Loading up the car and heading out onto the open road has become somewhat of a rite of passage – something that everyone should experience at least once in their life. However before embarking on a cross-country road trip you have more to consider than which direction to head in.
The price of fuel could prove somewhat prohibitive to some, however there are things you can do to increase your mileage and get the most out of each tank.
Take it Steady
When it comes to a road trip it’s about the journey rather than the destination, so take your time and drive smoothly to improve your fuel efficiency, but what does this involve?
The key thing to remember is that if you do anything quickly or suddenly it is using more fuel than if you were to do it in ‘good time’. Accelerate at a steady pace, and you want to be aiming to move through the gears when the rev counter reaches around 2,500 rpm, though it is more like 2,000 rpm for diesel engines, however you can refer to your car’s manual for guidance.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Before heading out you should do some basic checks on your vehicle to ensure that it is in a good enough condition to get you to your destination, but it is also recommended that you service your car to ensure it is finely tuned, as an engine that isn’t looked after will use significantly more fuel during your road trip.
For example, it is estimated that a dirty air filter can reduce fuel mileage by up to 20% while old spark plugs can reduce it by up to 12%.
Check Your Tires
As a part of those pre-journey checks you need to make sure to test the tyre pressure, as under-inflated tires can not only increase the risk of skidding in the event of a skid but also dramatically increase fuel consumption.
You will find the recommended pressure level in the car’s user manual, and many petrol and service stations offer air for free or next to nothing anyway so there is no excuse to be driving on under-inflated tires.
Only Take What You Need
The heavier your car weighs the more fuel it requires to get it from A to B, so make sure you only take as much luggage as you need. The US Department of Energy estimates that fuel economy is increased by 1-2 per cent for every 100lbs removed from a vehicle, so it follows that if you’re transporting your entire wardrobe your fuel consumption is going to increase.
Avoid Traveling in Rush Hour
Depending on where you are and how far you are traveling it may be that you are going to be driving over the course of a couple of days. Taking plenty of breaks is important for your alertness levels, but you should also plan to avoid driving during rush hour traffic as this will increase the time it takes to travel certain distances as well as make idling more likely – both of which increase fuel consumption.
When you take a road trip holiday it is inevitable that one of the biggest expenditures is going to be on fuel, however by following this simple advice you can make sure that you only shell out what you need to on the forecourt.
This guest blog was written by John Rooney on behalf of Insure Daily - providers of short term car insurance. Ideal for making sure you and your friends are covered before heading out on that road trip.