Saving Gas While Road Tripping Through Texas
Texas is a road tripper’s paradise. From the rolling Hill Country and the desert mountains of the west to the Eastern pine forests and the coastal prairies near the Gulf, our great state plays host to nearly every landscape that an adventure-seeker could dream of. But all that driving could be costly if you’re not maximizing your vehicle’s fuel economy. Below, we’ve compiled some tips for saving gas and money while exploring the Lone Star State.
Check your Tire Pressure
Properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by up to 3 percent. It’s recommended that you check your tire pressure once a month and before long trips. You can find the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure by looking at the sticker in the door jamb or in your owner’s manual.
Idle Less, Save More
No one wants to stop when they’re driving–we get in our cars to go! Certain stops are unavoidable, though; whether it’s for a train, waiting to pick up barbeque in a drive-thru line, or a longhorn bull that won’t seem to move off the road, idling can use between a quarter and a half gallon of fuel per hour. If you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds, save gas by turning your car off. However, try to limit your engine’s starts to ten a day to reduce wear on your car’s starter.
Maintain your Vehicle
If you drive around in a vehicle that needs repairs, you may be needlessly spending more on gas than you would otherwise. An out-of-tune vehicle, such as one that’s failed an emissions test, can lose an average of 4 percent on gas mileage. Repairing a serious problem, like a broken O2 sensor, can improve your gas mileage by up to 40 percent.
Watch your Speed
While vehicles have different fuel economies at varying speeds, gas mileage generally decreases sharply at speeds above 50 miles per hour. For each 5 mph you drive over 50, it’s like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is not only safer, but it allows your vehicle to run at maximum efficiency. Slowing down will also give you a chance to enjoy the Texas scenery. And don’t forget that aggressive driving—accelerating quickly and braking hard—lowers gas mileage by up to 3 percent at highway speeds, and 5 percent in the city.
Change that Oil
Changing your oil is important. It’s not only vital for keeping your engine cool, it improves your gas mileage as well. If you change your motor oil yourself, don’t forget to dispose of the used oil in the proper place–never dump it down a drain! Find out where you can recycle used motor oil.
Combine your Errands
Several short trips, each one beginning with a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one long trip covering the same distance. With a little bit of planning, multiple errands can be combined into a single trip. And if you can plan your trip to avoid rush hour traffic jams, you can save even more gas, time, and money.
Roof Cargo is a No-Go
Avoid hauling cargo on your roof. Due to aerodynamics, a large, blunt roof-top cargo box can reduce fuel economy by 2 to 8 percent in city driving, 6 to 17 percent on the highway, and 10 to 25 percent at Interstate speeds (65 mph to 75 mph). Consider a rear-mounted device to haul your cargo. It will reduce fuel economy by much less—only 1 or 2 percent in city driving and 1 to 5 percent on the highway.