It is officially Summer. Both temperatures and gas prices have been creeping up in recent weeks, intense evening storms have been passing through, and social media is aflutter with selfies of friends embarking on long road trips—usually including at least one stop at a national park.
I absolutely love summer. My calendar is filled with weekend camping and beach adventures, trips to weddings, and opportunities for general escapes from city living. As I add up all of these trips and miles I will drive this summer, I am also adding up a not-so-fun part of summer—parting with cash to drive to all of these adventures. Surely there is something I can do to mitigate the damage to my bank account.
Lucky for me (and my Instagram friends at the national parks), Energy Saver recently released two new resources to help us all save money this summer (and beyond) when driving is a necessity. Whether you are looking to save money on gas, or take it one step further andpurchase a fuel-efficient vehicle.
See what you can do to lower fuel costs and spend your money on exciting adventures instead:
• Don’t waste fuel when you aren’t even driving. Idling your car can use a half gallon of fuel per hour. That means you are wasting three cents for every minute you idle. If you are parked for more than 10 seconds, it is more fuel efficient to turn off your vehicle while waiting.
• Pack light when you head out this summer. For every 100 extra pounds of luggage in your vehicle, your fuel costs go up about 3 cents per gallon. And, if you have to attach a luggage rack to the top of your vehicle your fuel economy can decrease by up to 25% at Interstate speeds due to drag. Instead, try to pack light and keep your luggage inside the car or trunk.
• Be sure that your car is in tip-top shape by keeping up with maintenance. Problems with spark plugs, dragging brakes, sagging belts, or transmission can cause fuel economy problems. Fixing some serious maintenance problems can increase mileage by up to 40%.
• Think about your vehicle. One of the smartest things you can do to improve fuel economy is choose a vehicle according to your need. If you are a city driver, a small hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle is probably right for you because they get better fuel mileage and are easier to maneuver and park in small city streets.
In 2014, Americans drove enough miles to circle the moon more than 6 million times—just over 3 trillion miles. That’s a lot of miles, and probably a lot of wasted fuel costs. Now that you are equipped with the knowledge to prevent this from happening to you sit back, relax, and enjoy the open road!