Get the most out of a tank of gas
VANCOUVER -- Summer travel looks a lot different this year, with millions of us on the move. There is one thing that might slow you down: gas prices. They hit record levels in B.C. on July 1, the first unofficial day of the summer vacation season.
However, before you put the brakes on your road trip, Consumer Reports has some advice to fine-tune your driving to maximize fuel economy and ease the squeeze on your wallet.
It starts before you hit the road. You want to start out by checking your tire pressure. Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your doorjamb sticker can affect fuel economy along with performance and handling. Driving at the correct pressure can save two weeks' worth of gas in a year.
Next, look up top. Remove the roof rack if it is not being used. At highway speeds, more than 50 percent of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. Do not add to that by carrying unneeded things on the roof.
They say getting there is half the fun, so do not speed to your destination. Along with being a safety risk, it can really hurt your fuel economy. Consumer Reports found that reducing the speed of a RAV4 from 120 kilometres per hour to 105 kilometres per hour improved fuel economy by 2.5 kilometres per litre.
The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. The goal should be to drive evenly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking help extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes, and tires, too.
In addition, before you leave, use your phone to check prices along your route. Apps and websites like GasBuddy can direct you to savings. Gas stations well off major highways and away from city centres may have better prices, along with warehouse stores.
Consumer Reports says you can save money and skip premium gas unless it is required. This is indicated on the fuel filler door. Many cars list it as “recommended,” which means it is optional.
A proper tune-up can also improve mileage, so can changing a dirty oil filter and using the right oil. And if a tune-up reveals a faulty oxygen sensor, you'll really get a great boost in gas mileage by replacing it.
With files from Consumer Reports