Switch to a Motorbike for Cheaper Commutes

We’re always looking for ways to save money on transport, and with fuel prices changing every day, one of the best ways to make sure you save cash is simply to use less fuel. While drivers can try to reduce fuel consumption in all sorts of ways, from accelerating more smoothly to ensuring they have the correct tyre pressure, perhaps the most dramatic way to spend less on fuel is to switch to life on two wheels.

Not only does a motorcycle get many, many more miles to the gallon than an equivalent car, but a number of associated costs are considerably lower too. The Get On campaign recently compared the running costs of a Honda CBF 125n against a Vauxhall Corsa 1.0i, finding that £10 worth of petrol will take the biker 258 miles, while the driver just gets just 82 miles for the same amount. Bikers also spend much less on the cost of lessons and taking the test – £170 compared with a massive £1,077 for drivers.

Another area where motorcyclists save money is insurance. Specialist companies like MCE Insurance will offer much lower premiums for motorcycles than it would cost to insure a car, due to bikes generally costing much less to repair or replace in the event of an accident. According to Motorcycle News magazine, insuring a car costs on average three times more than insuring a motorbike.

Finally, road tax is also much lower for bikers, who also enjoy free parking in many major cities. Added together, all these benefits make switching to two wheels an easy choice for those who want to save cash, whether it just be on their daily commute, or on a full-scale adventure such as the ones we found here!

Fuel Economy Tip – Get All the Snow and Ice Off of Your Car

Well, it’s been quite a while since I posted an actual fuel economy tip here, so I figured it was about time to get a new and useful tip up here.  Hopefully the winter will continue to be nice and mild so this tip won’t be necessary, but in case you get stuck in a winter storm, this tip will probably be pretty handy.

Make sure all of the snow and ice is off of your car before you start driving down the road.

Aside from the safety issues (both for you and for other people on the road with you), getting all of the snow and ice off of your car will help you achieve much better gas mileage thanks to two main reasons:

  1. Weight
  2. Aerodynamics

If you’ve got a couple inches of snow or a layer of ice on your car it’s not enough to just clear your car’s windows – you need to get everything off your car.

Leaving a lot of snow and/or ice on your car will add between 50 and 100 pounds of additional weight to your car.  This extra weight will reduce your gas mileage between 1% and 2%.

In addition to reducing your car’s gas mileage thanks to the extra weight, the snow and ice will reduce gas mileage by reducing how aerodynamic your car is.

So, even though it can be a pain, make sure you clear all of the snow and ice off of your car before you head down the road.

Fuel Economy Tip – Don’t Put Flags on Your Car

Today’s tip will help you save a little bit of gas and money; however it may lessen your ability to call yourself a die-hard fan of your favorite team.

Don’t fly flags outside your car’s windows.

If you live near any major sports team, whether it’s college or professional, the chances of you not seeing at least one car with their favorite team’s flag flying outside one of the car’s windows is pretty slim to none. 

I’m all for supporting your team (I’m a life long Redskins fan), but I recommend supporting your team in a way that doesn’t waste as much gas.  When you have these flags attached to your car, you are dramatically increasing the amount of drag on your vehicle.  This means your car’s engine has to work harder to get up to and maintain speed.

The harder your engine works, the more gas you waste.

So, paint your face, wear team colors, tailgate in the parking lot, do whatever it is you have to do to show support for your team, but keep the car flags at home. 

Fuel Economy Tip – Keep Your Tailgate Up

Today’s tip will probably come as a surprise to most of you, but will be especially useful for those of you who drive trucks.

Driving with your tailgate down doesn’t help you save gas.

I’ll be the first to admit, I bought into the notion that by having your truck’s tailgate down while you’re driving down the road (especially the highway) you would greatly increase your truck’s fuel economy. Apparently that just isn’t true.

According to several sites (Ask Yahoo! for example) state that you get roughly the same gas mileage driving with your tailgate up as you do when your tailgate is down.

