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Gas prices: How your driving behavior affects the cost of the pump

Record high gas prices have created stress for motorists across the country, and many experts expect prices to remain high in the near future as demand for summer travel increases.

On Thursday, the national average retail price of regular gasoline rose to another record high, reaching $ 4.41[ads1] per gallon.

Although you may not be able to control the prices at the pump, you can control how you drive. Certain driving behaviors can actually help consumers save significantly when it comes to filling up at the pump, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told FOX Business.

Gas prices: How your driving behavior affects the cost of the pump

Gas prices March 11, 2022 in Long Beach, California. (AP Photo / Ashley Landis / AP Newsroom)

It is the “easiest” thing to do when trying to combat the rising fuel costs, he said.


Keep the tachometer as low as possible

De Haan says drivers should keep their feet lightly on the gas when accelerating. The heavier you are on the accelerator, the more fuel the engine uses, he said.

The tachometer should be used as a gauge for drivers to see how much fuel they are actually using, according to De Haan.

The tachometer measures the working speed of an engine in RPM, or rotations per minute. It is located next to the speedometer on a vehicle’s instrument panel.

“The higher the needle goes, the more gas your engine sucks,” De Haan said.

The goal is to keep the tachometer as low as possible and not to “slap on the pedal,” De Haan added.

gas prices

Cars displaced the turn into the Murphy Express at Beal Parkway and Racetrack Road as gas lines began to appear at a number of gas stations around the Fort Walton Beach area of ​​Florida. (USA Today Network via Reuters Connect / Reuters Photos)

It is also important to keep the speed of the car under control because speed increases fuel consumption. According to the US Department of Energy, gas length will be reduced “rapidly at speeds above 50 MPH.”

The best way to control the speed is to use cruise control. Although cruise control may not be useful in some congested parts of the country, such as New York or Chicago.

However, the function can be “more efficient and effective than a human trying to maintain the same pressure on the accelerator pedal,” according to De Haan.


Maintenance: Check that the engine light is off

If you have a control indicator on the engine, especially if it is flashing, it should be checked as soon as possible. Many sensors on cars are critically important, but the engine indicator light is the “most critical”, according to De Haan.

When the light flashes, “it basically tells you it’s in need,” De Haan said.

The car mainly goes into “slack mode”, which means that “the car has lost a critical sensor or something is critically wrong and … basically uses up to twice as much fuel to protect itself from catastrophic damage,” let De Haan to.

Another thing motorists should check is the tire pressure.

illinois gass

A man checks gas prices at a gas station in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, March 26, 2022. (AP Photo / Nam Y. Huh / AP Newsroom)

When a tire loses air pressure, there is more friction between the tire and the road. That increase in friction will reduce a car’s fuel efficiency, according to De Haan.

Removal of access weight

Leaving heavy objects in the back seat or truck of a car can also damage fuel efficiency. In fact, every hundred pounds will reduce fuel efficiency by one to two miles per gallon, according to De Haan.

Racks that sit on the roofs of cars, typically in the summer or winter months, also work against drivers. These racks will “absolutely ruin the aerodynamics of your vehicle” and reduce fuel efficiency by 25 to 35%, De Haan said.

“They’re just like a mattress on your roof,” he said. “Your car works harder to move that object on top of your car.”

Keep an eye on your AC this summer

When the air conditioner runs in your car, “you generally load more on your engine. You will burn much less fuel if you crack a window instead,” according to GasBuddy.


MYTH: More petrol is needed to restart the car

That may have been true 30 years ago, “but that’s why vehicles have adopted that stop-stop technology,” according to De Haan.

In fact, if you are going to be in traffic for more than 10 seconds, it makes more sense to turn off the vehicle.

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