Now that summer is in full swing many of us are hitting the road for vacation, camping trips, and visits with family and friends. Traveling during the summer months is something we all look forward to – and save for. But, watching the trip budget dwindle into the gas tank can put a damper on things. Here are some ways that you can get the best gas mileage from your car this summer:
Air conditioner. Unfortunately, running the air conditioner is the number one way to reduce your car’s fuel economy. This is a rock and a hard place situation because traveling in a car without air conditioning can be miserable and, depending on the age and health of your passengers, it could also be dangerous. But, running the air conditioner can reduce the fuel economy of your vehicle by as much as 25%. If you can stand it, try driving without the air conditioner on for some portions of your trip. If you are traveling on a heavily wooded highway with a lot of shade, you may not need the air conditioner as the trees provide a reduction in the temperature.
Rooftop cargo. Adding a cargo box to the roof of your car or truck is great for extra storage on a road trip, and it frees up space inside of the vehicle so that you and your passengers are comfortable. But, when traveling at least 60 mph a roof cargo box will reduce your gas mileage by 8%. If you drive an SUV or minivan this number goes up to 22%.
Drive consistently. Driving on a long straight road in an endless caravan of vehicles is not a fun way to get your vacation started. But, if you drive aggressively and speed up quickly and then slow down dramatically or even stop this is hard on your car and especially on your gas mileage. To get the best gas mileage you should drive at a steady pace in line with the traffic around you.
Windows. Just like a roof cargo box reduces gas mileage because of drag, so does driving with the windows open. This allow air to get trapped inside of your car and create a ‘swimming against the current’ effect so that your car takes more power to propel forward. If you can, drive with your windows closed and run a battery operated fan inside of your car to keep cool. Use a water mister to create the illusion of an air conditioner.
Taking road trips is one of the best parts about the summer months. But, with gas prices always fluctuating so dramatically, it is important to save money and get the most for your dollar.