Posted by Andy

Occasionally the need arises to conserve every last drop of fuel remaining in your fuel tank. Whether this is caused by negligence resulting in necessity or simply a newfound environmental consciousness, there are many ways to reduce the amount of fuel your vehicle uses to carry you over the road.

  1. Don’t step on the gas pedal as much.
    Seriously, this is probably the most important adjustment you can make to your driving style. Keep the pressure light. If you’re driving a stick, shift to the next gear sooner than you normally would. Don’t lug your engine, just shift sooner. If you’re in an automatic, use light pedal pressure. Don’t rev your engine above 2000 rpm – you’ll accelerate slower but use less fuel. Occasionally, letting off the gas for a moment will kick the transmission into a higher gear, cutting your revs and using less fuel.
  2. Coast.
    Modern fuel-injected vehicles will cut the fuel to the injectors during a prolonged period of coasting. Utilize every downward slope – take your foot off the gas and coast up to that stoplight. If you have to use your brakes, you’re wasting fuel! If you’re comfortable with the following technique, use it – but do not attempt this if you don’t feel safe. When you’re coasting down a longer stretch; say more than thirty seconds of coasting, shift into neutral and kill the engine. Be sure to immediately turn the key back to the ‘ON’ position so you’re still able to use your turn signals. Your vehicle will retain enough vacuum assist for your power brakes to function for a couple of pumps at most, so make sure you use them sparingly. Also, your power steering will not give you any assist when you’re coasting with the engine off – so be prepared for HEAVY steering. Coasting is the most fuel-efficient way to drive – if your engine is off, you’re using no fuel. Note that this will place more wear and tear on your engine’s starter (or clutch, if you’re in a stick – you are bump-starting your vehicle, I’m sure).
  3. Use Your Momentum
    This goes right along with #2. Don’t accelerate during turns – it wastes fuel. Coast through the turns and gently accelerate afterwards. Don’t slow way down for off-ramps or other turns, if you can help it. Yeah, you might get shoved up against your door, but you’ll exit the turn/ramp with enough speed to coast quite a long distance if you time everything right.
  4. Ride the Ridges
    You’ve probably noticed that roads wear more where everybody drives on them, forming ruts that gather standing water and bumps that steal momentum from your vehicle. Put your right wheel next to the solid white line on your right – it’s smoother, you’ll save your vehicle from having to expend energy plowing through standing water, and you’ll save fuel.
  5. Park Wisely
    This one’s simple. If you back into a space that faces downhill, you can simply shift your car into neutral with the engine off and coast out of the space without using fuel.

These techniques added together can stretch your next tank of fuel incredibly far. Try ‘em out and post your results in the comments.

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