Fuel Conservation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Krisopher Holliday & Senior Airman Joseph VanDeusen
  • 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight
With fuel prices expected to average $3.92 per gallon nationwide for unleaded gasoline this summer, it's no wonder drivers are getting frustrated as they fill their gas tanks each week. Even the DOD is incorporating electric and hybrid vehicles into fleets world-wide. Rather than letting your blood pressure rise as you watch the numbers climb at the pump, use the strategies below to conserve fuel, save our environment by lowering your carbon footprint, and increase fuel economy both on-and-off duty.

Avoid Idling: For modern engines, more fuel is consumed from 30 seconds of engine idle than is consumed by restarting the engine. Also, warming up an engine prior to travel is unnecessary for most vehicles built in the last 10 years.

Cruise: You can improve fuel efficiency by using cruise control because the vehicle will maintain a constant speed without riding the fuel or brake pedals (it can also help you avoid speeding tickets.).

Driving Alternatives: Buddy-up for your daily commute. If not every day, then once a week of carpooling can make a sizeable difference. This also applies to driving government vehicles on base. Consider this: If you share your ride with just one other coworker, you can cut the cost of commuting in half. Fill the car with four friends, and you'll pay just 25 percent of what you had paid to drive alone. Not to mention, you'll save on automotive maintenance by cutting down wear and tear, thus extending the life of the vehicle. Also, when practical, you can walk or bike to your destination rather than driving. You'll get 100 percent fuel savings, emit zero pollutants, and enhance your physical health.

Ease-up on the pedals: Try to avoid jack-rabbit starts. Ease onto the throttle until you've reached your target speed. Avoid sprints from stoplight to stoplight and let your car coast as much as possible before coming to stop. If you know the light is going to be red by the time you get there, just coast up to it.

Get a tune-up:
For government vehicles, make sure any problems and tune up requirements are reported to Vehicle Management. Resolving both minor and major car maintenance issues early usually results in significant fuel savings. Repairing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve fuel economy by an average of 4 percent. Repairing a more serious problem such as a faulty oxygen sensor can boost your car's fuel economy by as much as 40 percent.

Inflate your tires: You can improve fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent by simply keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure (do not over-inflate). For every one-pound per square inch drop in pressure in all four tires, fuel economy decreases by 0.3 percent. Maintaining proper tire pressure also extends a tire's useful life and supports safe driving. Although tire pressure tolerances are indicated on sidewalls of tires, do not use them as your guide. Instead, use the tire pressure indicated on the sticker located on the driver's-side door jam, in the glove compartment, or in your owners' manual. Remember, tire pressure requirements are primarily based off of vehicle weight.

Lighten your load: Clear out your back seat and trunk of all unnecessary items you've been lugging around in your car (e.g., camping equipment, children's toys, etc.). Carting around an extra 100 pounds can reduce your fuel economy by up to 2 percent.

Overdrive: Use overdrive gears whenever practical to reduce engine speed. Overdrive should only be used when traveling above 40 mph. This not only saves fuel, but also reduces engine wear. For safety, never place your vehicle in neutral and coast down a hill to save gas.

Slow down: In most cars, fuel economy quickly decreases when you drive above 60 mph. Also, you can save money and prevent accidents by avoiding aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and rapid braking can lower fuel economy by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent while driving in the city.

By using these simple fuel conservation tips you can reduce fuel consumption, help preserve the environment, and keep hard-earned dollars in your pocket.