It is pretty simple when it comes down to it; find ways to maximize your MPG. Driving a car can be analogous to a video game. For example, you can drive from point A to point B exactly as stated by your Navigation or Google Maps just like you can play Zelda on Nintendo from beginning to end, but Google Maps and your vehicle do not tell that there are tons of ways to manipulate your car that will save you real money and time by earning an extra 50 miles on the road compared to your previous full tank of gas in your 2013 Nissan Rogue.
Whether you are visiting family, heading to the beach or camping in the mountains, you are probably driving, as it is far more convenient then having to strip down at airport security and that is after paying United Airlines $25.00 for your bag. Considering 31.2 million people hit the roads on Memorial Day Weekend, US drivers will spend approximately $1.44 billion filling up at the pump.
So, in an attempt to save you some of your hard earned wages and to make a small impact on our environments (come on….every bit helps), here are the Top 5 Fuel Saving Tips that will enhance the amount of miles you will achieve while driving per gallon of gasoline this Memorial Day Weekend (and obviously anytime that you are driving your vehicle).
1. Plan Ahead & Pick Your Route Wisely
Most people are fairly lazy when it comes to this specific topic since vehicle navigation is becoming as standard as a CD player in new vehicles. Combine that with the prevalent use of smart phones and map applications and you fill find that most people simply get into their vehicle and then figure out how to get to their end point from the driver’s seat. Yet, since everyone relies on this method, the end result is having everyone on the same road at the same time in a gigantic traffic jam…..wasting fuel.
If you plan ahead, you can avoid this nightmare and waste of expensive fuel. It might mean taking the road less-traveled, but it could result in a more pleasant, scenic route, free of traffic and even if it’s longer, in terms of actual miles driven, it might prove quicker. A moving car that spends less time on the road is more efficient than one stuck in traffic for hours.
2. Check Your Tires
To start, make sure you tire is wearing evenly across the tread because if it is not, you may find yourself an unfortunate situation and/or with a much larger service bill the next time you visit your local Car Dealership. For example, if your tire tread is uneven, this might be a direct result of your vehicles alignment being off.
Or, your tire could just be under-inflated (I know that sounds awkward), which is a quick fix you can accomplish by yourself at any gas station in a matter of minutes. This is an easy fix and it will pay huge dividends. Lower tire pressures can adversely affect wear and increase drag, reducing gas mileage. From a safety standpoint, low pressure tries are my susceptible to overheat at high speeds, and will increase the potential for blowouts.
Tire pressure gauges are inexpensive, and a weekly check will ensure you are always at a safe, economical pressure.
Tires don’t have to cause you much stress, and confirming that yours are always in tip-top shape will both improve safety, and save you money on gas.
3. Check Your Car
Do a few quick checks over your automobile. By checking that the engine has sufficient oil, confirming all the lights work, and cleaning your vehicle before your departure are easy and inexpensive to do and increase the fuel efficiency of your ride.
Although you’ll likely be loading the car up with people and luggage, do a check around to make sure your car isn’t full of junk or unnecessary paraphernalia, like mine is, because it all adds weight, and weight is the enemy of efficient driving.
4. Timing Is Everything
Set off earlier and travel during off hours. No, really. New Yorkers know not to head to the Jersey Shore, Southampton, or the Catskills Friday night. If you have any control over your schedule, take an extra day off or travel at night. After dark, it will be cooler in the car, less taxing on your engine and you will burn less fuel.
Big rigs also take a break in the evening, so fewer trucks on the highway will give you peace of mind over your precious cargo…your loved ones and/or friends. Otherwise, avoid city centers and major interstate exchanges during rush hour or the hours right after lunch.
Finally, you will be able to drive slower (saving fuel) without the anxiety of sitting in traffic.
5. Drive Smoothly
Now we’re onto specific driving techniques. First, treat all the car’s controls with some respect so use smooth, measured inputs. Not only will it make things more pleasant for your passengers, but accelerating, braking and steering smoothly will mean less engine, brake and tire wear, which increases your vehicles fuel efficiency.
