The time of summer road trips is upon us, and so is heightened gas prices. And who wants to spend their money on gas when you could be spending it on adventure? Here are some tips to help you hit the open road with a full tank — and a full wallet:
Lay off the gas
That lead foot might help you get to your destination a little faster, but it'll will also cost you more in terms of gas. Forcing your car to accelerate quickly uses much more fuel than a gradual increase. The same goes for sudden braking. Try and keep an even pressure — or use cruise control, if you can — and safely drive your way to financial bliss.
Use a smart car battery charger
Understanding your vehicle's health is crucial to maximizing your fuel efficiency. Use a smart car battery charger to keep an eye on your battery and monitor your mileage. Keeping track of both will help you stay up-to-date on maintenance.
Use high-quality gas
The old adage “You have to spend money to make money” might sound suspicious, but it's applicable when it comes to fuel quality.
Monitor your tire pressure
Keeping your tires inflated to their intended pressure levels can save you six cents a gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Failing to do so can lower your gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires. You can find the correct pressure levels by looking in your vehicle owner's manual or by looking on the side of your door. Use a tire pressure monitor to keep track in real time.
Replace your air filter
Replacing your air filter may not be the highest priority on your list of regular maintenance, but it should be. Think of your vehicle as similar to a vacuum cleaner: It works best with a clean filter. A dirty one will require a lot more fuel use.
What if we told you that you can save gas, money and the environment with one quick trick? Good news: You can do all those things by refusing to let your car idle for more than a few minutes. Whether you're in the drive-thru, a scenic pull-out or stuck in traffic, just turning off your engine can save you loads of cash and keep the air around you clean. Feeling extra ambitious? Turn off your engine at red lights.
Be smart about your air conditioning use
Air conditioning plays a big role in fuel economy, but it all depends on where you'll be driving. Experts recommend rolling your windows down and keeping your AC off when you're in the city or going less than 45 miles-per-hour. If you're on the freeway, however, rolling your windows increases drag and puts more pressure on your engine. So as you drive, plan on adjusting your AC — and your hair, if it's windy — relatively often.
Vacations are all about making new memories, not material possessions. Putting more weight in the car puts more pressure on the engine, requiring it use up more fuel. So leave the heavy luggage at home and be smart about your souvenirs, because all that extra weight could be costing you. Try to keep your spare tire as the heaviest thing in your trunk.