10 Summertime Gas Saving Tips

Image courtesy of “Stuart Miles”; freedigitalphotos.net

It’s summer! What a wonderful time of year, especially here in Orange County. Kids are out of school, the weather is gorgeous, the beaches are packed, the fair is in town, and…oh yeah, gas prices are skyrocketing.

Can’t win ’em all, right?

You could just plan to ride your bicycle everywhere. Great exercise, but who wants to show up to work looking like they’ve just done Shaun T’s Insanity?

Don’t worry, you can still enjoy the summer – while driving your car – without breaking the bank.

Here are our Top 10 Summertime Gas Saving Tips:

1. Take your time.

We live in such a fast-paced time. Everyone’s in a hurry to get everywhere. Especially here in Orange County. But what you may not know is that your hurried lifestyle could be affecting your car’s fuel economy.

You’re at a stoplight. The light turns green. What do you do? Do you put the pedal to the medal like an Indy car driver? (The answer is no.) You gradually accelerate. Same goes with braking – pay attention to what’s ahead, don’t follow too closely, and give yourself plenty of time and space to come to a complete stop without slamming on the brakes.

And while you’re at it, follow the posted speed limits.

2. Unload excess weight.

We’re not talking about going on the Green Juice Diet, we’re talking about what’s in your car. Anything that loads you down will affect fuel economy.

Luggage racks, ski racks, and bike racks should be removed as well, as they reduce the car’s wind resistance.

3. Don’t be idle for long.

Words to live by. Same goes for your car. If you’re sitting there idling for longer than a minute, just turn off the engine because you’re wasting gas. Coming up on an extra long drive-through line? Park and walk in. You’ll burn a few extra calories, which will help you feel less guilty about ordering those french fries and that milkshake.

4. Turn off the AC.

There aren’t too many days out of the year when it’s just too hot to roll the windows down. If you can take it, turn off the AC (morning and night are good times) and enjoy breathing the fresh air and knowing you’re saving yourself some dough.

5. Check your tires.

Keeping your tires properly inflated is a very important way to increase fuel economy. Every time you get your oil changed, be sure the mechanic checks your tire pressure. Also check it when there are big temperature changes, as the outside temperature affects tire pressure as well.

6. Buy Regular fuel.

Most cars are engineered for 87 octane fuel. Unless yours is one of the fancy schmancy ones that requires Premium, you’ll do just fine with Regular fuel. (If your car does require Premium, you’ll just have to accept that you’re going to pay more for gas, because skimping can badly injure your car.)

7. Cruise.

Use cruise control on long road trips and whenever possible on the highways.

8. Avoid rush hour.

Unless you enjoy inflicting pain on yourself, you probably don’t enjoy navigating the freeways of Orange County during rush hour. Take special care to avoid traffic jams and stop-and-go traffic, as this will reduce fuel economy. Use Google maps to check traffic on your computer or smart phone.

Also, combine trips for errands so you’re not going out multiple times a day, and carpool when you can.

9. Park smart.

Park in the shade whenever possible. This allows your car to cool down, which minimizes fuel evaporation.

10. Have your car serviced regularly.

Proper maintenance avoids poor fuel economy related to dirty air filters, old spark plugs or low fluid levels.

Have a safe, fuel-efficient summer!

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