Following the eco friendly cars industry can sometimes be frustrating. On the one hand, it's awesome to see the futuristic technology that is being included in cars like the Tesla S and BMW i3, but on the other hand, if you can't actually afford these cars, you'll simply have to salivate over them the next time one pulls up next to you on the freeway.
But you need not spend a lot of money on a brand new car in order to reduce your gasoline consumption. By adopting a few easy driving habits, you can significantly lower your gas bills and get more mileage out of one tank:
- Coast into stops: Keeping your foot on the pedal and braking right before a stop is inefficient. Try to anticipate stops by taking your foot off the gas and letting the vehicle coast, then apply brakes after it has already slowed down some.
- Don't exceed the speed limit: Your fuel economy goes down dramatically once you go above 65 mph. When you're on the highway, stay in the 55-65 range (traffic permitting) and you can increase your efficiency by 7 to 14 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Monitor your tire pressure: If you've ever tried riding a bike with flat tires, imagine how your engine feels when your car tires don't have enough air. Make sure you keep your tire pressure at about 30 PSI.
- When driving above 60 mph, close your windows and use the air conditioner: Having your windows open creates drag, which makes your engine work harder than it does operating the AC unit.
- Use cruise control: Keeping your car at a steady speed rather than accelerating and braking (and possibly changing gears, when at the right RPM) will raise your mileage.