuel only 5 miles down the highway.

3. Get your vehicle fully tuned up regularly.  Changing your vehicles’ fluids, rotating your tires and/or checking to ensure they have the correct air pressure in them, getting your brakes checked, etc are all regular maintenance activities that when done properly will help keep your vehicle running properly.  A proven fuel additive will also help reduce build-up in your engine and provide a more complete burn, thus helping fuel efficiency.  Keeping your vehicle running well improves gasoline consumption and lessens harmful exhaust.

4. Empty your vehicle of all unneeded items.  A heavy, loaded-down vehicle tends to use more gas to get where you need to go.  On trips, I know this isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do as you are usually packed full for your trip.  One simple tip to lessen the weight of your vehicle is to only fill up half-way.  It will mean stopping more for gas, but may get you better mileage.  However in your regular week to week, day to day commutes, keeping your vehicle cleaned out is definitely a smart move.

5. Car-pool or take public transportation whenever you can.  Not only does car-pooling help save gasoline, but if your car-pool members each take turns driving their vehicle at least once a week then you save big on maintenance costs as well.  Driving as part of a car-pool or taking public transportation whenever you can is one of the simplest tricks for saving gas. 

6. Drive smart.  Aggressive drivers who rapidly accelerate or brake while driving are wasting gas.  Did you know that driving that way can actually lower your gas mileage by up to 33%?   There is no reason to rapidly accelerate only to have to slam on your brakes a little further ahead.  Just be smart when driving.  It will not only give you better gas mileage, it is also safer for you and those around you. 

These are simple tricks but some of the treats are better mileage, less harmful emissions, less gasoline used and more money saved.  Even for those who drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, many of the tricks I mentioned can be used by you as well. 

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