Most drivers realize that an automobile uses the most gas when it accelerates. This most basic law of physics, that force equals mass times acceleration, also means that your car requires a lot less gasoline to keep moving forward than it does to get up to speed.
The reason is because inherent inertia, or your car’s forward motion, reduces the amount of gasoline that your car’s engine needs to push it forward. It also means that, if you want to improve your mileage, one of the things that you need to learn how to do is use your brakes as little as possible, especially in moderate to heavy traffic.
Here’s a great example; when a person is stuck in heavy traffic and, instead of controlling their speed with their accelerator pad only they have to control it with both their accelerator and their brakes, they end up using a lot more gas because they lose their car’s forward inertia and have to use more gas in order to get back up to speed.
These are the people that you see in traffic that speed up and then use their brakes, then they speed up again and hit the brakes again, doing this over and over while they sit in traffic and not only waste time but also waste a lot more of their precious gasoline.
This of course also poses a problem for the cars following directly behind this automobile, who must also brake unnecessarily in order to avoid causing an accident. In very heavy but still moving traffic over 90% of automobiles do this and, even though it’s relatively easy to hold a speed without stepping on the brake, they use them anyway and with them more gasoline.
The fact is that by simply keeping a little bit more distance between their car and the car in front of them these drivers would be able to use their accelerator only in order to keep their speed at a steady pace, even if it’s a slow pace, and keep their car’s inertia working for them.
This means not only paying attention to the car directly ahead of them but also to the cars ahead of that one so that, if necessary, they can anticipate when traffic is going to slow down and thus ease off of the gas instead of hitting the brakes.
What it all boils down to is simply this; every time you have to speed up you use more gas. It only makes sense that if your car is already moving forward, and you don’t have to slow it down constantly, you won’t have to speed back up constantly either and less you’ll save gasoline and money.
In fact, most experts say that if you can learn to do this and drive more efficiently you can save between 10 and 20% on gasoline cost, something that in this day of $4. a gallon gasoline is no small amount of savings.