8 Driving Tips to Save Gas and Improve Your Fuel Economy

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Moneymax

Last updated April 18, 2022

News about fuel price hikes is not uncommon to Filipinos. In fact, we're all gearing up again for another fuel price increase after just a week of oil price rollbacks.[1] Now more than ever, every drop has become so precious that we really can't afford to waste it.

Unfortunately, there's not much we can do about the soaring fuel prices. For now, all car owners can do is to save gas in every way possible.

How to save gas while driving and keep your fuel expenses low? It's all about changing your driving habits that waste fuel. Check out these driving tips on how to save gas when driving manual or automatic to increase your fuel economy.

How to Save Gas While Driving: 8 Tips to Reduce Your Fuel Consumption

1. Avoid Hard Braking

how to save gas while driving - avoid hard braking

Braking hard as you approach a red light is less energy-efficient than coasting, raising your fuel consumption by as much as 40%. Not only does hard braking consume more gas. It also causes premature damage to the brake pads, discs, and rotors (which means spending more often to have your brakes fixed).

Be aware of the cars in front of you. If you see them slowing down, anticipate that the traffic light will soon turn red, or that something ahead is causing traffic to slow down. Ease up on the accelerator pedal. And as much as possible, keep a good distance from the car in front of you to avoid using the brake.

Remember, when you release the gas pedal, your car will retain some momentum until it eventually rolls to a stop. Keep a light foot—it helps conserve fuel by up to 37%.[2]

2. Switch Off Instead of Idling

how to save gas while driving - switch off instead of idle

If you’ve stopped for 20 seconds or longer, turn off the ignition. Idling consumes gas,[3] so if you anticipate that you’re in for a long wait in traffic, it’s better to turn off your engine.

An Edmunds.com test found that avoiding excessive idling can save gas by as much as 19%.

Also, turn off your car’s aircon to consume less fuel. You can use your car’s flow-through ventilation system in the meantime if you don't want to open your windows.

3. Choose a Route with a Better Traffic Flow

how to save gas while driving - Choose a Route With a Better Traffic Flow

Constant braking and acceleration consume more fuel than when the drive's smoother and faster. So find a route with a smoother traffic flow to your destination (that's what Waze, Google Maps, and other driving apps are for!). It could be longer, but reducing the times you step on the brake and gas pedals helps you save gas.

If you have to run several errands in a day, plan your itinerary carefully to reduce the distance you have to drive. Do all your errands in one continuous trip rather than in a circuitous route.

Read more: Here’s How You Can Beat Traffic in Metro Manila

4. Keep a Proper Tire Pressure

how to save gas while driving - right tire pressure

Uneven tire pressure increases your car's rolling resistance and eventually, its fuel consumption. Check your tires at least once a week to ensure they're inflated properly. Consider investing in your own tire pressure gauge, too.

What's the right air pressure for your tires? Consult your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendation. For example, the correct tire pressure for most passenger cars is from 32 psi to 35 psi.

Proper tire inflation[4] not only reduces your car expenses but also makes your tires and suspension system last longer. The front tires support your car’s steering, so do a tire rotation every 10,000 kilometers across your front tires and your back tires to prevent uneven wear.

5. Use the Right Fuel Type

how to save gas while driving - use the right fuel

Check your owner’s manual for the best fuel type to use.[5] Fuels, especially petrol or gasoline, have an octane rating, which indicates resistance against premature ignition.

Avoiding gassing up with fuel that has a lower octane rating than what the manufacturer recommends for your car. For most modern cars, the unleaded type's usually recommended, though older vehicles work best with premium fuel (mind you, all gasoline locally sold is now lead-free).

A lower octane rating doesn't necessarily mean the best fuel efficiency. Sometimes, your car will be more fuel efficient if it has better power and torque—something that a premium fuel type or high-octane fuel[6] can deliver. This is especially important if you always travel with a full load, such as with your family, workmates, or fellow carpoolers.

6. Travel Light

how to save gas while driving - travel light

This is especially true for smaller cars. The more cargo you load to your car, the more you reduce your car's fuel efficiency (every 45 kilograms of weight can reduce your car's fuel efficiency by 1 to 2%) and affect its aerodynamics. So lower the drag on your car by getting rid of that unnecessary cargo carrier, roof box, or bicycle rack.

7. Use Your Car's Aircon Properly

how to save gas while driving - roll down the windows

We hate to break it to you, but using your car's aircon reduces your fuel economy by more than 25% particularly on short trips, especially in very hot weather.[7]

To save on gas, roll down your windows when you're cruising at low speeds, and then turn on the aircon at a normal temperature when you're driving on highway speeds.

Try to park at a shaded or covered spot so that your car won't get too hot inside. Make sure to let the hot air out first by keeping the windows open for a few minutes before turning on the aircon. This will not force the aircon to cool the car interior faster.

Read more: 10 Auto Repair Shop Options for Your Next Car Tune-Up

8. Have Common Car Maintenance Issues Checked

how to save gas while driving - clogged air filter

Things like clogged air filters, old spark plugs, bad tires, fuel injection system issues, and bad oxygen sensors can use up a lot of fuel. Clogged air filters alone can reduce your gas mileage by as much as 20%. If you want to know how to save gas mileage, make sure to have these issues checked and fixed ASAP.

Final Thoughts

Changing your driving habits can help you improve your fuel economy, save gas, and stretch your budget. Take note of these tips on how to save gas while driving as you cruise along the highway. Conserving fuel's all about managing your resources, planning your route, and being familiar with your vehicle. Moreover, consider buying check fuel-efficient cars when deciding to get a new vehicle.

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