Brake light, accelerator, brake light, emotions – they’re rising and falling. Every day this is the life of millions of Americans. You never really know your tolerance for frustration until you’re in the grind, the commute. And you’re burning gas at each pump of the pedal. Besides wasting your money, all of this gas does harm to the atmosphere as well.
There’s a definitive difference between someone who is a zen driver and the road warrior that everyone has unfortunately seen approaching in the rearview. It’s easy to change lanes to overcome the coaster, and even easier to want to honk at the person that “has to be faster”.
So what are we getting at?
Well, to be energy efficient in driving is a great boon to the atmosphere. We’ve all heard of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. And if you haven’t heard the starfish story we won’t repeat it here – you can check out the article, but the truth is electric cars aren’t ubiquitous..yet.
So how can you make a tangible difference? How can we practically change the world?
We’re going to help you out and perhaps give drivers behind you a change to test their patience with our list.
Here are a few practical steps for increasing your MPG and energy-efficient driving
1. Work on your mental framing during your commute. What’s the actual difference between going 80 miles an hour and 70 miles an hour? Well.. it’s 10 mph of course. But, in time what does that mean? Minutes = Distance/Speed.
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If your commute was 25 miles and you maintained a speed of 70 mph, you’d get there in roughly 22 minutes. And if you go 80 you’d be there in 19 minutes. But think of how much faster that feels, and the potential for mistakes to happen as you blow by your relatively slow companions on the road.
When you sit down and do the math, it’s not really worth it!
Tickets, crashes, and lapses in judgement are much easier to avoid at slower speeds. So just think about the risks, and the actual time saved. Want to go faster? Leave your house earlier! Three minutes.. that’s the big difference. Plus we all know the secretly sinister joy we feel when we see someone speeding getting pulled over. Don’t let that be you, laugh at the other guy.
2. Check your air pressure. Now that we’ve got the big hurdle out of the way with mental framing, it’s on to more practical things. Your tires air pressure should be consistent and properly inflated. MPG can increase by a considerable amount over a tank of gas depending on how underinflated your tires likely are.
In fact, getting a nice digital tire gauge is an investment that’s so affordable that it will pay for itself after the first adjustment for most drivers. They’re only about ten bucks, so we suggest you go out and grab one.
3. Check the amount of stuff in your vehicle. You know when you’ve got home from a big camping trip? Well, you might not think that removing a hundred pounds worth of gear is anything important. But, it adds up the longer you leave things lying around. We’ve all seen cars that have all sorts of things inside. And lowering weight helps your car get to where it needs to go unencumbered.
4. Speaking of stuff in your vehicle, think of the stuff on your vehicle. Bike racks, snowboard racks, and roof boxes. All of those things are terrible for aerodynamics. The natural design of your car was planned by engineers to be efficient. They even used wind tunnels in most cases to try and keep the optimal design in mind. So if you have something mounted to the top or rear of your vehicle for an adventure trip, make sure you take it off when you’re done!
5. Maintain a steady speed. Have you ever seen someone on the highway that has a brake light resembling a light show? It’s constantly lighting up, they pound the accelerator only to realize there is a car ten feet in front of them. Then they proceed to pound the brake. This dance of fuel wasting disaster continues until we pass them or get off on our exit. How can some people drive this way? We’re not sure.
But the thing we’re absolutely sure of is it is one of the worst ways to keep your MPG up. A constant speed is the golden ticket to getting more bang for your buck. And a generally fast acceleration to that coasting speed is recommended.
6. Coasting increases fuel efficiency dramatically, but it’s dangerous. Some of the people that are very into energy efficient driving have experimented with coasting. We do not recommend this to anyone. It’s dangerous, but darn is it interesting. A potential 20-40% gain in fuel economy can come from cruising behind a big trailer so they break the wind for you. After all, aerodynamics is the number one adversary of fuel economy.
7. Consider downsizing. Yes, this one is pretty obvious. But between the lifted trucks that never go offroad and the several ton SUVs lining America’s streets.. sometimes we have to wonder,”What’s the point?”. In a world where we are embracing waste like it’s a badge of honor, this makes us a little sad.
Downsizing your vehicle to something a little less cool and a little more practical is an excellent way to stop making ridiculous car payments, gas payments, and even make parking a bit easier. Bigger is better isn’t a mantra that holds steadfast for longevity purposes.
Auto makers have started to wake up to this call, though. You can grab a 2020 Toyota Camry that averages 52 miles per gallon. A decade ago, cars like that would be unthinkable. So despite all those big trucks on the road, when we see an electric car or a newer more efficient vehicle, we have to stop and realize that the future is bright!
Hopefully, these tips have helped you take some mental notes on ways to increase your MPG and maybe even decrease stress a little bit. It’s a shocker to most that driving 10 miles faster over the average commute makes up such a minimal amount of time.
The real secret to saving money is just being practical in all aspects of being on the road. We see it, and now you see it too. Thanks for stopping by and let us know if any of these tips helped you.
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