Today’s markets are known to be shakey ones. There’s uncertainty, problems of trust, and emerging (and tumbling) economies across the world. Unfortunately for us, though, one commodity seems to be consistently going the same direction: we’re talking about the price of oil, and it seems to only know how to rise.
Truth is, this problem is not a surprising one. Oil, like all nonrenewable resources, is only a temporary relief to the world thirst for energy. As oil reserves inevitably diminish, the cost will continue to rise – especially when there remains to be such high demand. Even worse, the transportation system in the United States is among the most inefficient of all uses of energy. An incredible 75% of energy is wasted, putting our system at 25% efficiency.
For us consumers, this picture looks bleak. We need to save money, we want to lessen our impact on the environment, and we want to do so – quite frankly – without much hassle. Enter “hypermiling,” or the practice of maximizing fuel economy for one’s car. More and more people are looking for simple, cost-effective tricks to boost their MPG, and with the right game plan and priorities, you can actually do quite a bit.
Number 1. Properly Inflate (3%)
Probably the most important thing you should do, regardless of how you feel about fuel economy. Not only can keeping tires properly inflated boost fuel efficiency by over 3 percent, but it also keeps you off the list of some 660 highway fatalities per year that occur due to under inflation. Find out your proper tire pressure on either a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb, on the tire itself, or the in the glove box or owner’s manual.
Number 2. No A/C (1-3%)
There’s no real debate over this: your car, regardless of make or model, will get better gas mileage with the AC off. The air conditioning in your car is powered by a compressor that requires tremendous amounts of energy. This means less of a demand on your engine when it’s off. Just crack the window! (And no, the drag created by an open window is not equivalent to the AC).
Number 3. Timing is Everything (1-5%)
The principle here is to minimize brake usage. No reason to speed up to a red, right? Try your best to drive effectively, without, of course, disrupting traffic or risking safety. For example, don’t take the rule of coasting to mean you can fly through stop signs. Traffic laws are here for a reason, and the last thing you want is to hurt someone because you’re trying to save a few dollars at the pump.
Number 4. Tune it Up (4%)
Though this one costs a bit more, having your engine properly tuned can mean increasing efficiency by quite a bit – including an oil change and switch to proper grade of motor oil, fixing serious engine issues (think oxygen sensor), your timing belt, and much more. Depending on how serious the tune up it, you may eve find yourself saving 10-20% on fuel economy.
Number 5. Slim Down (1-5%)
The final quick tip is to slim down and keep your car empty. If you have a spare tire that’s not-so-spare anymore, consider keeping it out until you get a replacement. Likewise, forgo the pleasures of 20″ subs or other equipment. It just means more weight, and therefor less efficiency.
Have some tips of your own? Tell us below!