These small tips can save gasoline

I have a mid-size sedan and a midsize performance car. I rarely use the power in either of them, and accordingly get reasonably good gas mileage around town, both at about 22 mpg.

 

I was curious whether I could reduce my gas use by taking my driving practices to a new level, in which I accelerate even more slowly away from a stop, with my foot off the gas further ahead of a stop or turn ahead. One could call it "light-foot driving." The idea is to avoid downshifting as much as possible, getting to and keeping the engine in its highest gear, and recognizing that braking confirms a waste of paid-for momentum.

Through about 300 miles on each car, I got an improvement to 25 mpg on both. The downside is a slightly longer travel time, as well as more attention to who is following.

If one drives 1,000 miles per month, this kind of saving would amount to five gallons per month, or more than $200 per year. If one were to change from a more typical driving pattern, with fast starts, full speed to the next stop and tailgating, expected savings should be greater. If everyone were to do this, the United States would reduce its gasoline consumption by 15 percent or more -- a good step before the expense of junking our gas hogs.

Another cost saving for owners of performance cars like mine is that one can switch from 92 octane, going to 89 or even 87 octane, as the higher octane is only useful if really pushing the limits of the engine.

Victor Reilly, Aiken, S.C.

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