Driving in the city can sometimes be fun, but sometime many of us stress over dealing with traffic, finding a parking space, and other hassles of urban driving. Driving in the city also takes more gas which means more money out of your pocket. Here are some techniques that might help you save hundreds of dollars in fuel annually, reducing vehicle emissions, and even preventing wear and tear on your vehicle.
Maintain a Steady Speed
One of the most effective techniques is maintaining a steady speed. For example, when your speed varies between 46 and 52 miles per hour every 19 seconds, your gas use increases by 20%. This is bad both for your bank account and your car.
Maintaining a steady speed, especially when going uphill or downhill, helps you protect your car engine. To make sure that your speed is steady, you can use the option of setting a cruise control speed—effective, especially when the city is not crowded, and your route does not involve direction changes.
We all know those guys who press the accelerator pedal to the end when they are the first in line at a traffic light. Accelerating hard consumes a lot of fuel, and makes you look foolish at best. Instead, take your time to press the accelerator pedal gently.
If you think it will help you, imagine you have a cup of coffee or tea which is open on the dashboard. You need to accelerate so gently you will not spill it.
The same goes for braking. Sudden accelerations and brakes consume a lot of fuel. Even though there are moments where you will be needed to make sudden changes, approach the situations calmly and carefully.
The thing that helps you accelerate gently and brake smoothly is observing the traffic. If you pay attention, you can anticipate when some pedestrians are going to cross the street.
If you keep the distance from the vehicle in front of you, you will be able to brake smoothly or use engine brake. And this will help you save gas while driving in the city.
Do Not Idle Your Car
When you stop at a traffic light, and you have to wait more than 60 seconds, you can turn off your engine. The amount of gas wasted is huge, over one cup of fuel every 10 minutes spent idling. You can save a lot of gas when you turn off your engine, but avoid doing this if you think you will not be idling more than one minute.
Do this during rush hour, traffic jams, and total stops due to crashes ahead. Most modern cars have a start and stop option that will automatically turn off your engine when the car is not moving. And when you press the accelerator pedal, it automatically turns on your engine.
Avoid Carrying Unnecessary Weight
We all know people whose trunk of the car is always full. And a lot of the things packed there are not useful nor necessary. Every 100 pounds you add to your car, it consumes 1% more gas.
You might think that it is not that much, but at the end of the month, you will see that you can save a lot of fuel by not carrying unnecessary weight.
Remove Bicycle Racks or the Car Roof Box
While a car roof box or bicycle racks are extremely helpful when traveling out of the city, they increase gas consumption. They modify the aerodynamics of your car, and this leads to an increase in fuel consumption between 2% and 8% when driving in the city. So, whenever you do not need these storage devices, have them removed. It takes more time to add and remove them, but this will help you save more gas while driving in the city.
Do Not Use Air Conditioning If You Do Not Need It
Air conditioning is known to increase gas consumption by up to 20%. If you don’t feel safe with the window down nor the heat is too much, by all means, use the ac.
Also, to minimize the impact and gas consumption, you can activate the option that allows the air to recirculate.
All the sudden stops add to gas consumption. If you plan your city trip, you can establish a route that works best for you. You can more easily avoid routes with accidents or roads that are under construction.
Choose lighter routes, without too many traffic lights or intersections. The smoother your route is, the more gas you will save. GPS devices, a map app, or even WAZE, might also be an option to help make your planning easier.
There are small changes you can make while driving in the city that will help you save more gas. If you adopt these daily changes, you will avoid unnecessary gas consumption.
Tobias Foster is a journalist and editor with more than five years’ work experience at Assignment Help UK. Mechanics, finance, and business are his passion, and he has a wealth of knowledge in that field. He offers advice on more sustainable ways of living.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.