The other day I came across an article titled "Hypermilling / 104 Eco Driving Tips". In these days of $4 gas everyone can use a little help saving money on fuel, while many of these trick are a little over the top for me (e.g. time trips to take advantage of strong tailwinds; or how about this one: "drive shoeless"), some are actually pretty useful.
Over the past weeks I have been trying to improve my Geo Prizm's gas mileage - not so much because I am trying to save money on gas (although that's nice too), but more because I figure I should do as much as I can to reduce emissions. OK, so I am a little spoiled and don't do much for the environment, but if it's within reach, why not?
Here are some of the tips from the article that I found most useful:
- Avoid Drive-Thrus - instead of standing in line for that burger while your engine's idling, park and go in. Also, if you are really into cutting down emissions, a vegetarian burger might be a better choice (I know, but occasionally, you just can't beat a burger).
- Use the fan instead of the air conditioner - I typically turn on the air conditioning pretty much as soon as I turn on the engine. In recent weeks I discovered that the fan works just as well in many cases, especially if you first open the windows for a couple of minutes to let the hot air escape.
- Maintain a Space Cushion - keeping a fair distance between you and the next car allows you avoid constantly alternating between the gas and break pedals. Once you get used to driving at a smooth, constant speed it's also much more relaxing.
So far my gas mileage has increased about 10% from 28 MPG to 31 MPG. I think that's about the most that I can do with the Geo without getting "extreme", but this coming week I will take a crack at throwing out a few things from the trunk and see what the impact is.