That is not to say you need to travel everywhere at a snail’s pace either. It’s better to accelerate briskly, but be sure to change gears earlier. In addition, reach your economical cruising speed sooner. Hence do not draw out your acceleration. The more time you spend in the process of accelerating, the less time you will spend at low revs in top gear, where the best economy can be had.
I hope these tips help you save a few bucks this weekend and whenever you decide to go on your next road trip.
Happy Driving This Memorial Day from everyone at Windsor Nissan!!!!
At this exact moment, thousands of parents are thinking about hitting the highway for a family road trip this summer. Destination? Anywhere but here. It’s an exciting prospect for kids, but it’s also fraught with difficulties, including sudden back-seat fights and frequent retreats to the iPod Zone.
Kids think road trips are cool, at least in theory. The mere suggestion that the family might be heading out on a week long odyssey usually ignites serious excitement. As soon as the wheels roll, of course, the anticipation instantly morphs into “Are we there yet?” The challenge parents face is to keep the excitement and sense of wonder alive, even on the long, potentially boring stretches.
Here are 12 tips gleaned from my own childhood memories and from conversations with parents, children and grown-up kids with road-tripping pasts.
Dredge up some family lore. Think of your road trip as a time to share some “family lore.” Every family has its own oral history, and road trips offer lots of together time, making them ideal occasions for storytelling. Dredge up those old favorite songs and games, too. As a child, I was an impatient traveler, and I am sure my folks find it amusing that I now make my living writing about the “magic” of taking road trips, but much of my enthusiasm for the road comes from those early family jaunts. Not only do I love the driving and the scenery, I can also sing dozens of vintage songs, play every car game known to man, and tell all the old stories passed down through generations of my family. I’m sure I whined, “Are we there yet?” often enough to drive my parents nuts, but those aren’t the memories that linger.
Brush up on your history and geology. Another gift you can give your children is a basic appreciation for the history and geology of the areas you travel through. Even if they grumble, squirm and roll their eyes, they’ll listen. I’m not the only one who can attest to the lifelong value of such discussions, including the sense of personal patriotic pride that arises from actually seeing purple mountains majesty, fruited plains and spacious skies. As an adult, I’ve became aware of just how precious this brand of knowledge is, and I now consider those family road trips some of the best education I received during my first 16 years on the planet.
Get low-tech. Which leads me to my next topic: DVD players, iPods and other electronic gadgets Call me a curmudgeon, but if these devices are used too often on a road trip, you might as well stay home. Nothing insulates people from their surroundings better than ear buds and a video screen. Take electronic gear along if you must, but limit its use if you want to create lasting road trip memories.
Hold a family planning session. Get a big map and plenty of highlighter markers, and then talk about the cool places that would appeal to all members of the trip. Gather information about your route from guidebooks and the Web. Discuss the scope of each traveling day, including how much time in the saddle and how much spent sightseeing and hanging out by the pool. Consider making each child responsible for a one day’s stopping places and restaurants. Including everyone in the planning process invests everyone in the trip and helps ensure a fun adventure for all. One of the most important topics to cover in the planning session is how often the kids will be able to rotate into the front seat. Make the right front seat, the “official navigator’s seat” and whoever is sitting there is designated as being “in charge” (at least for a few moments). The real treat is that it is much easier to see from the front seat and gets everyone involved. Of course, very young children should not be in the front seats because of the inherent air-bag dangers.
Make a trip clipboard. I recommend creating a trip clipboard to hold printed directions to the motels where you plan to stay; these are especially handy if you should reach a city after dark. (I use this technique myself on every road trip.) You can also include directions and information about specific sites and restaurants that you’re planning to see.
Check out your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is reliable and ready to go. Of special importance is a check of the tires, coolant and engine oil.
Pack a “Go Kit.” Include bottles of water, a fire extinguisher, beach towels, personal pillows, maps and atlases. And here are some more suggestions.