According to the Ask Yahoo! article, this is the reason why:

“When the tailgate is raised, a “separated bubble” of stagnant air is formed in the bed of the pickup. Wind tends to swoosh over this bubble as though it were part of the truck. Lower the tailgate, and the bubble disappears, which leads to increased wind resistance.”

So, get rid of that net you used to replace your tailgate and go ahead and drive around with your tailgate up!

Fuel Economy Tip – Avoid the Spoiler

Today’s tip may or may not be able to help you out, but if it can, it’ll help you save a bunch of cash.

If you can help it, avoid having (or adding) a spoiler on your car.

Look, I know this isn’t going to help you if you have a car that already has one, but maybe this will help dissuade you from getting a car with a spoiler or adding one to your car.

The basic function of a spoiler is to add downforce to your car to help improve handling at high speeds, so at it’s very nature, having a spoiler will hurt your fuel economy.

Much like when you have your sunroof or windows open, a spoiler adds a lot of drag to your car, which, as I’m sure I’ve made you aware, drastically reduces your vehicle’s gas mileage.

So, if you can avoid buying a car that’s got a spoiler, or can avoid putting one on your car when you “trick it out,” you’ll save a bunch of money.

Fuel Economy Tip – Clear the Roof

Today’s tip is another one taken from the obvious category, but is still a great way to help you save on gas. Besides, we can always use a friendly reminder.

Clear the roof of your car.

People seemingly have more stuff and less room to carry it, so many drivers have resorted to carrying these extra items on the roof of their vehicles. Whether you’re carrying items by just strapping them down or are placing them in carriers designed to be placed on the roof of your car, you are significantly reducing your vehicle’s gas mileage.

The first reason you are hurting gas mileage is because you are adding extra weight to your vehicle. As I said before, adding weight to your car decreases fuel economy 1% for every extra 100 pounds you carry.

The second reason you are reducing your fuel economy is because by placing items on the roof of your vehicle you are making it less aerodynamic – much like having your sunroof open – and are increasing the amount of drag.

At highway speeds, carrying items (especially bulky items) on the roof of your vehicle can reduce your gas mileage between 2% and 10%, which is essentially adding between $.06 and $.30 to each gallon of gas you buy.

So, if you can get away with carrying all of your items in your vehicle, you’ll be much better served.

Fuel Economy Tip – Keep Your Sunroof Closed

Today’s tip is right along the lines of the previous “Roll Up Your Windows” tip.

Keep your sunroof closed.

Obviously, if your car doesn’t have a sunroof, pay no mind. But, if you do have the “luxury” of a sunroof, make sure you keep it shut.

Just like when you have your windows rolled down, having your sunroof open will increase the amount of drag on your vehicle, making it less aerodynamic. Again, the less aerodynamic your vehicle is, the harder it has to work to move through air.

If you are just taking a leisurely drive through the neighborhood (driving 25 mph or so) the amount of drag placed on your vehicle won’t make a noticeable difference, but the amount of drag placed on your vehicle at highway speeds (55 mph or more), an open sunroof may reduce your fuel economy by 3 or 4 percent.

Fuel Economy Tip – Roll the Windows Up

With the weather being nice, I’m sure many of you wouldn’t mind hopping in the car, rolling down the windows and going for a drive. While that’s not a bad idea, you may want to keep the windows up if you’re trying to get good gas mileage out of your leisurely drive.

Keep your car’s windows up, especially the faster you go.

A car is its most aerodynamic (meaning it moves through the air with less resistance) when the windows are rolled up.

When your vechicle’s windows are down, especially at highway speeds, there is more drag placed on the vehicle. Drag is the force that opposes your car’s movement, so the less amount of drag, the less amount of energy (gas) your car has to use to get up to and maintain speed.

By having the windows down at highway speeds, you can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 3%, or roughly add $.09 to each gallon of gas you use! For a 15 gallon car that is filled up once per week, that adds up to over $70 per year.

Especially when the weather is nice (not hot), you should be able to keep the windows up and get away with using a cool vent.

We’ll talk more about using the AC in a following tip.

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