Taking a long road trip is a great way to spend a lot of money on gas. I’ve taken lots of drives up and down the east coast. One of the first things I do when I realize I’m taking a long drive is to calculate the amount of money I’ll be spending in gas to get to where I’m going. About once a month, I drive out of state to visit family. There are a few things I try to keep in mind while making this trip that will not only save me money, but conserve gas and do a little to help the environment.
There are a few things you can do to help the cost of gas for your trip before you even start the car. Not only do these help on fuel consumption, but also keep you safer on the road. You want to check your tires. Make sure there’s enough air in them. Also, check and make sure your air filter is clean. Both of these things are important because improperly inflated tires and clogged air filters will make your car work harder, which effects your gas mileage. Also think about what you’re packing in your car. The more stuff you fill in your car, the heavier it is, the more resistance your car will have, the more gas you use. Pack light.
Before you get on the highway, fill up. Gas is much more expensive on highways. So, you want to make sure you’re getting it less expensive while you can. Don’t overfill your tank either. If it’s too full, it can actually drip out while you’re driving. Just fill your tank until you hear the click from the pump and stop. You also want to make sure that your gas cap is on tight when you’re finished fueling. If it’s not, gas can evaporate out.
Stay on highways. Cars get much better gas mileage on highways. What uses a lot of gas is constant breaking and acceleration. Unless you run into traffic, you won’t do much stopping and going on the highway. Plan ahead for slowing down and lay off the breaks. Start breaking sooner and slower. Try to stay at one consistent speed so you’re not using the pedals much. Make use of the cruise control if you have it.
Stay in one lane and don’t weave in and out of traffic either. Also, the faster you’re going, the more gas you’re using. This is, again, because of resistance. So, not only are you being a safe and cautious driver by driving slow, but you’re saving money in gas. In fact, you may as well be saving money on a traffic ticket as well.
This might be hard to do. But, air conditioning will affect gas mileage as well. More bad news is keeping the windows down affects it, too. Of course, what you want to do about these facts is up to you. But, if you have a sunroof, you should at least close that for your road trip. Just try and keep your air conditioning on a low setting and roll up your windows.
Another thing to keep in mind is you actually get better gas mileage with the less gas that’s in your car. Crazy. But, it goes back to what I was saying before about the weight of the car and the amount you’re carrying. I’m not saying wait until you’re on your last drop to fill. You should be safe and make sure you have enough gas while you’re taking a road trip. But, just be aware of it.
When you do stop for gas, or make any other kind of stop, take note of where you park. Try to park in a spot where you can easily pull through. If you have to back up or do a three point turn, you’re using more gas because it’s more times you have to step on the pedals.
You can save 10-25% in your cost of gas in a long trip by keeping these things in mind. If you get bored on your road trip, consider playing some adult road trip games. Be safe and have a fun trip!