DETROIT—Chevrolet recently drove two identical compact cars on a typical workday commute and compared a bunch of ways to save gas. The results show that sweating the small stuff could save drivers about $100 a month at the pump.
For the drive, GM fuel-economy engineers Ann Wenzlick and Beth Nunning drove identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs, which the EPA estimates get 24 miles-per-gallon in the city and 36 miles per gallon on highways.
Both cars were driven for 20 minutes in both city and highway scenarios and a stop for coffee.
Wenzlick averaged 37 miles per gallon using efficient driving habits in a properly maintained Cruze. Driving inefficiently and ignoring common maintenance, Nunning managed only 21 miles per gallon.
The difference means Nunning would get 250 fewer miles per tank of gas, while Wenzlick would save $100 a month assuming 15,000 miles and $4 a gallon for gas.
5 Driving Tips to Save at the Pump
- Skip the drive-through lane. Idling for 15 minutes burns about a litre of gas
- Don’t jump on the gas. Driving smoothly can improve your mileage by 20 per cent.
- Drive 100, not 110 kph. Slowing down slightly on the highway can save up to 2km a litre.
- Use cruise control. Maintaining a constant speed over time is much more efficient than speeding up and slowing down.
- Roll up the windows. At slower speeds, turning off the air conditioning can save you a little, but always roll up the windows on the highway. Driving with the windows down increases air pressure that will consume more energy than air conditioning.
5 Vehicle Mistakes That Hurt KPL:
- Check your tires at least once a month. A tire that is 10 pounds under pressure can cut your fuel efficiency by 3 per cent.
- Dump the roof ornaments. At highway speeds, up to a third of your fuel is used to overcome wind resistance, so even small changes to your vehicle’s aerodynamics will have a big impact in fuel economy.
- Carrying extra junk in the trunk. According to EPA estimates, every 100lbs of weight can reduce fuel economy by 2 per cent.
- Don’t ignore the “check engine” light. Serious engine problems can cut your fuel economy by up to 40 per cent.
- Bundle errands. An engine at operating temperature is up to 50 per cent more efficient than a cold engine. So, it’s better to run five errands in an afternoon rather than one errand every day of the week.