City of Madison

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Fuel Saving Driving Tips

  1. Avoid "jack rabbit" starts and aggressive driving.   Flooring the gas pedal not only wastes gas, it leads to drastically higher pollution rates.  One second of high-powered driving can produce nearly the same volume of carbon monoxide emissions as a half-hour of normal driving.  Quick starts can reduce mileage up to 12%. Accelerate slowly and save up to 2 mpg.
  2. Think ahead.  Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast down as much as possible.  Avoid the increased pollution, wasted gas, and wear on your brakes created by accelerating hard and braking hard.
  3. Follow the speed limit!  Driving 75 mph instead of 65 mph will lower your fuel economy by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tailpipe pollution in many vehicles.
  4. When possible, plan your trips to avoid rush hour.  Stop-and-go driving burns excess gas and increases emissions of smog forming pollutants.
  5. Combine trips.  Warmed-up engines and catalysts generate much less air pollution, so combining several short trips into one can make a big difference.
  6. Take a load off.  Carrying around an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy by about 1 percent.  Take a few moments to unload your cargo area.
  7. If your vehicle has it, use overdrive gear at cruising speeds.  When driving a manual transmission, shift up as soon as possible.  Running in a higher gear decreases the rpm and will decrease fuel use and engine wear.
  8. Try using the vents and opening windows during normal city driving to cool off before you turn on the air conditioner.  Air conditioner used increases fuel consumption.  Air conditioners use up to a gallon of gas per tank.
  9. Keep windows closed at highway speeds as open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10%.
  10. Keep your tires properly inflated and you'll get better gas mileage.  Under inflated tires can increase rolling resistance by 5%. This can cost about $2.30 a month in wasted gas and of course causes premature tire wear.
  11. Check and change your oil regularly - this will help your engine last longer and keep it running efficiently.  If you change your oil yourself, be sure to recycle it at your local community oil-recycling center.
  12. Use other transportation options when you can - walk, bike, bus, or carpool.
  13. Turn off your car rather than let it idle for more than 30 seconds.
  14. Tune up your car regularly.  A car that is in tune uses 20% less fuel and spews less heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the air.