Q: What's the best way to save gas?
A: All consumers can drive more sensibly, meaning no jack-rabbit starts, no wide-open throttle accelerations, and driving the speed limit. Our driving tips can help get you started.
Consumers also can make sure that the vehicle they drive is operating in tip top shape. Just replacing a clogged air filter, for example, can improve fuel economy by as much as 10 percent, resulting in annual savings of about $250 for the average vehicle. See our information on Green Checkups for more information.
For other consumers, the best choice may be to buy a more economical vehicle, i.e., one that gets better gas mileage. Not only does better fuel economy translate into lower operating costs, it also means a lower output of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas.
Q: How much can I save?
A: According to Gregory J. Dana, an automotive consultant and recognized expert in automotive technology, consumers who change their driving habits and perform regular vehicle maintenance can save more than $1,600 (for the average car) and more than $2,400 (for the average SUV) over the lifespan of the vehicle.
Q: How much will I help the environment?
A: According to Dana, consumers who drive prudently and who keep their vehicles properly maintained can save 52 million metric tons (for cars) and 58 million metric tons (for SUVs) in CO2 emissions over the life of their vehicles (an average life of 150,000 miles).
Q: What are the specific benefits of driving sensibly and maintaining my vehicle?
Benefits of Proper Maintenance & Driving Habits
The fuel economy (FE) percentage benefits are based on work done by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and compiled by automotive consultant Gregory J. Dana. The raw data can be found at www.fueleconomy.gov. EPA’s analysis is based on a gas price of $3.72/gallon. The above table is based on a gas price of $4.00/gallon.
The average miles driven per year were 15,000 miles which is the generally accepted yearly mileage the average consumer drives. The dollar savings results are $1656.86 for cars and $2400.97 for SUVs.
- No definition could be found for what driving sensibly is, so the assumption made is that driving sensibly is no “jack-rabbit starts” and no wide-open throttle accelerations.
- The assumption made for observing the speed limit was that people generally speed across all types of driving, both city and highway. For example, going 35-40 mph in a 25 mph speed zone and going 70 mph on a highway that is limited to 55 mph.
- This estimate is based on a consumer carrying a tool kit and a set of golf clubs. These two items were actually measured and came out at a weight of 90 pounds.
- The fuel economy savings estimate for a loaded roof rack was not given full credit in this analysis. It was not reasonable to assume that a consumer drives all year long with a loaded roof rack. So, the assumption was made that 3,000 miles of the average 15,000 miles per year was done with a loaded roof rack. Then the credit was given for 12,000 miles not driving with a loaded roof rack.
- The EPA estimate did not specify the assumption on the losses associated with adding 5 mph increments over 60 mph. To make this estimate more realistic, the assumption was made that the benefit of going slower only applied during highway driving, which according to EPA is 45 percent of the time.
Q: Where should I take my vehicle for service and repairs?
A: You may take your vehicle to any qualified service center. But you'll do best to take it to a mechanic who is certified to work on your make and model. New-car and -truck dealers staff their service bays with only the best and brightest service technicians. Dealers have a vested interest in making sure that the reputation of the brands they sell is upheld, so they only employ technicians who perform at the highest professional level. These technicians know your car inside and out, and they are constantly receiving updated training from vehicle manufacturers, who also have a vested interest in building and maintaining a solid reputation through customer loyalty.