Pack a “Car Kit” for each child. Choose age-appropriate items including crayons or markers, pads of paper, bandanas, personal travel pillows, games, small toys, a few treats and the first day’s “travel allowance.” Travel allowances allow kids to shop in gift stores and tourist traps without begging for money at every stop. Maps of your route are also good for children old enough to read them. They can trace their progress, learn to navigate and even stop asking “Are we there yet?” quite as often. Put everything in a bag or other container that the child can also use to hold souvenirs, interesting “finds,” and so on; nylon lunch bags or small daypacks work well. Let the children know that they’ll be getting their Car Kits the day you leave home. That will give them one more thing to look forward to, and you won’t have any trouble at all getting them out of bed. You can add to the Car Kits as the trip progresses, giving the kids a little something to look forward to each morning.
Pack electronic devices. Consider a CB radio, portable DVD player, GPS receiver, audio books and inverters. Electronic entertainment devices can be helpful if you’re stuck in a traffic jam or you’ve exhausted all other options. Audio books are a great way to be entertained and yet remain alert and focused on the tasks of driving. Many companies now offer rental GPS units, which are both useful navigational tools and a source of information about road conditions. Portable CB radios with magnetic mounts allow you to be in touch with other drivers on the road and to get accurate weather reports.
Pack good eats. Though the kids may argue this point, it is not necessary to stop at every fast-food joint along the way. In fact, it is possible to get good nutrition on the road. Make sure everyone drinks twice as much water as they might at home. Take a good cooler along and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Prepare road trip snacks and consider packing a road trip picnic.
Eat and greet. Eat in unusual local restaurants at least sometimes, and make a point of speaking with locals or other travelers.
Keep it fun! Avoid vacationing at the same hectic pace as you live at home. A relaxing pace will be remembered more fondly than an overly ambitious one. Take the advice of a local or get off the highway at an unplanned exit and see what is to be found “around the next bend.” Drive fewer hours and spend more time lounging around the motel pool. By allowing time for serendipity, you will re-capture the wonder of the road trip adventure.
Got toddlers? Roadtrippers who are younger than five years old can sometimes present additional challenges. Consider organizing the traveling day so that you reach the motel after 8:00 pm, when the children are likely to fall asleep more easily. Pool time can be done in the morning. Spend the extra $$ to get as comfortable a car seat as possible. Plan to stop every two hours and let the little guys run, play, and blow off as much energy as possible. For more ideas, MomsMinivan.com has several good tips and suggestions.
As parents, you can design a family road trip that will give both you and your children memories to last a lifetime. Grab those markers and a map and start planning your escape!
Tips on Better Gas Mileage from Bob Maguire Chevrolet and Windsor Nissan
Tune Up: A properly tuned engine can improve fuel economy about 4 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fixing a serious issue – such as faulty oxygen sensor – can boost mileage up to 40 percent. And don’t ignore a service-engine-soon light.
Pump Up: Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. Under-inflated tires can lower fuel economy by 0.3 percent for every one pound-per-square-inch drop in the pressure of all four tires. Do not rely solely on the tire pressure monitoring system to detect an under-inflated tire – it’s best to check tires with a good gauge once a month and check your owner’s manual for more information.
Unpack: Carrying unneeded cargo makes your vehicle work harder and use more gas. The EPA says an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy up to 2 percent – even more in smaller vehicles. A loaded roof rack cuts fuel economy by up to 5 percent. About a quarter of each gallon of gas goes toward overcoming wind resistance, so when cargo rides on top of the vehicle, fuel economy is reduced. Even empty ski/snowboard and bike racks can affect aerodynamics, so remove them when the seasons are over.
Slow Down: While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph, according to the EPA. Every 5 mph over 60 mph is like adding an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas.
Avoid Idling: A car gets 0 mpg when the engine is idling: While it does take a small amount of fuel to restart a vehicle, 15 minutes in the drive-through can burn through a quarter of a gallon of fuel. So that dollar menu is more like a $2 menu.
Chill Out: Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in city driving.
Put it in Overdrive: Using an overdrive gear on the highway reduces engine speed, saving both fuel and engine wear.
Roll ‘Em Down Around Town: Air conditioning reduces fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. Avoid using the air conditioner by rolling down the windows at speeds below 40 mph. At speeds above 45 mph, wind drag uses more fuel than running the A/C.
