In 2011, Americans traveled a total of nearly 3 trillion miles—the equivalent of 6.2 million round-trips to the moon.
Transportation accounts for 71% of U.S. oil use, mostly for gas. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your gas mileage or avoid using gas altogether.
- Avoid idling. Think about it — idling gets you 0 miles per gallon. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. No more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days is needed. Anything more simply wastes fuel and increases emissions.
- Avoid aggressive driving, such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking, which can lower your highway gas mileage by up to 33% and your city mileage by 5%.
- Avoid high speeds. Above 50 mph, gas mileage drops rapidly. For every 5 mph above 50 mph, it’s like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon of gasoline.
- Avoid keeping heavy items in your car; an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could increase your gas costs by up to $.07 cents per gallon.
- Reduce drag by placing items inside the car or trunk rather than on roof racks, which can decrease your fuel economy by 5% or more.
- Combine errands. Several short trips, each one taken from a cold start, can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
- Check into telecommuting, carpooling, and public transit to save driving and car maintenance costs. Many urban areas provide carpool lanes that are usually less congested, which means you will get to work and home faster and more refreshed!
*All cost estimates assume an average price of $3.61 per gallon. Source: fueleconomy.gov