If the high price of gasoline has put a damper on your road trip vacation plans, here's a bit of good news. There are some things you can do to improve fuel economy before and during your trip.
Time Required: Varies
- Get your car tuned up.
- Make sure that your tires are inflated properly and that your wheels are properly aligned.
- Purchase only gas that is the correct octane as specified by your car's manufacturer.
- Fill up in the morning--cooler gasoline is more compact, so you'll get more drops of the precious fluid for your dollars.
- Added weight lowers fuel economy, so don't overpack your trunk!
- Obey posted speed limits; fuel economy decreases substantially at speeds above 55 miles per hour.
- Set your cruise control to maintain a constant speed, which can also improve fuel economy.
- If your car has overdrive, use it. It reduces fuel consumption during highway driving.
- Try to avoid extreme acceleration.
- Don't tailgate. It leads to unnecessary braking and acceleration.
- Don't let your car sit and idle. Start it only when everything is packed in the trunk, the kids are strapped in, and you're ready to go.
- Because running a car's air conditioner may increase gas consumption in some cases, opt for open windows, particularly at speeds under 40 miles per hour. Check your owner's manual for specific information about your own vehicle's fuel efficiency when operating the AC.
- Be sure to park in the shade.
- Try not to make single-purpose trips. Bring your beach gear along so that you can go straight there after a morning of sightseeing.
- It's always a good idea to have a map of the area where you're traveling--getting lost is not good for fuel economy.
- Ask your innkeeper, hotel desk manager or other "local" to advise you on best routes. The shortest distance may not always be the best choice.
- Consider leaving the car at home! Take a bus, train or ferry to your travel destination.
What You Need
- Car Owner's Manual