Fuel Economy Tip – Minimizing Idling

Today’s tip, according to Fueleconomy.gov, could help you increase your vehicle’s gas mileage by up to 17%!

Reduce the amount of time your car is in idle!

I came across a great article and diagram on Fueleconomy.gov that states the following:

“Only about 15% of the energy from the fuel you put in your tank gets used to move your car down the road or run useful accessories, such as air conditioning. The rest of the energy is lost to engine and driveline inefficiencies and idling. Therefore, the potential to improve fuel efficiency with advanced technologies is enormous.”

That’s an amazing statistic! If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, for every 10 gallons of gas your car uses, only 1.5 gallons are used in getting your car down the road (or to use your AC, etc.).

So, with that being said, unless you are a mechanical engineer or just happen to be a wiz with your car’s engine, the only real possibility for you to save gas is to reduce the amount of time your car is idling. According to the chart on the site I referenced, 17.2% of your car’s fuel is wasted while your car idles.

So, with gas being about $3 per gallon, every $.52 you spend on gas is wasted while your car sits in idle.

Here are some things you can do to help reduce the amount of time your car is in idle:

  • Avoid being on the road during rush hour. Even staggering your commute by 30 minutes can have a great impact on the amount of time you sit on the highway.
  • If you know of times when your car is going to sit and idle (running into a friend’s house, going into Blockbuster to pick up a movie, etc.) go ahead and park the car and turn the engine off.
  • Instead of turning on your car and then putting on your seat belt, adjusting your mirrors, picking out a CD, rolling the windows up or down, etc., go ahead and do those things BEFORE you start your car.
  • In the winter, don’t let your car sit and idle while you warm it up or scrape frost off the windows. Scrape the frost off before you start your car and invest in a nice set of gloves to where while you’re driving down the road, waiting for your car to warm up.
  • Same thing goes for idling while running the AC and waiting for the car to cool in the summer.
  • Avoid going through the drive thru. Just go in and order your food.

Obviously this isn’t an all intensive list, but hopefully it’ll give you a few ideas on ways you can reduce the amount of time your car idles.

Fuel Economy Tip – Go Early, Stay Late

I got today’s tip from a commercial for Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but I thought it was a pretty good idea for helping to save gas while on the road for your summer vacation(s).

Go early, stay late. The basic idea behind this commercial’s motto (and today’s tip) is to avoid getting stuck in traffic by being on the road during non-peak driving hours.

I would imagine that on a three or four hour trip to or from the beach (leaving your regular time and getting stuck in some traffic), you could shave off at least a half an hour by simply getting on the road during non-peak hours. In addition to saving time, you’re probably saving a gallon or more of gas, and that’s probably a conservative estimate!

This “go early, stay late” motto doesn’t just have to apply to your vacations; it can apply to your daily commute, going to a game, going shopping, etc.

Just goes to show that small changes in your driving habits can greatly affect your vehicle’s gas mileage and your bank account.

Fuel Economy Tip – Combine Trips

Today’s tip will help you save a bit of gas and hopefully make your shopping trips a little less time consuming.

Combine your short trips.

Let me give you an example from my own personal experience:

Last weekend I had to make three separate trips to different stores. I went to Office Depot (3 miles from my house) in the morning, Target (8 miles from my house) in the afternoon and Home Depot (5 miles from my house) in the evening.

So, all said and done, I traveled 32 miles to go shopping.

Because I’m a bit of a nerd, after I made it back home from Home Depot, I calculated how much gas I could have saved if I had simply combined all of the shopping trips into one larger trip. Here’s how it SHOULD have gone:

  • 3 miles from home to Office Depot
  • 2 miles from Office Depot to Home Depot
  • 4 miles from Home Depot to Target
  • 8 miles from Target back to my house

If I would have combined trips, I would have traveled only 17 miles as opposed to the 32 miles I traveled during the three separate trips.

By traveling those 15 extra miles, I wasted roughly a half a gallon of gas, based on my car’s 29 mpg average. With the cost of an average gallon of gas being around $3.00, I essentially wasted $1.50 by taking three separate shopping trips.

If you were to take those three separate trips each weekend, you’re losing $75 per year just for poor planning!

Moral of the story, think ahead and combine your small trips.

Fuel Economy Tip – Off Peak Driving

Today’s tip will not only help you save a lot of fuel, but hopefully it will help you save a lot of traffic induced aggravation.

Drive during off peak times.

Obviously, if you are on the road when there aren’t as many cars, you’ll spend less time stuck in traffic, which means less time idling. The less amount of time you spend idling, the less amount of gas you waste.

If you are lucky enough you be able to adjust your work hours slightly, this will probably save you the most amount of gas. From personal experience, by leaving my house to go to work even just a half an hour earlier (from 7:00 to 6:30), I’ve reduced the amount of time it takes me to commute to work by 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of being able to adjust our work hours. That being said there are still plenty of ways you can drive during off peak hours. For example, instead of going grocery shopping at 11 am on Sunday morning (and getting stuck in church traffic) get up a little bit earlier and get your day started at 8:30.

Pretty much, driving during off peak hours boils down to your ability to be on the road either earlier or later than everyone else.

Fuel Economy Tip – Take Care of Things Before You Start the Car

Today’s tip will help you find several small ways to help reduce the amount of time you idle shortly after you start the car.

Do all the little things BEFORE you start your vehicle.

Here’s a list of some things people regularly do AFTER they start their vehicle that should be done BEFORE they start their vehicle.  Keep in mind, this isn’t an all inclusive list, so if you can think of other things that you should do before you start the car, please feel free to leave a comment:

  • Put on their seat belt
  • Flip through their CDs
  • Adjust side and rear view mirrors
  • Make sure children are buckled in
  • Roll down windows (yes, some people, like myself, still have cars without automatic windows)

In the grand scheme of things, you’re probably reducing the amount of time your vehicle idles by between 10 and 30 seconds each time you hop in for a drive. While you’re certainly not saving gallons gas by performing these tasks before you start your vehicle, the fact is that you are saving gas and over time it will add up.

By doing the small things listed above before you start your car, I wouldn’t be surprised you saved between $10 and $25 per year.

While that doesn’t seem like much, it all adds up!

SEO Powered By SEOPressor