5 Ways to Make Your Car More Energy Efficient

carComputer-controlled driverless cars that always run at optimum efficiency are still probably a decade away from being widely available, and most Americans, whose wages haven’t gone up (in real terms) for the past 30 years, aren’t paid enough to afford the most-efficient classes of electric and hybrid vehicles. That means the average Joe or Jane must work harder and harder to squeeze as much mileage as possible out of every drop of gas burned by their conventional cars.

Since many people are also learning how to drive in a dust storm and driving at least part-time for a ride sharing service, the gas you save could make a difference in your survival. And, burning less fossil fuel is much better for the environment, so even if you can’t afford to have children, the offspring of your well-paid corporate overlords can still grow up in a world that is safer and much cleaner. You can do your part, with these five ways to make your car more energy efficient.

Drive Slower

Fast driving can burn a surprising amount of gas, and cost a lot more than you think. Modern vehicles lose efficiency quickly at speeds above 55 miles per hour. Driving 55 can reduce fuel costs by as much as 25 percent from a highway speed of 75 miles per hour. Additional savings can be had by not letting your car idle too long. Ten to 30 seconds maximum is recommended. After that, shut the engine off and restart it when you’re about to move again If your ride share customer isn’t outside when you arrive, turn off the motor, or move on to the next customer!

Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance, making your car burn more fuel to travel the same distance. Keep your tire pressure optimum by checking it with a decent-quality pressure gauge at least once a month, and adding air to make sure your tires are inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. You can find the suggested pressure either in your owners’ manual or printed right on the tire’s sidewall.

Combine Errands into One Trip

Several short trips that require cold-starting your engine use a lot more fuel than one long trip of the same distance when the engine is warm. Plan your trips as efficiently as you can—less trips equal less gas. You may, for example, choose to eschew single riders and only choose to pick up “pool” passengers.

Keep Your Motor Tuned

A properly -tuned engine maximizes power and can greatly enhance fuel efficiency. Making sure spark plugs are good, the air filter is clean, the oil is changed on schedule, and components like fuel filters and oxygen sensors are in working order. Discussed thoroughly in most traffic schools, proper maintenance like this seems like it may be spending unnecessarily on repairs that aren’t needed, in the long run, the few cents you spend now can save you many dollars in fuel in the future.

Use the Cruise Control

If your car has it, using Cruise Control as much as you can will mean the car’s on-board computer oversees making fuel-efficiency decisions constantly, using engine information you can’t monitor from the dashboard gauges. As a result, overall mileage can improve tremendously, especially if you are heavy-footed” driver. And, it’s much more efficient than simply putting the car in neutral while rolling down hills!

Other modifications, such as increasing aerodynamic efficiency (closing windows, not strapping things to your vehicle), lightening loads (less weight equals less drag on the motor) and having your car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) mapped for greater efficiency, can mean even greater savings! So slow down and give some thought to saving gas every time you drive.

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