San Antonio Energy Champions
Energy Efficiency While Using Your Car

It’s important to remember to think beyond home energy use when considering energy efficiency. Here are some tips from the Department of Energy to save money on your gasoline use and improvements on gas mileage:

When it comes to driving…

  • Avoid idling – To be frank, idling wastes gas and produces emissions. Instead of sitting in your car and waiting for your car engine to warm up for about 30 seconds, just begin driving.
  • Drive sensibly – Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking, wastes fuel. This can lower your highway gas mileage up to 33% and your city mileage by 5%.
  • Avoid high speeds on the highway – Driving faster than 60mph can drop your gas mileage rapidly. For example, for every 5 mph above 60 mph, you use $0.30 per gallon of gasoline.
  • Avoid keeping heavy items in your car – Adding about an extra 100 pounds is like adding an extra $0.08 cents per gallon. An excessive amount of weight can increase your gas costs.
  • Combine errands – Instead of saving each errand to run separately, you can save money and fuel by taking care of your to-do list in one trip. For several short errand trips, each taken from a cold start, your vehicle can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when engine is warm.
  • Limit your driving – The best way to improve on gas mileage and save money is through finding ways that don’t deal with excessive driving. For example, try telecommuting, carpooling and public transportation.

In addition, a few car maintenance techniques can also help with limiting your cost and fuel energy.

  • Regular maintenance checks can help you avoid fuel economy problems such as worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, sagging belts, low transmission, fluid or other transmission problems.
  • Also, replacing your vehicle’s clogged air filters on an older car with a carbureted engine can improve gas mileage by as much as 10% to protect your engine so that your engine can run properly.

(The San Antonio Energy Champions program is an energy-efficiency initiative started by Champion AC in San Antonio. It focuses on sharing tips on living a green life, educating elementary children about our community’s energy needs, cutting down on our environmental footprint and saving both money and energy at home.)