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Now that the weather is starting to take a turn for the better, some of you more adventure-minded readers might be thinking of taking a road trip in the near future. Road trips are a classic American tradition, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

However, road trips often involve days of driving which means that you’ll wind up burning lots of gas getting from Point A to Point B. To minimize the personal and environmental cost of using up all those fossil fuels, check out these tips on gas conservation from your friends at K&M Auto.

1. Avoid Idling: Idling your engine doesn’t burn as much as gas as driving does, but any time spent idling will still chew through your fossil fuels and finances. The answer isn’t as simple as just turning your car off whenever you’re idling though. Starting up your car takes larger amounts of gasoline as well, so if you’re stopping and starting your car every time you might be idling, you could use up more gas than if you had just idled. Anything more than a couple minutes though, and you definitely should just turn your car off. Otherwise you’re just wasting gas and money.

2. Follow Speed Limits: The majority of cars built in the United States are built to max-out their fuel efficiency right around 55 mph. After that, your mpg drops off sharply. So when you’re hovering in that 55-65 range, a slight decrease in miles per hour can have a significant impact on your wallet.
3. Don’t Drive Aggressively: Quick accelerations and sudden stops use up gas at a much higher rate than a measured and consistent pace (see Cruise Control). If you’re wondering whether you should hit the gas to get in front of that annoying driver and then slam on the breaks to anger them, perhaps you should reconsider. Not only will you look like a decent person and not a hazard to everyone else on the road, but you will save money by conserving gas.

4. Use Cruise Control: Accelerating is the main time when your car burns gas, so if you maintain a steady speed and don’t accelerate or decelerate, you’ll burn less gas. By using cruise control, you can lock your car into freeway speed and not have to worry about keeping an even speed purely by regulating it with the gas pedal.

5. Remove Excess: Do you still have a storage pod hooked onto your car roof from that time you went camping last summer? It stands to common sense that you won’t use gas as efficiently if your car is weighed down, but you may not realize how much it does matter. Experts estimate that for every 100 additional pounds, you lose approximately 2% gas efficiency usage. That equates to about $0.06 a gallon. So if you’re transporting a completely packed car, you could wind up paying up to 150% of what you would normally pay in gas.

If you follow these tips, not only will you save money on gas from driving more efficiently, but you’ll save money on car maintenance because you will wear your car down much slower. If you’d like more tips, or if you would like to schedule a consultation for your car, please give us a call at K&M Auto! Good luck with your road trip.

By Matt Stewart