There are many ways to save money; one of the most rewarding is saving fuel. Below are some simple ways to change habits or behaviors while we drive that can really have an impact on our bottom line.
Slowing down not only reduces traffic crashes but it also saves money. 35 – 55mph is, on average, the peak engine performance range for your vehicle. After 55 mph the efficiency ratings go down dramatically. I am not suggesting driving 55mph on a 70mph road, but observing the speed limit can have a significant impact on your wallet. You can assume that each 5mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $.24 per gallon (Saving of 7-23%).
Many of us waste gas accelerating toward red lights. If you can see that a light has recently turned red ahead, or there are a lot of vehicles stopped ahead, it does not make sense in most cases to be on the gas. Take your foot off the gas and cover the brake. This not only will save gas but will reduce the likelihood of rear end crashes. By coming to a gradual stop you are sending a signal to people behind you that you are braking.
Keeping you car properly tuned will save money on gas and can save money on car maintenance as well. Keeping your car properly tuned allows your car to run more efficiently and leads to a longer lifetime because parts do not wear out as quickly.
One of the simplest things you can do is keep your tires properly inflated. Keeping them properly inflated keeps more rubber on the road; under inflated tires have less rubber and reduces your fuel economy. Your tires naturally lose 1 psi / month. Plus it is not uncommon to have slow leak caused by a nail or other puncture in your tire and not even realize it. By checking your tire pressure every time you fill up with gas you can maximize your MPG’s and also catch a problem before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road. Repairing a nail hole costs a lot less than a whole tire.
The air conditioner in your car is a drag on the engine. Most accessories in your car run off of the battery, but the A/C unit is a drag on the engine itself. Rolling your windows down at low speeds can help on a hot day, but at higher speeds the drag of the open window offsets any efficiency savings of having your A/C off. On a mild day many people inadvertently have their A/C on. Take a second to turn it off before you drive if you do not need it.
These small things can add up to big savings.
Minnesota has a law that many people ignore or do not know about. The Move Over Law has been in effect for many years, but it was expanded in 2009. Here is the law in its entirety https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.18
Basically the law states that when there is two or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, and there is an emergency vehicle (police, ambulance, tow truck, highway helper, etc) stopped on the side of the road, you are REQUIRED to move a lane away from the emergency vehicle. If you cannot move a lane away do to traffic, you must slow down.
Too many people are not slowing down and in a recent Star Tribune article, http://www.startribune.com/local/116739969.html explains Minnesota Troopers are increasingly becoming struck on the side of the road due to inattentive, distracted, impaired and speeding drivers. Please take heed of the law and give emergency personnel the room to do their job safely.