Fuel Economy Tip – Accelerate Less Rapidly

Today’s tip is along the same lines as yesterday’s, only it doesn’t concern how fast you go, rather how fast you get to that speed.

Accelerate less rapidly.

How many times have you pulled up to a red light or stop sign and then “floored it” when the light turned green or it was your turn to go? That’s a great strategy if you’re a professional drag racer or you just like to waste gas and ruin your vehicle’s fuel economy.

According to Car Junky.com, rapid acceleration, coupled with excessive breaking, can reduce your vehicle’s gas mileage by up to 33% at highway speeds and up to 5% during local driving.

That’s a significant amount of money you’re losing for just wanting to be the first person off the line or to fly past the slow poke in the middle lane.

Imagine being able to save literally hundreds of dollars each year on your vehicle’s fuel costs by simply taking it easy when you accelerate.

Obviously, there are going to be times when you need to “punch it” but if you can minimize those times, you’re not going to needlessly lose money each time you have to fill up your vehicle.


  1. wow. big deal. the us government will just gougue us more once they know we are cutting back on consumption.

  2. Come on, there’s no vast conspiracy going on here. It’s a simple economic issue of supply and demand. With 1/3 of the world’s population (India and China) beginning to consume more oil, prices were bound to go up.

  3. Anonymous says

    Wrong, if you accelerate slower when the light turns green less cars can get thru the green light. Meaning that more cars are going to have to wait for the light to turn green, thus waisting fuel.

  4. I don’t think it would really make that much of a difference, maybe a car or two.

  5. You need to be careful with this advice, because at part throttle (accelerating slowly), so-called “pumping losses” in the engine go way up. For the same reason your car is more efficient at 55 than 25 miles an hour, accelerating relatively quickly can be more efficient, with two important caveats:

    First, do you really need to be going that fast? On a freeway onramp, the answer is probably yes. If the traffic light up ahead is red, the answer is no.

    Second, don’t floor it *all* the way. That puts the engine computer into “oh s–t” mode, pumping a good deal more fuel into the engine than you get out in the form of more speed (the idea being that if you’re flooring it, the engine assumes every little bit of acceleration counts, fuel economy be damned).

    And for the nerd patrol, yes, if you’re driving a diesel, this doesn’t apply: they don’t, strictly speaking, *have* throttles (or the associated pumping losses).

  6. Thanks for your comments. I haven’t heard about how slower accelerations can lead to “pumping losses” but it’s something I’ll look into. Thanks for the info.

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