There are few things more frustrating about driving than the relentless stops for fuel. Well, there’s traffic – that’s pretty annoying. And other drivers who seem to think that their turn signal is optional rather than the essential safety precaution it truly is. That’s pretty annoying.
Okay, so running out of fuel is one of the most annoying things about driving. Not only do you have to make plans to run to a gas station, but it’s also a little warning light which might as well read: “I demand money!”
If you find yourself making more stops for fuel than seems necessary, then there might be a reason for it.
It Might Be You
Sorry! But it really might be – one of the major causes of poor fuel economy is the driver, not the mechanics of the car itself. So before you drag your motor in for auto repair it doesn’t need, it might be worth examining some of the issues closer to home.
One of the biggest problems is being too liberal with the brake. Most of the time, you will have advance notice that you’re going to be coming to a stop – you can see lights changing, traffic approaching, that kind of thing. If your first instinct in these scenarios is to begin to brake as soon as you notice, then you’re killing the kinetic energy the car has built up. Bear in mind it created that kinetic energy through the use of gas – so why are you stopping it?
Wherever safe to do so, don’t hit the brakes the moment you need to slow down. Just remove your foot from the gas and let Isaac Newton do the rest.
There are other driver errors that can compound fuel consumption. If, for example, you have a tendency to carry around half an apartment’s worth of belongings in your car, then you’re paying transportation costs. Try and keep everything but the most necessary items out of your vehicle to cut the amount you spend on fuel.
It’s also a good idea to plan your journey. It’s been estimated by people for whom estimating this kind of thing is a good time, that up to a third of fuel consumption is wasted by not planning a journey. Taking the wrong route and having to redirect, or just circling around looking for somewhere to park – they all eat into your gas usage. It therefore makes sense to have a strong idea of where you are going, how you’re going to get there, and where you’re going to leave the car when you arrive.
You may know that aerodynamics is an important part of car design, but it’s not just the design that needs to be concerned with it. If you open windows regularly – or even just have a car aerial – then it’s all creating drag. The more drag, the more power – and thus gas – you need to use to push forward. Try and keep the external lines of your car as undisturbed as possible and if you have any dents or loose parts, repair them.