Driving is expensive; all you have to do is look at pump prices to see it. There is plenty of advice out there on how to save fuel, some of it good, a lot of it marginal and plenty of it bad. Some advice is pretty simple, but because of that you can generally trust that it is right.
The fastest way to cut driving expenses is simply not to drive.
For every mile that you could drive but don’t drive, you will significantly cut down expenses. If you can walk to your location in less than ten minutes, it is worth it. By the time you have started up, combated traffic and found a park you time is likely to even out. Biking is a great way to exercise and in many cases is faster than driving. A study at University of Canterbury found that in morning traffic in the city that trips that took up to 20 minutes in a car took about 2 minutes less time on average on a bike. Not much, but driving being faster isn’t always an excuse.
Driving conservatively will reduce use by a large percent.
Driving fast gets you stuck in traffic faster. Often those couple minutes you save initially by speeding will be lost once you get into city traffic. Fast acceleration requires a lot more fuel, and getting to speed faster does not come close to balancing out with smooth acceleration. Smooth early breaking saves fuel, one of the most noticeable ways it does this is when you break smoothly towards a light it is more likely to go green before you come to a complete stop than when you break later. Faster always equals more fuel, and rarely if ever will mean less fuel by reaching your location faster. Over revving by being in a low gear will also make large increases in fuel use.
Keep your car in good condition.
Tires that are not properly inflated will add 10% or more to your fuel use, I will not give pressure values as these will be different depending on what you are driving. A fine tuned car will also go through a lot less fuel and oil than a car in bad condition.
Keep your windows up and your A/C off.
There is a lot of debate over which one is better than the other in terms of cooling, but if you don’t need to be cooled, by using neither you will make significant savings. I will not enter into the window AC debate. Do your own research and trust your instinct on this one.
Turn your car off if waiting for more than a minute.
Cars do use more fuel when initially starting up compared to idling, though this is outweighed by fuel use over a 30 second mark in most post 80’s cars. If you are picking up someone and know you are likely to wait a couple minutes turn it off. If you are waiting while a friend or relation runs into a convenience shop for any reason you will save fuel by turning your car off for that period of time. There is a suggestion that you can save fuel by turning your car off at traffic lights, I do not suggest this for the reason that the small chance of your car not starting for whatever reason will leave you in more trouble than it’s worth. When stuck in traffic this is a decision for you to make based on the situation.
The only true way to reduce driving expenses is to not use fuel, in all other cases use common sense.