5 Reasons Why Most Fuel Efficient Cars Become Gas Guzzlers
Has something ever backfired on you before? Maybe you were going to try a new diet, maybe to shed some pounds or build some extra muscle. But it did the opposite of your goal. Or maybe you were trying to avoid seeing someone who annoys you, telling them you were attending another party, only to hear them say, “So am I!” It happens, and it’s often frustrating. Drivers of new (and used) cars can experience the same thing. Perhaps, you have bought a car for its fuel efficiency, only to realize that it’s not saving you a cent on gas! What gives? There’s a good chance that you’re overestimating what your car is capable of, and you’ve fallen into a series of habits that actually reduce your car’s fuel efficiency.
Just a Label
Fuel efficiency, although being a real feature in many cars, is just a label when you really look at it. It’s like a low-calorie shake – they’re good meal replacements, but they won’t help if you chug five or six of them a day. Many drivers fail to think about the numerous factors that affect a car’s fuel economy. For that very reason, it makes sense why people are confused and disappointed when they pay more at the pump than expected.
What Fuel Efficiency Labels Don’t Tell You
- Gas choice – This is an interesting one, because of the psychology behind it. A lot people think that choosing premium gas, will mean more miles per gallon. That’s a myth. In effect, those people who spend more money on premium when regular will do, are just wasting money.
- Geography – Where you live can actually affect how good your car is on gas. For example, living in areas full of unpaved roads, rural streets, and steep hills or mountains often lead to more fuel consumption. So that fancy hybrid may not save as much on gas for you, as it would for someone in the city.
- Driving habits – The king of all factors that influence fuel economy are driving habits. You can have the most efficient vehicle in the world, and it will still burn gas (and your money) real fast if you’re not careful about how you drive. This is what we want to focus on.
You drive too fast
Attention, wannabe racecar drivers! The more you’re accelerating when the light turns green, or speeding when it’s uncalled for, you will burn more gas. Essentially what’s happening, is that your car’s computer recognizes the increase in speed, and accommodates this by flooding the cylinders with more fuel. The result? You burn a lot more gas than you really need to. Managing your speed is one of the easiest things you can do to keep your car’s fuel efficiency to a high standard. If you haven’t learned to accelerate graciously, practice doing so. Don’t hesitate to use cruise control if you’re driving for longer distances, and resist the urge to speed on open stretches of road. Not only will you save on gas, you’ll avoid having to dish out cash for speeding tickets as well.
You drive too often
This one is a no brainer. If you’re always driving, your gas expenses will soar. So the fix is clear – don’t drive all the time and everywhere. Admittedly, it’s harder than it looks. It’s difficult to just change your routine if it involves a ton of driving, and it may even seem impractical if you have to travel long distances. If you’re travelling far, we’re not suggesting to bring camping gear with you, but you might want to think about driving less to places that are nearby. For example, if you live in a dense and traffic-congested city, why not take the bus or subway every so often? Over time, you’ll spend a little less on gas, and get a good break from driver-related stress.
You idle too much
Here’s a typical scene among drivers: they’re in a parking space, and they’re busy texting or browsing on their phone while the car is “warming up” (something that cars don’t really need to do anymore). In some cases, a jogger could do a whole lap and find that person in the same spot. If you’re one of those drivers that complains about gas prices, it’s time to stop idling. You might not burn much gas all at once, but the constant act of idling will make your car seem less fuel efficient. Now idling is also problematic when it comes to being on the road itself. When stuck in traffic or waiting at a traffic light, your car is burning gas even if you’re not moving (hybrid vehicles switch to electric power when not in motion). We don’t suggest for you turn your car off at every red light, but you should do so if you know you’ll be motionless for an extended period of time (perhaps more than 10 – 15 minutes).
You do too much
Some of you really make full use of your car. In other words, you’ve got the air conditioner going, the radio is on – your car is doing a lot of multitasking. These features are fine in moderation, but they all drain gas. So if you’re one of the people who does all of these things at once, expect to pay more at the pump. The simple solution is to avoid overusing all of these features at once. For example, if you’re not driving too fast and it’s a breezy summer day, roll down the windows. And why bother with cruise control if you have to keep shifting speeds? The less strain you put on your car, the more gas you’ll save.
You maintain too little
Perhaps the most overlooked reason why cars burn too much gas, is due to poor maintenance. Most people think that driving too often is the problem. That’s not true. When your car is under-serviced, it has to work harder. And when it has to work harder, it burns more gas. Failure to change the oil (properly or on time) and inflate/replace tires, can have a tremendous impact on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. That’s why there are no excuses for a lack of maintenance. Taking good care of your car will ensure that it reaches its potential when it comes to fuel efficiency.
Don’t Let it Burn
It’s true that some cars are more fuel efficient than others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have limits. A vehicle’s fuel consumption is only as helpful as the driver’s actions. That’s why what you do matters more than the car you buy. Watch out for things like your driving speed, behaviours in the car, and the amount of servicing you subject your car to. All of these factors make a difference in how your car performs and ultimately, how much money you’ll spend. So pay attention to what you do behind the wheel. Regardless of what car you drive, you’ll spend less at the pump if you keep the above-mentioned driving habits under control.