With gas still well above $3 per gallon, many Columbia drivers are looking for ways to save on gas as they make Memorial Day road trips. Some simple tips, both in preparing your vehicle and yourself, can yield as much as a 40% difference in fuel economy and savings of over $1,000 per year.
Some of the easiest changes to make are to your own routines. Idling for fifteen minutes burns through a quarter of a gallon of gas on average–at $4.00 per gallon, that’s $1 added onto your bill when you go through a busy drive-thru instead of shutting the engine off and going inside. Smooth acceleration from a stoplight will make you use the brakes less, both prolonging their life and increasing your fuel economy by as much as 20 percent. (Even hybrid cars don’t get a pass there. Regenerative braking systems can help capture some of the energy lost to friction and heat, but it’s not 100% efficient.) Additional gains can be made by maintaining a steady speed with cruise control, keeping it to 70 on the highway instead of 80, which helps cut down how hard your engine has to work to maintain speed. Lastly, bundling trips can help you save at the pump–aside from driving less, an engine warmed up to its operating temperature is up to 50% more efficient than a cold one.
Beyond smart driving, a few tweaks to your vehicle can make big changes in your gas mileage. Among the most important things you can do are:
- Low tire pressure – Having tires 5 PSI below their rated pressure (found on your driver door jamb) won’t significantly affect how the vehicle drives, but it will make your engine work harder. Going 10 PSI below the specified pressure, aside from increasing the chances the tire will blow out, will cut your gas mileage by more than three percent.
- Roof ornaments – As much as you want to show your school spirit, flags, banners, and things on your roof rack all contribute to wind resistance–which accounts for 33% of your fuel consumption at speed. Even minor changes will result in big gains here.
- Extra weight – The EPA estimates every additional 100 pounds your vehicle carries reduces gas mileage by 2 percent. There’s nothing wrong with buying that 50-pound bag of water softener, but be sure to take it out when you get home!
- Use the air conditioner – This might sound counterintuitive, but at highway speeds you’re better rolling up your windows and running the air conditioner. Much like big things on your roof, rolling down your windows at high speeds increases the air pressure in the car and makes it act like a big drag chute, making the engine work harder and burn more gas than if you used the air conditioner to begin with.
Jim Hudson GMC Offers Efficient Trucks & SUVs
Jim Hudson GMC is proud to offer a host of fuel-efficient trucks, SUVs, and crossovers that get great gas mileage. GMC Terrain offers seating for 5 and an EPA-estimated 32 highway miles per gallon, while GMC Acadia features seating for up to 8 and better fuel economy than the Honda Pilot. GMC Sierra offers a two-mode hybrid model, while the XFE model offers 5.3L V8 power and 22 highway miles per gallon. For more information, and to see Jim Hudson’s Columbia SC Memorial Day sale weekend offers, we encourage you to visit our South Carolina GMC Dealer website or call us toll-free at (888) 377-4971.