Improve Fuel Economy - coast when you can
Your fuel economy can be high or low, it all depends on you. One technique to improve the numbers of miles you get with a gallon of fuel is to coast and let your engine idle while you zip along using momentum. It's not legal in all states, so check that first.
The relative difficulty or cost of this tip is rated 1 to 10. A rating of 10 suggests that this tip is the most difficult or most costly. Expected savings are also rated 1 to 10. A rating of 10 suggests that this tip will provide substantial savings in fuel, money or both.
Coast when you can. Driving up to a stop sign and firmly applying your brakes converts fuel used to gain forward momentum into friction on your brakes and tires. The friction is heat and heat is energy lost bringing the car to a stop.
Better fuel economy is achieved if you coast to the stop sign and gently apply the brakes. You use fuel more efficiently for travel and you minimize heating up your brake linings and wearing out your tires.
This only works when you have no one behind you in a hurry to get to the stop sign. Use your judgment as to when coasting is appropriate and when it just delays and annoys other drivers.
In the same vein, don’t let the impatience of other drivers cause you to drive fast or reckless. You “drive your drive” and conserve fuel, and let them drive in unsafe and non-conservative ways. You have to answer to yourself and your passengers, while they’ll have to answer to law enforcement and the gas pump.
In any case, coasting to a stop sign isn’t going to be one of the great gas saving tips. It won’t weigh heavily in saving you money on your fuel bill, but it will make a difference in reduced maintenance costs for your car.
For example: I drive a 2001 Saturn SC2. It has 133,000 miles on it, and I just replaced the original brakes (even though they still had considerable life left). Here’s how I did it.
When traveling on the highway, I go about 200 to 300 miles before stopping for gas. When I stop, I use some of the highway and the entire length of the exit ramp to let the car slow down from highway speeds to surface road speeds. If no one is behind me, which is most of the time, I let the car roll up to the stop sign, where I gently apply the brakes. The brakes are again gently applied as I pull into the gas station, and once more while exiting the gas station.
Experience would suggest that at 133,000 miles, I should be on my third set of brake pads. Driving mostly highway miles and coasting to a stop has led to better fuel economy and saved money on brake replacement as well.
Cost or difficulty: 3
Done with Fuel Economy, take me back to Save Gas