8 Gas-saving tips for a worry- and hassle-free road trip

Jace Amodo
PUBLISHED May 3, 2017 04:55 pm
(Photo from Red Velvet)

(Inside Manila) With the fluctuating prices of fuel, the traditional road trips during holidays and other occasions has become quite the quandary. It now costs some staggering amount of money to drive a few hundred miles.


Good thing though, there are a lot of tips and tricks out there to save your fuel economy during your travel, especially now that it’s the summer. We’ve rounded up things you can do to save both your fuel economy and your road trip.


Plan ahead


This might be the most important rule when traveling in general. When plotting your trip and you have decided on your itineraries, find the ideal route to avoid gas-wasting backtracks. Remember, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.


Leave on time. Knowing Metro Manila, driving between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. is a hassle bustle. Avoid getting stuck during rush hours as it leads to excessive idling and slow driving. Plan alternate routes too, because as Murphy’s Law says: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”


Get a GPS satellite navigation installed in your vehicle as well for easier direction. It may help you change routes on the fly and even notify you of traffic updates.


Pick the right car


If you are traveling with a group, chances are you need more than one car. However, splitting the crew into two small cars actually costs more than taking the big SUV as it burns gas twice as fast as one.


It’s true you’re better off in a sedan given you can fit everything and everyone. But overloading in too small of a car can be just plain uncomfortable on a long trip—a little ironic as the point of a road trip is to have fun.


Lose weight


No, not that. Extra weight cuts fuel economy, so aim for a lighter cargo. New vehicles are noticeably improving in terms of saving gas as manufacturers were aware of the slight but helpful difference reduced weight offers.


Reduce more weight by keeping unnecessary items out of the vehicle and not hauling more than what you can fit inside it. Just don’t forget to pack the essentials like maps, flashlights, umbrellas or raincoats, first aid kit, and of course, food and water.


Calm down


Yes, slow driving takes a toll on your fuel economy, but so is rushing. Take it easy on the pedals especially when not in highway traffic. Avoid aggressive tactics like rapid acceleration or frequent braking as it wastes a startling amount of fuel.


Besides, you might miss out on some surprising sceneries by driving at 80 miles per hour. Road trips are long distance journeys on the road traveled by automobile. It is meant to be enjoyed not only in the destination but also in the journey itself.


AC on vs. Windows down


This has been a debate for decades, and research still says the one is better than the other. But one thing’s for sure, the hot weather increases your fuel economy.


Truth is, both methods save gas depending on the situation—running your car’s air conditioning unit at highway speeds and rolling the windows down at lower speeds. A tip: drive with the windows open for a short time before using the AC because letting hot air out of the cabin first will put less demand on the AC and help your vehicle cool faster.


Whatever the case, the best thing to do is to read your manual on how to efficiently use and maintain the AC system. In the end, the decision might just fall into the preference of the majority of the passengers and it is fine, just make sure to park your car in the shade before you leave it.


Stop Idling


Have you ever rushed in a road only to be stopped by a long red light and then just impatiently wait for it to turn green? Studies say idling for more than a minute costs you gas, so shutting off the engine is encouraged.


Depending on engine size and AC use, cutting out excessive idling may improve fuel economy per minute. However, situations such as turning the engine off while waiting in line to make a turn are not as conducive to a manual engine shut-off.


Your choice of fuel


If your manual recommends Regular then so be it. If the manual recommends Premium fuel but not ‘required’, fill up with Regular. It’s that simple and harmless unless you’re feeling a little bit in the mood for a ‘Tokyo Drift’.


Ain’t tired for tires


At least once a month and before going on a long trip, double, triple check your car’s tire condition. Make sure that your tires are inflated with accurate tire pressure as improper inflation results into more rolling resistance, which then cost you money at the pump.


Apart from lifting your wallet, under- or over-inflating your tires reduce their lifetime and will leave you buying replacement tires over time. Furthermore, give your car’s filters and fluids a good once-over before setting off. You don’t wanna call a tow truck, do you?


Last notes


Basically, your car’s fuel economy depends on your preparation and how you drive. Proper maintenance of your vehicle is just as critical as your driving knowledge and flexibility. As Richard Cardinal Cushing said, “...it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.”


Now you know what to do on your road trip, you are now relieved of hassle and worries, and now more open to the fun side of the journey.

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