With the price of gas these days, you want to use as little of it as possible. You might even be thinking of trading for a more efficient model, but before you go that far, have a look at our fuel-saving tips. No matter what you’re driving, paying attention to the details can help you save money at the pumps.

Don’t put pedal to the metal

Slowing down can make a big difference. It’s estimated that if you drive at 120 km/h instead of 90 km/h, you can use as much as 20% more fuel. But even if you’re not willing to take more time getting to your destination, you can still save gas by improving your driving.

Accelerate moderately

So-called “jackrabbit” starts to waste a lot of fuel. Press the throttle gradually, rather than a hard stomp. You’ll still get up to speed without holding up other drivers.

Decelerate the same way 

If the light’s red or traffic is stopped ahead, take your foot off the throttle well before you get there. Most vehicles will gradually slow down and coast toward the stop. When you do brake you don’t have to do it as hard, which helps make your brakes last longer. 

Be consistent

Instead of cruising at a steady speed, some drivers are constantly on and off the throttle, which increases fuel consumption. If you can’t seem to keep your foot steady, use the cruise control whenever possible.

Anticipate your next move

Always look as far ahead as possible when you drive, which increases your level of safety as well as your fuel economy. If there’s a bus stopped up ahead or traffic is slowing but other lanes are clear, seeing the issue early enough may give you enough time to move over so you don’t have to stop. You use the most fuel when you’re accelerating from a stop, so this can potentially save a lot.

Lighten the load

More weight equals more fuel, so clean out anything you’re not using immediately. Camping equipment, bags of fertilizer or other items you haven’t yet put away aren’t helping you save gasoline.

Keep the roof cleaned off as well. Roof-top cargo carriers and the crossbars on your roof racks create wind resistance, which in turn affects fuel economy.

Check the tires

If a tire is low on air, it increases its rolling resistance and it takes more energy to move it (it can also wear unevenly or prematurely too). It’s a good idea to check your tire pressure once a month, including the spare tire if you have one.

The recommended pressure can be found on a placard inside the driver’s door jamb, in the glovebox, or inside the fuel filler door. Don’t use the number molded into the tire’s sidewall, which only indicates the maximum the tire can hold. 

Dial gauges, stick gauges or electronic gauges are available at auto parts stores, and you should use these to check when you fill the tire, even if there’s a gauge on the air pump. Some vehicles include a feature that chirps the horn or flash the lights when you’ve filled a tire to its recommended pressure.

Even if you have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you should still check the tires regularly. This system warns when a tire falls to a percentage below the recommended pressure, but it could be low enough to affect your fuel economy even if it isn’t sufficient to activate the warning.

Turn only the tires you need

If your vehicle offers the option to turn off all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, do so if you’re not driving on wet, slippery or off-road surfaces.

Select the best drive mode

Some vehicles include selectable drive modes, which optimize the throttle, engine and transmission response as needed. Use the “Economy” setting if there is one. Avoid “Sport,” which tends to rev the engine higher and keep the transmission in a lower gear for a longer period.

Use the right fuel

If your vehicle indicates premium fuel is “recommended,” you can use regular-grade 87-octane gas, but if it says “required,” you need to pump in the expensive stuff. If you don’t, the car’s computer will adjust the engine timing to make up for the missing octane. When it does, the engine may run poorly and end up using more fuel, wiping out your per-litre savings. 

Avoid idling

Turn your engine off if you’re going to be parked and waiting for a while. Some vehicles include an engine start/stop function, which shuts off temporarily when you’re stopped at a light and then restarts immediately once you take your foot off the brake. Most can be disabled with a button, but you’re best to leave it activated so it can save you some fuel.

Maintain your vehicle

Engines run at their peak efficiency when they’re well-maintained. Follow your vehicle’s scheduled maintenance schedule, including oil and filter changes. If you find your vehicle is using more fuel than usual, mention it to your mechanic, as it could indicate a bad sensor or other issue that’s causing the problem.

Incorporate all the changes to your habits

By themselves, each suggestion may only save a small amount of fuel, but they’ll add up if you follow as many as possible. If it’s not yet time to trade in for a more fuel-efficient model, you can still help reduce how much you use.

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10 Fuel Saving Tips Through Driving