Unclog: It’s hard to run if you can’t breathe. Older cars without fuel injection and computer-controlled technology can lose 14 percent of their fuel economy because of a dirt-clogged air filter, which also can damage the engine. A clean air filter improves acceleration. An air filter full of dirt makes the engine work harder and can let in impurities that damage the engine. Replacing a severely plugged filter improves fuel economy by up to 14 percent, according to the EPA. In modern cars, replacing a dirty or clogged air filter improves acceleration performance
Use the Right Oil: Because oil reduces engine friction and friction makes an engine work harder, using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil improves fuel economy by 1 percent to 2 percent.
Plan your Trips: Taking your kids to soccer or swim classes? Grocery shopping? Plan routes and timing to avoid heavy periods of traffic congestion.
Cap Check: Loose or poorly fitting gas gaps not only can trigger a “check engine light” warning, they send 147 million gallons of gasoline into the air as vapor every year, according to a report by the Discovery Channel. A missing or poorly fitting cap can reduce fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.
Want more tips? Check with your local Bob Maguire Chevrolet or Windsor Nissan Service Technician.
Bob Maguire Chevrolet
237 Route 130
Bordentown, NJ 08505
590 Route 130
East Windsor, NJ 08540
Green Maintenance Tips
You can save money and energy- and wear and tear on your vehicles-with proper care and maintenance. Here are the items that most affect fuel economy.
•Motor oil. Top off and change oil as necessary with manufacturer-recommended grade, “energy conserving” motor oils. Doing so can improve fuel economy by up to 2 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Replacing conventional oils with synthetics may offer even greater fuel economy benefits.
•Air filters. Make sure you change your air filter at the end of its recommended lifespan. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve a vehicle’s gas mileage by up to 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
•Engine performance. Enhance fuel economy performance by having engines tuned and spark plugs replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. A single misfiring spark plug can cut fuel economy by up to 4 percent, according to the EPA.
•Brakes. Improperly maintained brake can result in unwanted drag. This unnecessary resistance can have the same effect as driver with a good on the brake pedal: a dramatic drop in fuel economy.
•Warning lights for “Service Engine Soon” or “Check Engine.” Ignoring these indicators may result in poor fuel economy performance and require expensive repairs. For example, a warning light may indicate a faulty oxygen sensor is sending more fuel to the engine than necessary, which can result in a 40-percent fuel economy decline. A warning light could also indicate a faulty thermostat, which can prevent a cold engine for reaching its normal operating temperature resulting in the unnecessary injection of fuel.
•Tire wear. Replacing worn tires with a manufacturer-recommended size and style can save hundreds of dollars a year. To improve fuel economy performance, consider low rolling-resistance replacement tires.
•Tire inflation pressure. Keeping tires inflated to at least the manufacturer-recommended pressure can improve fuel economy by up to 3 percent, according to the EPA. Under-inflated tires require more energy to roll, meaning more fill-ups.
•Unnecessary items that add weight to the vehicle. Unnecessary weigh lowers fuel economy; remove heavy items from your trunk and back seat.
•Evaporative emission controls. Poorly operating evaporative emission controls can fail to capture gasoline vapors and recycle tem to the fuel tank. Faulty controls waste gas and degrade air quality.
•Transmission. Properly operating modern transmissions and drive components are critical to vehicle fuel economy performance. Routinely check proper fluid levels and system operation.
6 Green Driving Tips
1. Avoid quick starts and aggressive driving. A smooth, steady speed saves gasoline and reduces wear and tear on the engine, tires, transmission and brakes.
2. Slow Down! Fuel economy decreases about 1% for each mph over 55. Driving 65 mph vs. 75 mph, for example increases fuel economy by about 10%.
3. Use overdrive and cruise control. Overdrive gears slow engine speeds, saving gasoline and reducing wear. By helping to maintain a constant speed, cruise control reduces gasoline consumption. Use both features only when safe and appropriate.
4. Combine trips when possible. Your engine runs ore efficiently once it’s warmed up, so avoid making multiple short trips. Stop-and-go driving also burns more gasoline. Avoid driving during rush hour whenever you can.
5. Reduce drag. Remove roof racks and other items from your vehicle when you’re not using them.
6. Avoid unnecessary idling. In addition to contributing to engine wear and tear and air pollution, consider that when your vehicle is idling, you are getting 0 miles per gallon of gasoline you use.