RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Are you planning a road trip this Memorial Day weekend? If so, you’ll probably want to get the most mileage out of that tank of gas as you can when you travel.
With gas prices on the increase, filling up your tank can become quite expensive so you can maximize your fuel economy by being proactive.
DRIVE THE LIMIT
Driving the speed limit will do more than prevent you from getting a ticket. Higher speeds burn more fuel – that’s a fact.
The best gas saving speed is 55 miles an hour. Consumer Reports found by cutting your speed from 65 mph to 55 mph, fuel economy improved between 6 to 8 miles a gallon depending on the vehicle you drive.
STREAMLINE YOUR VEHICLE
Roof racks and other obstructions create aerodynamic drag which makes your engine work harder to overcome the load.
Mechanics say up to 50 percent of engine power is lost overcoming that obstruction on your roof, so remove anything that’s going to create wind resistance.
LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD
Hidden weight in your vehicle many times lurks in the trunk.
If you have a lot of junk in your trunk, it adds weight.
Newer cars don’t even come with a spare tire anymore to lighten the load and make them more fuel-efficient. A fully loaded trunk can cut mileage by 2 percent, so clean it out, buddy.
CHECK YOUR PRESSURE
An underinflated wheel is not only bad for the tire, it’s bad for mileage. The average tire loses 1 to 2 pounds of pressure a month. An NHTSA study revealed every 1 percent decrease in tire pressure correlated to a 0.3 percent reduction in fuel economy.
WE’LL SEE ABOUT A/C
Using the air conditioning does consume gas. Studies show under very hot conditions, A/C use can reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25 percent, particularly on short trips.
So, if you’re just making a short hop, try opening the windows instead of using A/C.
There are other ways to maximize your fuel efficiency.
AAA has put together a guide that includes many maintenance tips that will help you get more mileage per gallon.
The U.S. Department of Energy also offers advice on fuel economy in both hot and cold weather conditions. That information is available here.