Gas prices are on the rise (again)—and with the summer driving season approaching, it's only going to get worse. That's why we put together these six driving tips, specifically designed to keep you and your wallet happy.
1.) Stay Calm
Adjust your attitude. Aggressive driving wastes fuel, so accelerate and decelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts at traffic lights and anticipate and coast to stops you see coming in the distance.
2.) Hit the Brakes
Small jumps in speed can make a big difference in the amount of fuel you use. Driving 65 mph uses up to 20% more fuel than 55 mph does. On the highway, save by using cruise control.
3.) Flip the Switch
Don't run your vehicles if you aren't driving. It takes less fuel to restart your engine than to let it idle for 10 seconds. Also avoid long warm-ups. Instead, drive gently until your engine reaches operating temperature.
4.) Use the Right Gear
If you have an automatic, disable overdrive when driving at low speeds or around town and when towing a trailer. If you have a manual, shift to the next gear as soon as the upshift light glows. Always downshift when descending long hills, since a lower gear automatically slows your engine and switches off the fuel injection. Also essential: Never use four-wheel drive when it's not absolutely necessary.
5.) Go Minimal
Every accessory you turn on while driving lowers fuel economy. Around town, leave the A/C off but use it on the highway. At higher speeds, open windows create drag. Also, remove the cartop ski and bike racks, which add weight and create drag when you aren't using them, and clean out the trunk. Extra weight means you're burning extra fuel.
6.) Hit the Garage
Proper maintenance is crucial. Keep tires inflated to the proper pressure, get scheduled tune-ups and alignments, and change the air filter regularly.