By Pam Reiss
According to the United States Department of Energy, Americans will drive 3.17 trillion miles this year. And whether a majority of the miles on your odometer were accrued by your daily commute or a cross-country road trip, the fact remains the same—you’ll be putting a substantial portion of your paycheck into your fuel tank.
Of course, there are ways around the expense—mass transportation is available in many areas. You can opt to purchase an electric vehicle. You can carpool to reduce your costs or even call a cab. But for many Americans, getting behind the wheel is simply a fact of life. Don’t worry though—if you don’t have the means or desire to trade in your vehicle for a more efficient model, there are still plenty of simple steps you can take to improve your fuel efficiency and drastically decrease your annual gasoline costs.
Here are five simple steps you can take to improve your fuel efficiency.
- Make sure your tires are properly inflated. You don’t need a puncture hole to lose tire pressure. Variations in weather, as well as typical wear and tear, can cause them to lose 1 PSI every month. If your tires aren’t properly inflated your car has to work harder to propel itself, consuming more fuel in the process.
- Conduct routine preventive maintenance. If you treat your car well, you will likely be rewarded in kind. Don’t put off your regular oil changes, change your air filters and make sure you replenish depleted spark plugs.
- Keep your gas gauge in the sweet spot. Fuel efficiency is at its lowest when you have less than a quarter tank of gas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep it full either. Gasoline adds weight to your car—10 gallons is roughly equivalent to 60 pounds. If you keep your tank halfway full, you can reach peak performance.
- Be conservative with heat and air conditioning. Have you ever blasted your heat to warm up your car, gotten too hot and switched over to air conditioning to balance the temperature? If so, you’re greatly reducing your fuel efficiency. Take advantage of nice weather and roll down your windows instead. Or if you’re worried about the cold, wear an extra layer until you get comfortable.
- Keep clutter to a minimum. Inspect the contents of your vehicle. Do you have items that you leave in your car on a regular basis out of convenience, even if you don’t use them? Every additional pound that adds to the weight of your vehicle is reducing your fuel efficiency. Schedule some time every week to clear the clutter out of your vehicle and the engine won’t have to work as hard to carry you down the road.
To learn more simple ways to reduce wasteful spending in your life, stop by a Milford Bank branch location to speak with a financial advisor, or check out more helpful hints at our online Learning Center here.