How to drive more efficiently

Effectively employing cruise control when driving on highways can improve fuel economy.

Many people aspire to drive more efficiently in an attempt to conserve fuel, save money and reduce the carbon footprints of their vehicles. But driving efficiently can also make driving safer for motorists, their passengers and everyone else, including pedestrians, sharing the roads.

Drivers who want to drive more efficiently can implement a variety of strategies to do just that.

Obey the speed limits. Speed limits are determined with safety in mind, and drivers should always adhere to posted speed limits to protect themselves, their passengers and others on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that, in 2015, 27 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths were speeding-related. But according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, obeying the speed limit is also cost-effective. The EPA notes that miles per gallon begins to dip dramatically when vehicles travel above 55 miles per hour. While each vehicle is different, the EPA notes that increasing highway cruising speed from 55 miles per hour to 75 miles per hour can raise fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent.

Do not idle a vehicle. The Environmental Defense Fund notes that electronic engines do not need to warm up, even in winter when temperatures are especially cold. Vehicles that are idling can produce as much pollution as vehicles that are in motion, and idling for as little as 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine. Drivers concerned about overtaxing their engines shortly after starting them can warm their engines by easing into their drives and avoiding excessive revving.

Use cruise control wisely. Drivers concerned about fuel economy may be accustomed to turning on their vehicles’ cruise control when driving long distances on the highway. While that is an effective and fuel-efficient way to maintain steady speeds, turn cruise control off when traversing roads with steep hills. On such roads, fuel efficiency can be lost because the vehicle engine is working harder to maintain steady speeds.

Tighten the gas cap. When gas caps are loose, fuel evaporates. The Car Care Council notes that loose, missing or damaged gas caps contribute to the evaporation of roughly 147 million gallons of gas per year. That’s both wasteful and costly. When filling up at the gas station, turn the cap until your hear it click.

Driving efficiently can make roadways safer, benefit the environment and save drivers considerable amounts of money.

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