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Saving Gas with Your Driving Style

Aug 17, 2007
Amazing you may say. Outstanding results are comments that I typically get about my driving style. So what are they talking about, my ability to navigate difficult situations. My capabilities to avoid traffic stop situations. Well not exactly, most of the time it is my ability to get every last inch out of a gallon of gas in my cars.

My wife and I own two Toyota's. A 1997 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 V6 and a 2002 Toyota Sequoia V8 4x2. Neither of these vehicles are now for their thirst resistance. The Tacoma has a rating of 16 MPG Town and 20 MPG Highway. The Sequioa is a bit worse with a 15 MPG Town and an 18 MPG highway. In today's climate these gas mileage totals can really crimp your budget. So how do you improve on them if you want to pinch pennies. Currently the two vehicles achieve the following ratings when I am driving them:

Seqouia gets 18.9 MPG city, and 19.5 Highway.
Tacoma gets 20.0 MPG city, and 21.5 Highway.

These are outstanding figures when compared to the factory figures for Gas mileage. So how do I achieve such figures. The methods are fairly simple and very doable with any vehicle that you may have. I routinely achieved 36 mpg with a 1988 Honda accord while in college. All with no modifications to the vehicles that I drive.

Gas savings tactic number one is simple and highly doable if you can avoid a heavy foot. Always start out slowly avoiding rapid acceleration. Rapidly accelerating takes more energy for the car to start rolling and in the end simply uses more fuel. So how do I know if I am accelerating at a rate that is going to suck fuel irresponsibly. Very easy if you are driving at a nice pace you will barely notice the car changing gears. If you noticeably feel the car lurch during gear changes, you are accelerating too fast and wasting precious fuel in the process.

Tactic number two involves stopping. This is counter intuitive but as you approach a stop sign or other intersection release your foot from the gas peddle 400 yards from the stopping point. Allow the cars engine to slow it to the sign. You should arrive at the sign almost at a stop without applying a lot of brake force. If you do this correctly you will barely notice that you are applying brakes as you coast to a stop. This will prevent you from over accelerating and having to waste energy while braking.

The final item that I use for saving gas is the cruise control. When on the highway I accelerate to between 65-70 mph and then set the cruise. This prevents me from running with traffic and driving beyond the cars gear ratios. This will take some experimentation on your part as all cars are geared differently. My 88 Accord functioned best at 62 mph. Considerably less than the Seqouia's 68 mph optimum cruising speed.

So the best way to sum up the gas savings tatics I use are to drive sanely and safely. Keep a safe distance from cars in front of you and use your brake and gas pedal sparingly. Always plan your stops and accelerate slowly. It will put money in your pockets and save gas in the meantime.
About the Author
Charles authors several blogs.
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