“Speeding wastes gas.” “Drive slower to save gas.”
You’ve probably heard something along those lines before, but is there any truth to it?
Can driving slower save gas and save you money?
The short answer: Nope.
The common understanding is that going faster burns more fuel and therefore, the slower you drive, the less fuel your car will use, but this actually isn’t true. Most cars’ peak fuel efficiency occurs somewhere between 50-60 miles per hour. Any faster, and aerodynamic drag requires your engine to work harder to keep up momentum. Any slower, and your transmission will automatically shift to a lower gear, which requires more fuel to maintain.
Do the speed limit. Driving significantly over or under the legal limit won’t going to save you any gas money.
Is there anything I can do to get better fuel efficiency?
Good news: Yes!
While there’s nothing you can do to turn your gas guzzler into a Prius, there are a few driving habits that can affect how often you need to stop for a fill-up. Here are a few habits to kick to the curb if you want to burn less fuel on your commute.
Break these habits to spare your gas tank:
Leaving your car running.
All those times you’ve sat in your car listening to a podcast before work, left the car running while you’re waiting to pick someone up, or wrapped up your evening Instagram scroll before turning the car off and going inside add up to a higher gas bill when it’s all said and done. Just because your car isn’t moving doesn’t mean it’s not burning a ton of energy.
Try to be more aware of how much time you spend idling in the car and make an effort to turn the engine off while you’re waiting for the end of a song or waiting on your curbside delivery order. Your bank account will thank you!
Speeding up too quickly.
While consistent speeding isn’t likely to drain your gas tank any faster than driving too slow (we don’t recommend either), it’s the act of speeding up too quickly that really does a number on your gas tank. To spare your gas tank, increase your speed gradually by slowly applying the gas pedal until you’ve reached your desired cruising speed.
Braking a lot.
Now, no one is saying you shouldn’t brake accordingly when someone pulls out in front of you or when there’s heavy traffic on the highway. However, think about how many times you’ve seen a driver speed up to a stop sign and have to brake hard? Or speed up as much as possible only to come to a sudden stop over and over again in stop-and-go traffic? You may even be guilty of these habits yourself. However, thinking ahead and laying off of the gas pedal as you approach an intersection and coming to a slower stop is healthier for your gas tank (and your passengers’ peace of mind).
As it turns out, part of saving fuel comes down to adopting safer driving habits. From driving at a reasonable speed to being more aware of your following distance, being a focused and alert driver not only helps keep you safe, it can help you save money on gas and leave a smaller carbon footprint!