Many families choose to take road trips over long weekends, and with Memorial Day being this weekend, more people than ever will take to the open road. This can be quite the scary notion for two distinct reasons. For starters, gasoline is spiking at $4.00 per gallon which makes travel expensive even just across town. The second reason is that more and more drivers on the road seem to be getting their drivers license without having taken the test. I drive roughly 20 minutes each way to and from work in Southern California and to be honest, I fear for my life nearly every time. Between cell phones, eating, passengers, and plenty of other distractions, it is a very dangerous world. Hopefully these tips can help keep you be safe and thrifty over the holiday weekend.
One way to temporarily increase fuel economy is by coasting to a stop. If you notice a light turn red in the distance - do not speed up just to stop short at the end. By letting the car coast as if it were in neutral you can boost gas mileage and save your brakes. The brakes on your car will ultimately bring you to a halt and keep your car from moving, but up until they are needed all they do is waste kinetic energy. Allowing your car to coast in stop and go traffic situations will allow the engine to work less, the brakes to work less, and will most likely cut down on those irritating false starts.
Hit the jump for more money-saving tips.
When we are driving around town, we love to be the first person at a stop light. It gives that sense of being at a drag strip when the light turns green and you get to essentially race against the other drivers. It turns out that my tactic of getting up to speed quickly may be more practical than reckless after all. The faster your car is traveling, up to a point, than the less your engine has to work in order to keep it moving. That means that when you start off slowly from a stop, your engine is having to exert more force and use more gasoline to get up to higher speeds. By moving through this lower efficiency time frame faster, you can ultimately increase your mileage. Popular Mechanics was able to discover that taking 15 seconds to accelerate your vehicle to 50mph uses less fuel than using 30 seconds to reach an equal speed.
Possibly the most quirky idea for saving fuel this weekend is to only make right turns. This is essentially playing a game against the flow of traffic. We all know that it takes less time to turn right on most streets than to sit in the left lane and wait for traffic to pass or a green arrow to appear. If you are able to avoid traffic by turning right, even if the distance ends up being further, than you may be able to gain a few precious mpgs by not waiting around at a light.