There is an activity that is the single biggest gas robber. You must constantly battle this gas robber to prevent it from stealing your gas. Any time you drive your car you encounter this problem.
The greatest gas robbing problem is: allowing your car to run when your car is not moving. To state it more simply, allowing your car to idle. Idling is the greatest single factor in decreasing your fuel economy.
When your car is running and you are stopped you are getting zero miles per gallon. This is worth repeating. When your car is idling meaning the motor is running but you are not going anywhere, you are getting zero miles per gallon.
If you are on the freeway for 15 minutes and getting 20 miles per gallon, and all of a sudden traffic stops and you idle without moving for 15 minutes your average miles per gallon just dropped from 20 down to 10. The longer you idle, the worse your average fuel economy gets.
There are several factors that create conditions that cause you to idle excessively. The most common culprits are red lights. When ever you stop at a red light, you are forced to idle your car and burn fuel. Remember that your miles per gallon is zero when idling. Please note that I am not advocating running red lights! I am merely pointing out a gas robbing factor.
Another factor that contributes to situations of excessive idling is rush hour. The high volume of traffic on the road during rush hour forces you to drive slower and stop more often. As a result you end up idling more during rush hour than in non rush hour periods.
Rush hour exaggerates the red light problem. With the higher traffic volume, you are forced to spend more time at red lights than you would in non rush hour periods. Normally, you may get through a particular red light in one cycle, but at rush hour it make take two, three or even four cycles of the light to get through it. So your idling time is increased two, three or even four times.
All that increased idling is robbing you of fuel, and lowering your average miles per gallon. In addition to red lights and rush hour there is one more major cause of idling time. The dreaded orange barrels. Road construction that slows and stops traffic increases your idle time. Of course, rush hour also exacerbates this problem causing even more traffic delays and more idling.
How can you fight this excessive idling? The short answer is planning. You have to plan your driving trips to avoid as many idling situations as possible. I don't advocate not stopping at red lights but you can reduce your idling by planning your travel routes to minimize red lights. Avoid lights that you know have long wait cycles. Plan to avoid areas where you know there is construction. Avoid driving during rush hour if at all possible. Arrive earlier at work to avoid the heavy traffic or stay later at work. Try to stagger your work hours so your commute takes advantage of non rush hour times.
Minimizing situations where you have to sit idling your car will help you maintain better gas mileage. Avoiding as many idle producing situations as possible will go a long way towards getting better fuel economy, thereby saving you gas and saving you money.
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Scott Siegel is the author of a 143 page book of industry insider information on saving gas and dollars at the pump (beatthegaspump.com). Visit us to discover how you can get better gas mileage. Find out how to increase gas mileage.
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