Given the trending of gas prices toward ever-higher dollar amounts, many people are using more and more of their vacation budget on gas. While no one seems to be able to make gas cheap again, there are still some things you can do to help save on gas this vacation season.
Here are some tips.
Slow Up, Speed Down
When you are on the road, going slowly up hills and more quickly downhill is said to save fuel. This is because your car has to work much harder going uphill (especially if you are using air conditioning and have luggage and multiple passengers), whereas gravity is your friend going downhill.
And speaking of speed, observing the speed limit and not speeding also saves gas. It's safer, too.
Know When to Turn Off the AC
While traveling in the heat without air conditioning can be downright dangerous, there are times when you can turn it off to save fuel. For example, turning off the AC when driving uphill can reduce the power pull on your engine by quite a bit, sources say. Of course, you can leave the fans going and the residual cooling effect lasts for a few minutes. When you're on the level or going downhill, turn the AC back on.
If your tires are worn, get them rotated before your trip or, if they are very worn, get them replaced. Proper air pressure is said to be very important, too – look at the inside of the driver's side door if you are unsure as to your tires' PSI (pounds per square inch). Adding too much or too little air can both be a problem, so if you are in doubt, have your mechanic do it.
A Vehicle Check-up
Before your vacation, get your car thoroughly looked over. Make sure everything is running as efficiently as possible. Efficiency in your engine means greater efficiency on fuel usage. Have the oil changed, get a “tune-up” if needed, and have all the fluids checked in addition to any necessary work on the tires.
As mentioned above, a lot of excess cargo can really draw on the engine's power. It's said that every 100 pounds added to your car's weight will decrease the gas mileage by 1 percent. So try to be careful to use lightweight baggage carriers (such as duffle bags rather than heavy suitcases), and only pack necessities.
How You Drive
When you hit the accelerator pedal, that's when your car is using the most gas. So try to avoid the speed up, brake fast pattern that so many drivers fall into. Instead, try to coast at a continuous speed. Keep the ride as smooth as possible to save on fuel.