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Road Trip Forecast: The Cost of Gas
Before the Trip:
- Air filter -Make sure your air filter is clean. Air filters are easy to check and change and can help the performance and economy of your vehicle by allowing good air flow to the engine.
- Tire pressure - Tires that are under-inflated can cost you 2 to 3 MPG and then some. Keep a reliable tire gauge handy and be sure to keep tires inflated properly.
- Rims - I highly doubt many of you will be taking to the highways with 24" chrome and spinners on your wheels, but should that be the case you may wish to reconsider. If the rims widen the tire stock you could decreasing fuel economy by creating more rolling resistance. (See About.com)
- Evaluate your load - Clean out your car before adding all your travel necessities. Roof racks and carriers can help provide additional space, yet keep in mind they decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent.
- Vehicle selection - Sure you're only using your summer whip for a couple of weeks, maybe months, but when it's time to rent or take one of your vehicles aim for the one with the best fuel economy. Use www.fueleconomy.gov to find and compare vehicles. The extra hundred dollars could become quite useful elsewhere.
- Slow down - You're on vacation, there is absolutely no reason to
rush, plus traveling 55mph gives you 21% better mileage.
- Roll down the windows -
Gasp! No A/C? Mother Nature's air is often the best kind of air to help give your vehicle a break. Consider keeping the
A/C off a good portion of your trip when driving at reduced speeds around town or in city traffic.
- Keep the A/C going - Confused? Well, many studies show that keeping the A/C going isn't all that bad when driving at increased speeds on highways. The air conditioner will still consume fuel, but having the windows up will decrease the drag on your vehicle created from wind resistance.
- Gas purchases - Always try to buy gasoline when it's cooler. HowtoAdvice.com notes that gas tends to be densest during the early morning and late evening, where gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, note densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement."
- Brand and
grade - Don't be fooled into thinking high
octane gasoline is going to give you stellar mileage or performance. While very few cars require the use of premium
gasoline, most vehicles only need regular to fill up the tank. When in doubt, thumb through your owner's manual.
- Carpooling and friends - A road trip wouldn't be a road trip without a few close pals.
Bring them along and plan to save on fuel together.