There is nothing better than a summer road trip to the beach or to visit loved ones as we approach the dog days of summer! But with millions of Americans taking to the roads, getting from point A to point B can be quite stressful if you are stopping constantly for delays or to refill your gas tank. If you are looking for a quicker arrival and fewer trips to the gas station, consider these five tips to maximize your fuel economy:
- Pre-trip vehicle maintenance: Make sure your vehicle is performing at its best before you hit the road. Checking tire pressure is key, as the right pressure can increase fuel economy by up to 3.3%, according to Howstuffworks.com. When getting your oil changed, get the air filter checked as well — a clean air filter can save around 10% on fuel costs. And, while you’re at it, remove anything unnecessary or heavy from your trunk! You won’t need your bowling ball when you’re beachside.
- Keep your windows up: This is a no-brainer when it’s scorching hot outside, but if it’s a balmy summer day on a long road, having the windows up reduces aerodynamic drag on a car. When the windows are down, the engine works harder, according to The Spruce. And, on highways, this drag can decrease fuel economy by 10% or more. If your AC is cranked, that can have a significant impact as well. If you have a sunroof, though, it’s fine to keep it open. Just don’t let anyone stick their head outside, as fun as that sounds.
- Consider using premium fuel: During the long stretches of cornfields and interstates, gas stations can be few and far between. To be safe, never let your gas level drop below a quarter of a tank. Today, cars are more advanced than ever before and with engine evolution comes demand for a gasoline that can keep up with these technological advances. ExxonMobil just launched a new and improved fuel, Synergy Supreme+ premium gasoline, the company’s best fuel ever as it keeps your engine two times cleaner for improved gas mileage, based on comparison of Synergy Supreme+ premium gas to Synergy regular gas in port fuel injected engines. Actual benefits are based on continuous use and may vary depending on vehicle type, driving style and gasoline previously used. This new premium gasoline is now readily available at more than 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations across the country.
- Curb your lead foot: This is a relaxing vacation — slow down on the highway, and use your cruise control. Reduce stop-and-go driving where possible, and don’t slam on the gas at green lights. Apply the brakes smoothly, and not jarringly. If you are traveling with unruly kids and are threatening to “turn this car right around,” you should know it has been proven that anger leads to faster driving, which decreases fuel economy, according to an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study.
- Avoid traffic jams: While this isn’t completely predictable or avoidable, modern GPS systems and a little bit of planning can help you avoid those bumper-to-bumper summer traffic jams. A vehicle in stationary mode still requires the engine to work hard and burn fuel where a “steady state” of cruising is actually better for fuel economy. But, if you find yourself in a traffic jam, take your mind off the fuel economy you’re losing by putting on some traffic jams: studies cited at Medium.com have found that music at 120 to 130 beats per minute can relax anxious nerves.