College is typically the time when most people get their first cars. While having a vehicle is often necessary to get around, it can also become costly because you need to keep replenishing fuel for it. With a few small changes, though, you can conserve energy and decrease this burden on your wallet over time. Adopt these good habits that will save you money on gas today so that you have more left to spend on other things.
Accelerate More Gradually
You may have heard this one before, but many people stomp on their gas pedals nonetheless. The reason gradual acceleration conserves your fuel is that it doesn’t strain the engine as much. Even if you eventually attain a high speed, when you get to that point steadily, there is momentum to back your car up. As a result, your engine doesn’t work as hard as it must when you accelerate quickly from a stationary position. Fight the urge to punch the accelerator the way everyone else around you does, and you’ll end up saving money in the end.
Don’t Idle Your Car Frequently
Leaving your car idle frequently is a waste of gas because you are keeping the engine active without actually using the vehicle to get around. Thus, any time you must wait in your car for a while, it is better to shut your car down until you need to move. If it’s hot outside, you can open the windows before doing so to stay relatively comfortable. In the winter, people believe that you need to idle your car for a few minutes so that it can warm up. The reality is that this is usually no longer necessary in modern vehicles because of fuel-injected engines. It’s better to idle it for a shorter length of time and drive slowly when it’s freezing.
Cut Back on the AC
Running the AC consumes your gas, so a good habit that will save you money on gas is to shut it off when you don’t need it. But what do you do when you need to cool the inside of your car on those sweltering days? A practical compromise is to turn on the AC when you are traveling fast on the highway but turn it off and roll down the windows when you are moving more slowly on local roads. When you’re halting repeatedly and moving at a moderate speed, the wind resistance won’t diminish your fuel efficiency as much as the AC will. However, on highways, the wind will increase, and it can be unsafe to keep your windows open.