How to Improve Fuel Efficiency for this Year's Road Trip

Hitting the Road for a Vacation? How to Improve Your Fuel Efficiency

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If you and your family are planning a roadtrip this summer, there are several things to keep in mind to get you there in the safest and most cost-efficient way.

While we previously discussed how to prepare your car for a road trip – we didn’t talk about what tends to happen to your car on vacation. That is, you’re about to spend a lot of money on gas. Even a staycation, if it involves going to the zoo, the nearby amusement park or museum can involve spending money to get there.

We’d like to offer up a few tips to help you pay a little less at the pump, so your money can stretch a little farther.

First, be aware of the cost of gas. Through the middle of June, 2019, the average cost of gas was $2.71 a gallon. That is about 15 cents cheaper than it was a year ago at this time. It is true that in some parts of the country, like the west, gas tends to be far above the average. You shouldn’t necessarily feel ripped off if your gas pump is far higher than the national average of the cost of gas. Still, as you drive around the state or country, it may help to have an idea of what you should be paying. AAA has good information on gas prices – at the link we offered earlier in this paragraph – and it has a gas calculator as well. This is a good tool for planning of your trip to calculate how much it will cost in gas.  GasBuddy.com is also a great site for finding cheap gas in whatever part of the country you’re driving in.

Travel light.According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by two percent? If you want to save on gas, try to pack as light as possible.  This would be a good time to clear out some of the extra things kept in the trunk.  You’ll also have more room for your passengers and luggage.

Slow down. Sure, you want to get to your destination as soon as possible, but speeding actually wastes gas. In addition to being a safety hazard and running the risk of getting a ticket, going at faster speeds you can see your gas go down by 15 to 30 percent. Once you start to go over 60 miles an hour, that’s where your gas mileage can take a hit – especially if you’re slowing down and speeding up again. Consistency is the key, so you will be fine driving at 70 miles an hour if that is the speed limit. Just don’t constantly go back and forth 10-20 miles per hour above or under the speed limit.

Gas mileage has to do with everything from how your car is designed to wind resistance. The faster you go, the more wind pushes onto your car, and the higher speeds can hurt your tires. Every five miles you drive above 60 miles an hour is like spending an additional 24 cents per gallon for your gas, according to the Department of Energy.

Maintain recommended tire pressure. We’ve talked about the importance of checking tire pressure on a regular basis.  If you checked your tire pressure before you left for a long trip, it can’t hurt to check it after putting many miles on your car after you arrived. If your tire pressure is lower than what your car manufacturer recommends, then you’ll have more of the surface tire on the road, and your car essentially must work harder to keep moving.  That takes up more gas than a car with wheels that have proper tire pressure.

Keep your car well-maintained in general. As we’ve said before, if you’re going on a vacation, you’ll want to get your car an oil change, and if your mechanic recommends filters or fluids being replaced, do that, too. For instance, clogged filters, aside from being bad for your car, can make your car work harder and use up more gas. If it has been a while since your last checkup, drop in a Milex Complete Auto Care and get your vehicle checked out.  You don’t want to be stranded somewhere on the side of the road at any time, particularly while on vacation.

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