Make us your home page

Driving, vehicle tips will help you cut down on fuel costs

With gas at $4 a gallon nationally, and around $3.50 in the Tampa Bay area, everyone is looking to save money at the pump. For many drivers, small changes in how you drive can save you a significant amount of money. Based on data from Chevrolet, the fuel economy of drivers in identical cars can vary as much as 75 percent. Using identical models — the Chevy Cruz in this case — on a typical weekday commute, drivers returned a difference of 40 percent. That's a difference of 150 miles over a tank of gas and $100 a month over a year. To help squeeze more miles out of each gallon, Chevrolet offers these tips. Times staff writer

Driving tips

Go inside for your coffee rather than wasting gas waiting in the drive-through lane. Idling for 15 minutes could burn a quarter of a gallon of gas, adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.

On the interstate, try driving 70 instead of 80, as every additional 10 mph costs you 4 miles per gallon.

In town, driving with the A/C off and the windows down can save you as much as 10 percent of your fuel economy. At highway speeds, it's better to drive with the windows up, as the added wind resistance consumes much more fuel than air-conditioning.

Avoid aggressive acceleration, as jumping on the gas at every stoplight can decrease your fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.

Use cruise control when possible, as maintaining a consistent speed is much more efficient than repeatedly speeding up and slowing down.

Vehicle tips

Check your tire pressure. 10 pounds under the recommended pressure can cut your fuel efficiency by more than 3 percent.

Avoid any changes to your vehicle's aerodynamics. Up to a third of your fuel is used to overcome wind resistance at highway speeds, so even little changes like bike racks and window flags can have a big impact on fuel economy. When the season is over, take down your sports flags.

Avoid carrying extra weight, as every 100 pounds of cargo can decrease fuel efficiency by 2 percent or more.

Follow your service schedule, and don't ignore the "check engine" light. A serious engine problem can cost up to 40 percent of your fuel economy.

Consolidate your errands into one trip, or one afternoon. An engine at operating temperature is up to 50 percent more efficient than a cold engine.

Driving, vehicle tips will help you cut down on fuel costs 05/24/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 24, 2012 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24


    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters


    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights


    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.


    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]