Using Eco-Driving Skills to Save Gas

Using Eco-Driving Skills to Increase Your Gas Mileage

A speedometer and gas gauge

Each time you fill up at the pump you're not just draining your bank account, you're also taking a bite out of the environment. If you're looking to increase your car's eco-gas economy in order to save some money, and maybe even the planet, you may want to adopt eco-boost from the eco-driving movement. Eco-driving means using energy-efficient driving techniques to increase gas mileage.

Eco-driving is Simple

  • Be smooth with both the accelerator and the brakes. Drive with a less aggressive attitude. Don't race up to stoplights or stop signs and then slam on the brakes. Let your car's momentum do most of the non-fuel-burning work. Then, re-accelerate slowly.
    • Accelerating in to or out of busy traffic may require a less gentle approach, particularly when trying to maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and others. 
  • Drive the speed limit, or just below. Driving the posted limit instead of 3-5 miles per hour over can boost mileage. In fact, every 5 mph that you drive over 50 mph is equal to adding 17 cents per gallon, roughly, to your fuel costs.
  • When driving on highways, avoid the left lane, which is generally used for faster traffic. This will reduce the chances of becoming an obstruction for other, faster-traveling drivers.
  • Set the cruise control. One of the central rules of eco-driving is maintaining a steady, even speed. Your cruise control will help prevent unnecessary speeding up and braking.
  • Avoid excessive idling. In the driveway, a parking lot, or even a drive-through lane, turn off the engine if you think you'll be stopped more than 30 seconds. But, do not turn it off at stoplights. It's hard to safely - and quickly - get out of harm's way if your vehicle is off.

Maximize Fuel Efficiency

  • Keep your engine well-maintained. Regular tune-ups can greatly improve your mileage.
  • Remove excess vehicle weight. Minimize heavy items in your trunk, and car in general.
  • Reduce aerodynamic drag, which is one of the chief factors in lowering gas mileage. This means, if you have items on top of your vehicle roof, such as a luggage or bike rack, remove them when you’re not using them. This will positively impact your gas mileage.
  • Properly inflate tires. Never over-inflate tires. Instead, keep them filled at the high end of the recommended pressure. This is an ecosmart way to help reduce road friction.
  • Use a low-weight, light-viscosity oil to improve engine performance. However, stay within the factory recommended weight and viscosity for advanced mileage savings. Switching to a synthetic engine oil can sometimes improve mileage, too.

Additional Mileage-based Savings

  • Use your air conditioning wisely. At lower speeds, AC increases fuel consumption. In town, open your windows, and save the AC for highway driving.
  • Use the recommended gas type for your car. Using lower than the recommended octane may reduce fuel economy. Using higher won't help because your engine will not be able to take full advantage of premium fuel.
  • Plan your journey. Getting lost wastes fuel. Check your route before you leave, and use hands-free navigation systems or GPS mobile apps as you travel.
  • Combine routes as able. Combing short trips is an environmentally friendly way to avoid cold starts, which use more fuel.

You don't have to go to extremes to make a difference. Just be a more aware driver and eliminate some bad, gas-guzzling habits. This way, you'll help both the environment and your pocketbook.

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.