Maximizing Fuel Efficiency

How to maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency

Vehicle fuel consumption is greatly influenced by driving behaviors and maintenance practices. By following the tips below, you can maximize your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and minimize its emissions of heat-trapping gases that contribute to global warming.

Tip 1: Avoid aggressive driving behaviors
A key to maximizing your vehicle’s fuel economy and limiting its global warming emissions is to drive sensibly. Aggressive driving behaviors extract a high fuel penalty: up to 40%. You can avoid this penalty by:

• Obeying speed limits: Most vehicles reach their optimal fuel economy below 60 miles per hour. Above this speed, fuel economy can decrease quickly. According to some estimates, every five mph increase above 65 mph decreases your vehicle's fuel economy by 7%.

• Accelerating gradually: Higher RPM driving uses more fuel than lower rpm driving. By accelerating gradually, you can keep your vehicle's RPMs lower and maximize fuel efficiency.

• Anticipating stops: By actively monitoring the traffic ahead, you will notice coming slow downs or stops well in advance. When you see a need to stop up ahead, coast. Don't continue to accelerate and then brake at the last minute. Such action wastes fuel by converting energy from motion to brake heat.

Tip 2: Minimize idling
An idling vehicle wastes fuel and increases greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning off the engine and retsarting it. So, turn off the engine if you are not in traffic and are going to be stopped.

Tip 3: Prepare before you go
There are several ways you can reduce fuel consumption before you even get in your car.

• Plan, plan, plan: The best way to reduce fuel consumption is to minimize your miles on the road. By optimizing routes, you will reduce fuel consumption and decrease the time spent behind the wheel. Before you head out on your way, ask yourself:
• Do I know how to get where I want to go?
• Am I taking the most efficient route?
• Can I combine another necessary stop into this trip and avoid a future trip?
• Should I make this trip at a time when traffic will be lighter?

• Dump excessive cargo weight: Lugging around an extra 100 pounds of cargo weight can reduce fuel economy by 2%. Before you head out on your next trip, check the trunk and remove unnecessary items.

• Remove items that interfere with aerodynamics: Roof racks and other accessories that interfere with aerodynamics can cause up to a 5% decrease in fuel economy.

Tip 4: Keep your vehicle in good shape
In order for vehicles to perform at their best and maintain maximum resale values, they must be well maintained. Allowing a vehicle to fall out of shape can have significant impacts on fuel consumption and operating costs. Table E.1 presents a few examples.


Tips 5: Employ other efficient driving techniques
By avoiding aggressive driving behaviors, minimizing idling, planning ahead and keeping up on maintenance, you will be on your way to maximizing your vehicle’s fuel economy. Here are a few more ways to save:

• Consider cruise control: On flat highways, cruise control helps to maintain a steady pace, which maximizes fuel economy. In hilly areas however, it can cause rapid acceleration, which harms fuel economy.

• Use overdrive: Vehicles consume less gas at lower RPMs. Using overdrive with automatic transmissions will cut back on fuel consumption when you are operating at a steady speed, such as on the highway. If you are driving a manual transmission, consider shifting sooner.

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