During the winter months, your car can burn twice as much gas compared to other times of the year. Several factors contribute to this, such as the engine needing more heat and energy to warm up, and the extra horsepower – and increase in idling – you may experience when driving in snowy conditions. However, there are things you can do to save on fuel and put money back into your pocket during the winter months.
In cold temperatures, it takes longer for the engine to reach its optimal temperature, which impacts the amount of gas you go through. You can shorten the time it takes to warm up the engine by parking overnight in a garage, where your car may stay warmer. To heat the engine faster, you can buy a block heater to bring the coolant up to temperature before starting the car. Block heaters can make a tank of gas last up to 10 percent longer.
In cold weather conditions, your tires have a tendency to lose air pressure, especially if you go long periods of time without driving. Under-inflated tires can increase the amount of fuel your car uses by as much as 6 percent. Check the tires often for proper inflation during the winter months. This results in even wear, not only making a tank of gas last longer, but allowing you to get more life out of your tires.
Snow creates resistance, so your car must work harder to drive over it. To save on fuel, try to avoid driving immediately after snowfall, and allow time for the salt trucks and plows to do their work. If you don’t have a choice, try to follow in the tracks of other cars in front of you. Extended idling also is a gas guzzler.
Slower and Smoother
The faster you drive, the more gas you burn, so drive at posted speed limits to save gas. For example, your car consumes 20 percent more gas traveling at 75 mph than it does at 55 mph. Fast starts and hard braking can cause you to burn through a tank of gas 40 percent faster, while only getting you to your destination about 4 percent faster. Try to drive on highways rather than city roads, as highway driving is better on miles per gallon.
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