Fuel economy is always an important concern for drivers, but it’s an even bigger one during the winter, when cold, wet weather makes our cars use more gas. So, what can we do to improve fuel efficiency, especially in winter? Here are some easy tips to integrate into your routine.
One thing that makes your fuel efficiency worse is low tire pressure, which is extremely common in winter. Cold weather reduces the amount of air in your tires, which also reduces your car’s traction and makes your engine work harder to pull your car forward. Regularly checking and refilling your tires will have a big effect on fuel economy.
Another problem caused by cold weather is a cold engine. The colder your engine, the longer it takes to heat up and the more energy it uses. Combat this by cutting out the “warming up” period—your car doesn’t need to be warmed up, and it actually gets warm much faster when driving, so leaving it to idle for 20 minutes in the morning just wastes gas.
In general, you can improve your fuel economy just by slowing down a little and only braking when you have to. Give yourself more room to coast for a while before you stop, leave more distance between yourself and the cars in front of you so you never have to hit the brakes too hard, and let yourself slow down going uphill and coast downhill.
Plan your drive ahead of time. In winter, if you have to run a bunch of errands at once, go to the furthest one away first so your car can heat up during the drive and won’t cool down much the rest of the way, reducing engine load. Avoid roads with lots of stoplights, and avoid rush hour. All of these tips, plus a well-maintained vehicle, will save you tons of money on gas.