If alternative means of transportation, such as walking, biking and mass transport (always more efficient and environmentally friendly than driving) don’t suit you, then here are a couple of insights that may help you save on gas:
Don’t idle your engine: a common myth has it that (re)starting a car engine consumes more fuel than leaving it idle (for example, when waiting on a pedestrian crossing, traffic junction or train crossing). The truth though is that restarting your engine will consume as much gas as a 10 second idling period would. So use that rule: if you are stationary for more than 10 seconds, turn your engine off. You will be saving gas.
And while we are on the subject of idling: avoid long periods of warming up your car when you first start the engine. It used to be the case that warming up was required for cars to properly work; it’s not anymore. Most modern cars do not require any warming up, or need less than 30 seconds, even in the dead of winter. Check with your car’s manufacturer manual for details on the optimum warm-up time for your car (plus, you will find other fuel efficiency tips in there), and save gas – plus a few minutes of sleep every morning!
Fill up your tank when it is cool outside: unless you are a chemistry teacher, or got straight A’s in science at school, you probably don’t remember, know or realize, that gas pumps measure volume instead of mass. What does this mean? That the colder it is, the more gas will be contained in one gallon of gas, as the fuel becomes denser in cooler temperatures. So filling up late at night, or early in the morning, can result in getting more gas per dollar, therefore paying less!
Finally, some widespread gas efficiency advice that is nevertheless worth repeating: driving smoothly (i.e. avoiding aggressively accelerating and breaking), driving using the highest possible gear, removing unnecessary weight from the trunk or the inside of the car and keeping your tires properly inflated can have a cumulative effect of around 10% savings! And for an extra bit of savings, remember to close all car windows when driving on the freeways and opening them instead of the air condition when driving at low speed.
Electrical Engineer, Data Scientist