Ways to improve fuel efficiency

Minor changes to driving habits can reduce gas consumption. Here are some tips from General Motors Canada.

– Pump up: Tires that are under-inflated can increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption by up to four per cent. Properly inflated tires last longer and improve your fuel efficiency. It is important to measure the inflation level of your tires once a month, preferably when they are cold.

– Reduce your speed: You will use 20 per cent less fuel just by reducing your speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h.

– Plan your trips: Going to soccer practice? Need to go grocery shopping? Try combining separate tasks into one trip. Taking short trips (less than five kilometres) can burn more fuel because your vehicle doesn’t reach its most efficient operating temperature and you’ll drive more kilometres on separate trips, increasing fuel costs and vehicle wear and tear.

– Cruise control: By using cruise control when conditions are suitable, you can help maximize your fuel efficiency by maintaining the speed limit.

– Chill out: Hard acceleration, hard stops and aggressive driving can increase your fuel consumption by up to 39 per cent.

– Avoid idling: Don’t idle if it’s not necessary. If you are going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds -when parked -turn the engine off.

– Keep on rolling in traffic: Smooth and steady movement is more fuel-efficient than frequent starts and stops. You can save a lot of fuel by anticipating traffic, keeping a constant speed and coasting to stops.

– Lighten your load: Things like roof and ski racks or heavy items in your trunk decrease your vehicle’s aerodynamics and add weight. Lighten your load by taking only what you need.

– Limit use of accessories: Power accessories, like air conditioning, require more fuel from your vehicle, so use them wisely. Cool a hot parked car by lowering windows before blasting the air. When on the highway, be sure to close the windows for best fuel efficiency, but in the city, shut off the air and open the windows and vents to cool the cabin.

– Towing and heavy-duty usage: Closed-body trailers with rounded corners are the most fuel efficient towing platforms. Fuel consumption can also be reduced by ensuring the front profile of the trailer is hidden by the towing vehicle.

Photograph by: Joe Raedle, Getty Images