With the forever seesaw in petrol costs it is always good to find ways to save money on fuel consumption and ways to drive better. Here are a few tips to help -
A car consumes most gas as it accelerates. A moving car doesn't require much gasoline to keep moving. This means, in order to improve your mileage you need to keep the ride smooth.
About 30% of the drivers in somewhat heavy traffic apparently cannot control their speed with the accelerator pad alone. Instead those guys speed up and slam on the brakes all the time. Obviously, that makes the guy following too close behind very nervous and he too needs to brake and accelerate constantly. It is relatively easy to hold a speed in a long line of cars without stepping on the brake. Just keep a little bit more distance and try to practice this. You can easily get 10% - 20% better gas mileage.
If you own a hybrid powered car, the statement above applies even more to you. Try to avoid fast braking. Hybrid cars have the ability to convert braking power into electric energy and store them in their batteries. However this will only give you so much braking power. If you need to decelerate faster, your brakes will engage and energy will be lost.
So the next time you are approaching a traffic light, start braking a lot sooner and don't slam on the brakes the last minute.
This tip might be somewhat impractical in some areas.
Park your car in the shade if you can, so you won't have to keep the AC working as hard when you go somewhere.
Roll down the windows just a tiny bit, so the air can circulate through your car while you are parked (might not be a good idea in areas with a high theft rate).
Turn off the AC 5 minutes before you reach your destination and don't keep it working until the last second.
A manual transmission is truly fantastic. You need to feel the car and the load condition to figure out when you need to shift. A car that goes uphill needs to pull a lot more and should be driven at a higher RPM. On the other side, if you are gliding along an empty road, you can drive at extremely low RPM. Then if you want to accelerate (you need a bit more power), you quickly shift down, get up to speed and shift up again.
If you have a cruise control and there isn't a whole lot of traffic, you probably should use it (it will keep the speed constant and hence doesn't need to accelerate).
Use the overdrive gears, as this will generally keep your RPM down and your wallet happy. Shift into neutral when you are standing still to reduce transmission strain and cool off the transmission.
You can try to reduce the mass of your car by emptying out the boot and removing heavy items that you don't need (keep your spare tyre and car lift, but get rid of the gardening equipment).
When you turn on a car, it uses a bit of gas. When the car is idling, it uses a fixed amount of gas over a period of time.
In most scenarios (depending on the car), the energy balance will be positive if you turn off your car for more than 20 seconds. That means you can save gas if you turn off your car while waiting at long traffic light sequences, railroad crossings or while your better half pulls money from the ATM.
It's a proven fact that driving fast will increase the drag and thus increase your fuel consumption. However there is not that much difference between 50kph and 55kph in terms of fuel consumption.
Believe it or not, but opening your windows will increase the turbulences and eventually cost you fuel. If you can, use only the ventilation system of your car. It is hard to gauge this against using the air conditioner. It is thought that opening your windows at low speeds and using the air conditioner at high speeds gives you better fuel economy.
Avoid heavy traffic and lots of traffic lights. The shortest route is not always the most fuel efficient if you have to stop a lot.