Who drives better, men or women? Many men will tell you that women are worse drivers. However, according to Insurance Business Magazine, male drivers are more likely to get involved in accidents than female motorists.
Sorry fellas. But take heart! Anyone can save money on gas using the driving techniques listed below.
- Avoid Excessive Idling – AAA.com reports that a car engine consumes one quarter to one half gallon of fuel per hour when idling. When safe to do so, shut off your engine if you will be stopped for more than a minute.
- Reduce the Load – Offload any unnecessary items to reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle. An additional 100 pounds in your car can reduce gas mileage by up to 1%. For every 100 pounds in extra weight, plan on spending up to three cents more per gallon. The reduction is relative to a vehicle’s weight. Smaller vehicles are more affected by increased weight than larger ones. (USDOE Alternative Fuels Data Center)
- Drive Slower – According to fueleconomy.gov, for every five mph over 50 mph, drivers pay an equivalent of 26 cents more per gallon of gas. Speeding can result in a 7%-14% reduction in fuel economy. Driving at slower speeds can save 22-43 cents per gallon.
- Use Cruise Control – Driving at a consistent speed on the highway saves gas. Edmunds.com found that using cruise control under appropriate conditions can improve fuel economy up to 14%. That’s a savings of about 43 cents per gallon.
- Drive conservatively – Speeding, braking, and rapid acceleration waste gas. According to Fueleconomy.gov, rapid acceleration and hard braking can lower fuel economy by 15%-30% on the highway and 10%-40% in stop-and-go traffic. Driving sensibly can lead to an equivalent gas savings of between 31 cents and $1.24 per gallon. Obeying the speed limit, accelerating and braking gently and gradually, and reading the road ahead can improve the fuel economy of your vehicle.
- Use A/C wisely – Air conditioning can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 20%. Open the windows when you’re driving in the city and use the flow-through ventilation system with the windows up on the highway if the heat is bearable. If you do turn on the A/C, use the re-circulation option to minimize the impact. (Natural Resources Canada)
This wraps up our Financial Literacy Month money-saving series on gas. But the learning doesn’t have to stop here! United Way SELA’s Prosperity Centers in New Orleans and Covington offer free financial education classes each month. Visit our calendar to see what topics are coming up.
I hope you’ve learned something and had a little fun through this blog series. If you’d like to practice money-saving on a road trip right now, try this Hit the Road Financial Adventure game.
You can also test what you learned this Financial Literacy Month by taking this quiz and sharing it with your friends.
Director of Financial Capability
United Way of Southeast Louisiana