Summer is here, school is out and that means: It’s Road Trip Time! Here at your Dallas Fort Worth Buick GMC dealer, Freeman Grapevine, we love our road trips. Of course when you sell some of the best cars on the road, it’s hard not to.
If you are planning on taking a road trip this year, be it a family reunion, or just visiting parts of the US, we know that that price of gas is the first thing you are going to consider before you even make the decision on where you should take your road trip. In fact, in many cases the price of gas is going to dictate where you go and how long you are going to be gone. Factor in all of the food and lodging you may be spending cash on, and all of a sudden, that fuel tank seems like it is getting smaller.
So how do you save on gas and still go where you want? Check out this great list of gas-saving road trip tips I found via CNN :
Pick the right tool for the job: If you have more than one car to choose from, don’t just try to squeeze everyone into the one – or two – that go the furthest on a gallon. First of all, if you think you’re saving gas by splitting the crew into two small cars rather than taking the big SUV, you’re not. Remember, two small cars will burn gas twice as fast as one, and that’s probably faster than your SUV.
Also, packing too much into a small car can lead to the use of roof-top racks and bins, which seriously undermine fuel economy. (More on that in a moment.) Besides that, jamming everyone and everything into a too-small car can be just plain uncomfortable on a long trip and the point is to have fun, not start fights.
Pack light and smooth: Extra weight cuts fuel economy, so try to pack as light as possible. The savings are slight, but every extra 100 pounds cuts your fuel economy by about 2%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
More importantly, don’t pack more than you can fit inside the vehicle. This is especially important. Packing stuff on roof-top bins and racks cut fuel economy by about 21%, according to tests done by Edmunds.com.
And those roof-top racks with crossbars, even if left empty, also cut fuel efficiency. Take them off. Leaving them in place can reduce fuel economy by about 1%, according to Edmunds.com.
Use your cruise control: There are times when cruise control isn’t appropriate, such as in areas with heavy traffic or in bad weather. Also, using cruise control on hilly roads can actually use more fuel, not less, as your vehicle struggles to maintain speed while driving up hills.
But if you’re driving over relatively even terrain, cruise control can prevent unnecessary speed changes which waste gas. In tests by Edmunds.com, using cruise control at 77 mph improved fuel economy by 10 to 15 percent.
As an added benefit, cruise control prevents speed creep – the tendency to gradually increase your speed the longer you drive – and that can keep you from getting a costly speeding ticket.
Stay to the right: Even if you’re driving at a constant speed, going too fast wastes gas. Within the range of normal highway speeds, each 10 miles per hour faster will reduce your fuel economy by 15% to 20%, according to tests by Consumer Reports and Edmunds.com.
Going too slow isn’t safe either but at least try to stay out of the left lane where the traffic is fastest, unless you really need to pass someone. Again, this can also keep you from getting a ticket.
Calm down in town: When not in highway traffic, take it easy on the pedals. Aggressive acceleration and hard braking waste an amazing amount of fuel. In testing by Edmunds.com, aggressive driving cut fuel economy by about 25%.
Don’t worry about A/C: It’s debatable whether it uses more fuel to drive with your windows down on the highway or with the windows rolled up and the air conditioner on. In tests by Consumer Reports and Edmunds.com, it depended on the vehicle and speed. At 65 mph, using the air conditioner was slightly more draining. At higher speeds, it probably wouldn’t be.
Avoid getting stuck: This is something you’ll probably want to do anyway, but really try not to get stuck in traffic. Idling and slow driving wastes a lot of fuel, so plan to drive at times when few others are. Also, plan alternate routes ahead of time in case you hit unexpected snarls. Driving a little bit out of your way can use less fuel than crawling down the straight-and-narrow.
GPS satellite navigation tools can help by making it easier to change routes on the fly. Some newer models even include traffic warnings on the screen so you can see what you’re getting into.
Little things: For reasons of both safety and fuel economy, you should give your car a good once-over before setting off. Make sure tire pressure is set correctly, your filters are clear, your fluids are fresh and the engine is running well. These things will make only a slight difference to your fuel economy, but you should do them anyway to prevent wasting time waiting for a tow truck.
Make the most out of each road trip and who knows, with all of your savings you might be able to afford just one more road trip! But the main thing to do on a road trip is to have fun!
And now there are even apps that can help you watch your gas usage too. Check out FuelFrog which tracks your fuel usage once you provide them with the information for distance traveled, the price paid and how much fuel was used.
Before you hit the road, we always recommend checking that your fluids are good, especially the oil and the coolant levels. If you need to get your vehicle checked out before you hit the road, swing by Freeman Grapevine for a complete check up.
Have a nice trip!
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