Price of gas got you down? Here are some ways you can maximize your fuel efficiency.
Fuel prices are at a record high, and there seems to be no end to the price hikes. As of Monday (Jun. 13), the cost of regular gasoline is $1.89 per litre at most stations in Fort Saskatchewan, a far cry from this time last year, when Alberta's average gas price hovered around $1.25.
Tristan McNeil, a lube technician at South Fort Chevrolet, sat down with MIX 107 to explain some easy ways for drivers to make their mileage stretch a bit further.
"So, the big thing is not accelerating super hard. Obviously, you're going to rev up your engine more, and that's just going to kill more gas," McNeil explained.
Most cars, vans, pickup trucks, and SUVs are most fuel-efficient when they're travelling between 50 and 80 km per hour. As speeds increase, fuel consumption also increases. For example, at 120 km per hour, a vehicle uses about 20 per cent more fuel than at 100 km per hour.
Consider using cruise control for highway driving where conditions permit. If gravity is doing the work, slight variations in speed can actually be beneficial. When travelling uphill, allow your speed to drop, then pick up your speed as you roll downhill.
Carrying a lighter load and ensuring you don't overload anything you're overhauling is another major way to maximize fuel efficiency. Removing bicycle racks when they aren't required can significantly impact fuel savings. Aerodynamic drag caused by bike racks can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent on the highway.
With summer in full swing, turning on the air conditioner on a hot day is tempting, but your AC can increase a vehicle's fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent. Open the windows when driving in the city, and use the flow-through ventilation system with the windows up on the highway. Should you choose to turn on the AC, use the re-circulate option to minimize the impact on your gas tank.
Another tip McNeil says often goes undervalued is ensuring your tire pressure is up to spec.
"If it's too low, it's going to be a little bit harder to get things going there. If it's overinflated, well, it's just harder on the tire. Then you're going to require more maintenance, and obviously, with prices being as high as they are, the less money you have to spend, the better."
According to Natural Resources Canada, driving a vehicle with tires under-inflated by 56 kilopascals (eight pounds per square inch) can increase fuel consumption by up to four per cent.