Put the Brakes on High Driving Costs

A few simple adjustments to the way you drive can save you hundreds of dollars a year on gas and repairs.

By Reader's Digest Editors

A few simple adjustments to the way you drive can save you hundreds of dollars a year on gas and repairs.

Slow down

Driving any distance at 50 mph uses an average of 15% less fuel than the same trip at 70 mph. If you reduce your speed from 80 mph to 70 mph on the highway, you’ll save six or seven cents a mile.

Drive smoothly

Avoiding sudden braking and accelerating not only reduces your chance of getting into an accident, it saves about 13 cents per mile.

Inflate tires fully

Driving with deflated tires can cost drivers hundreds of dollars a year in wasted fuel. Find the correct tire pressure in your car’s handbook, and pump them up—you’ll save a penny a mile.

Use air conditioning sparingly

Blasting cold air raises fuel consumption by up to 10 percent. Cutting your usage by 50 percent can save you more than $100 a year. Don’t stop using air conditioning entirely, as that could cause the system to develop leaks, thus affecting the car’s value. And on the highway, air cranking the conditioning is more fuel-efficient than opening the windows.

Service the car regularly

Taking your car for regular oil changes and servicing helps prevent costly repairs and will also help you uncover problems before they become serious and expensive.

De-clutter

If you stash your bowling balls in your trunk and leave them there all winter, it’s time to unload. Every 1% of the car’s weight that you add increases your gas consumption by 1%. Only carry what you need.

Walk

The first mile is the hardest on the engine, because the oil hasn’t reached the optimal temperature. So if you’re just going a short distance, leave the car at home.

Source: Good Housekeeping (UK)

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