Driving Habits That Save You Money
Driving Habits That Save You Money
I’m a man obsessed with optimization. My academic strengths were always science and statistics, and with an understanding of chemistry and math you start to realize that the world itself is an entity entirely consumed with optimization.
It seems that every time a major predator makes itself known, there is some sort of bigger predator. For every overabundance of prey comes some sort of hunter or virus to bring things back into check. Taking this philosophy and applying it to your life gives you someone like me; Search Engine Optimizer by trade, DIY enthusiast by hobby, and life hacker by passion.
There are a few ways that you can life hack your way into some extra distance out of your car, and a few more gallons for your hard earned cash at the pump.
1) Think Before You Start a Trip
There are a number of ways that taking a minute to brainstorm can save you some money. First, group your trips by distance and function; you may find that you don’t mind driving an extra 5 miles to drop off your dry cleaning if gas is 10 cents cheaper per gallon. On the flip side, if you know you’re shopping for a party, find a supermarket closer to home so you don’t use more gas than you absolutely have to haul it home.
You can also change the time at which you commute. If you have to make it to a high-traffic area, leaving an hour early not only can save you some time in traffic, but some money as well on gas.
2) Use the Cruise Control Feature. Often.
Make this feature of your car the new best friend in your life. Do a quick Google search for “ways to increase MPG”; you’ll find millions of results. If you click any number of them, I’d be willing to bet you that the words “drive at a more consistent speed; accelerate slower, and start stopping further away” are on 99% of the articles.
How though, can you possibly account for all of the factors that affect your speed. Studies have shown that talking on the phone, anger, sadness, and even what day of the week it is has a statistical correlation with increased speed.
As a science fiend, I realized that what is needed is some sort of control in this experiment. With so many variables flying around, it would cause me so much stress just trying to concentrate on my speed that driving would become frustrating. The answer came to be as I started a 4-hour drive to my favorite ski resort. Cruise control takes all the other things that could mess with your speed and throws them out the window. The car does the thinking for you, just steer and stop.
3) Keep the Cool, for Yourself and Your Car
Overheating is a problem for both yourself, and your car. If you elect not to abuse your cruise control like I do, at least make an effort to drive calm, and keep the temperature cool.
Studies show that driving angry or agitated decreases your fuel economy considerably, but did you know that the colder you are in your car, the slower you go? Statistically speaking, the majority of speeding tickets are given in the summer months, when the sky is clear and the heat is in the upper part of the thermometer.
Whether this means that being physically cold is correlated with slower speeds, or police officers have something better to do in the winter is beyond me. As a man in love with statistics, I can’t deny the raw data, when you’re colder, you drive slower and more consistently, and that’s a recipe for saving gas.
The fact remains that the biggest contributor to wasted gas and lower MPG is the human error. Anyone in love with science reading this is nodding their head and silently cursing me for pointing out the obvious. For everyone else, trust me, take out as many variables as you can that make people speed, or waste gas, and watch your wallet grow thicker.
Pete Wise is a Life-Hacking Addict and White-Hat SEO Jedi. This article was researched and written for AAMCO Centers of Colorado, whom specialize in total automotive care and transmission repair. Follow Pete on Twitter: @MySEOHeadache