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Improving Gas Mileage on Long Trips

Posted on December 14, 2016.

Everyone is trying to save money when it comes to traveling - and rightfully so.  Most people will opt out of flying because it might be too expensive and they will elect to drive to their destination instead.  While driving takes more hours of travel time, it could be just as or even more expensive than flying if you don’t follow the right tips and procedures.  Avoiding common gas mileage-killing mistakes in how you pack and how you drive can improve your miles-per-gallon by one third or more according to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Items such as rooftop cargo boxes make your vehicle less aerodynamic especially at higher speeds.  Fueleconomy.gov states that a cargo box can decrease the gas mileage of an SUV when traveling 60mph from 24.9 to 22.9, or eight percent.  The effect was even worse on a Toyota Corolla, which saw a decrease from 42.5 to 33, or 22 percent. So as a rule of thumb try to avoid such cargo boxes.

In addition to how you pack, driving too fast or too aggressive can negatively affect your miles-per-gallon as well.  Speeding up and braking sharply over and over can cut your highway mileage by 33 percent, according to Fuel Economy.  They also go on to state that for every 5mph you drive over 50mph is the equivalent of paying an additional 24 cents a gallon.  Obviously you don’t want to go that slow on the freeways, but it is definitely something to consider on the less populated roads.  Also, try to avoid driving with the windows down. The Oak Ridge test confirmed that driving with the windows down increases aerodynamic drag causing you to lose MPG’s. Lastly, make sure your tires are properly inflating before beginning your trip.  Not only will you get less MPG, but you are also at a greater risk of an accident.