13. Save on gas.
Fuel efficiency is good for many things: your car, your wallet, the planet at large. Fortunately, there are all kinds of simple things you can do to use less gas.
If you know that you’ll be idling for more than 10 seconds, turn off your engine. Some drivers think it takes more gas to turn off and then restart their car than to leave it running—but if you’ll be there that long, it won’t.
Take it easy.
Aggressively stomping on the accelerator or slamming on the brakes can lower gas mileage by up to 30 percent. Use cruise control whenever possible: It can save you 7 percent in highway fuel costs.
The lighter the load in or on your car, the more you’ll save on gas. In fact, for every 100 pounds you add, you reduce your mile-per-gallon by a full percentage point. Accessories like roof racks and cargo boxes make matters worse by increasing drag, which can slash fuel economy by up to 25 percent.
When tire pressure drops, so does fuel economy. Make it a habit to occasionally check all four tires in the morning—when they’re cold—and then add air as needed at your next fuel stop. You can find your vehicle’s suggested pressure on a label in the driver’s door jamb. If you want someone to check and fill, many retailers—including America’s Tire, Big O, and Pep Boys—offer free drive-through services.
Forget the gas.
The best way to consume less gas is to stop using it altogether: When it’s time to buy a new car, choose an electric (or hybrid) instead. EVs produce 25 percent fewer emissions than combustion-engine cars; if the electricity in your neighborhood isn’t generated by coal and natural gas, that number goes up to 60 percent. And while such vehicles might cost more up-front, they cost less to operate—$485 per year on average for an EV vs. $1,100 for an internal combustion model.