5 Tips for More Fuel-Efficient City Driving

With the way climate change is going, taking energy and fuel efficiency into your own hands is a great way to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Being aware and cognizant of your carbon footprint is the first step in making positive change towards a sustainable lifestyle. On a global scale, gas emissions are heavily polluting our air and are impacting the planet at alarming rates. Becoming more fuel efficient in your driving will not only help the planet, but it will also work double time to save money and the lifespan of your car.

You may have noticed the difference in your fuel efficiency when you are driving on a highway versus within the city. For those who have cars like a Ford Transit Connect, your fuel efficiency and gas mileage is indicated. You will have noticed that you seem to be using less gas when you are driving at a higher, consistent speed, compared to when you are making short trips, with all the stop-and-go of street lights, within a city. This happens because accelerating a car takes a lot more energy and fuel compared to driving along at a steady pace. The boost your car needs to start up again once it has been stopped comes from your fuel, but when you brake, that energy is not recovered, rather it is converted into heat. Doing this over and over again within the grid of a city means that you are consistently using a much higher amount of fuel. So, since we can’t all-together stop driving in urban areas, here are 5 tips for more fuel-efficient city driving.

Don’t accelerate after stop signs:

We all live busy lives and are trying to get places faster than ever. However, gunning your engine after you’ve braked is not a wise way to drive your car. You will be wasting a far higher amount of gas doing this. Instead, gently press the accelerator pedal and ease your vehicle into a roll. A good rule of thumb is to count to 5 when accelerating your car in order to optimize fuel-efficiency. It’s also safer, and safety is good!

Try to keep your speed consistent:

Fluctuating speeds are a sure way to decrease your fuel-efficiency. Keeping consistent is a good habit to adopt when you are driving. Using the same logic as highway driving, when possible, keep your city driving to a consistent speed. Sudden bursts in acceleration and braking will not only add more wear and tear to your car, but will burn more fuel as well, up to 20%. Planning your moves ahead of time and keeping a check on the cars surrounding you will help you drive at a stabilized speed.

Slow down:

Most cars’ gas mileage begins to tank when they are at speeds above 80km/h. Slowing down and driving within the speed limit but at a consistent pace will save you fuel. If you think of it in terms of money, every kilometre you drive above 80km/h will cost you about 5 cents per litre of gas. Everyone wants to save some cash, so try slowing your speed down a bit to save money and fuel. The planet will thank you!

Coast to the red light:

A lot of people like to do this to save their brake pads, but additionally, braking uses a lot of fuel. Braking takes the kinetic energy of a moving car that was produced by the fuel, and then turns it into useless heat, which evaporates into the air. To save this process and your fuel, try coasting towards a red light or stop sign. If you see the light change when you are further away, it will reduce the need to suddenly hit the brakes, allowing for more fuel-efficiency. For lazy drivers, this also reduces the sudden need to switch over to the brake pedal and back – win win!

Don’t let your vehicle be idle for more than a minute:

We’re moving away from the era of having to “warm up” the car 20 minutes before heading out in the winter. Modern cars have the ability to run on a lesser warm up time. Rather than wasting fuel sitting idle, just turn the engine on when you’re dusting the snow off your car and you’ll be good to go. If you are picking someone up, shut the engine off while you wait to save on emissions and fuel. Also in gridlock or unmoving traffic, when safe, you can turn the engine off before you get moving again.

Fuel-efficient city driving begins with making small, manageable changes to your current habits. See the difference in your gas tank levels and your wallet by implementing these 5 tips!

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