If you drive carefully, smooth and steady, your cars parts will last longer. Be nice to your car and drive it soft with a calm patient mind, by leaving extra time to commute and you will observe lower long term operating costs, lower repair costs and improved fuel economy.
Smooth Driving Technique
- Accelerate smoothly and slowly, you cant drive through the cars in front of you, and racing towards a red light is not going to save you time. This will make your transmission and brakes last longer as well. If you find yourself "in a hurry" then rethink your schedule and make more time for commuting with smooth calm style.
- Drive smooth and steady, in heavy traffic for example slow down and leave a forward gap and crawl/cruse at the average moving speed, rather than speeding up and stopping repeatedly. This is less stressful and reduces wear on your car while also saving gas/ money. In a manual transmission car this will also reduce leg fatigue and extend the life of your clutch system.
- Decelerate slowly and try to catch the light, so that by the time you get to the intersection the light is green. This works better in light traffic, especially if someone has tripped the sensor already camping at the light.
- To build good (efficient) driving habits you can pretend that you are carrying dangerous shock sensitive cargo that would spill or brake if you drive "hard" and focus on steady smooth driving.
- Keep your tire pressure up, as this reduced rolling resistance and makes your tires last longer.
- Change your engine oil regularly, this reduces internal engine friction, and use the lowest weight appropriate for your vehicle. Make sure your oil level is not overfilled. Many service intervals claim 5000 or 7500 miles, but if you are doing a lot of traffic driving, change it more often. The oil is recycled by shops, and you can recycle it yourself at an autoparts store.
- Change the engines air filter regularly, or clean it if it is the reusable type. If the engine can breath properly (less intake restriction) it will operate better.
- Take the junk cargo out of the car. Your vehicle is not a storage bin, and if you clear it out, recycle, store or donate, then you can improve cornering, acceleration and braking performance.
- When you replace your tires, ask about and go with Low Rolling Resistance Types like Michelin Energy Saver A/S.
Thinking About It Deeper
CleanMPG.com and Ecomodder.com have extensive postings about Hypermiling/ ecodriving techniques. Below I have cherry picked (copied and pasted) some of the best content and ideas and listed them off here for your education and entertainment.
Make safety your first priority. Use good judgment and be considerate toward drivers around you. Take care to learn new techniques in an isolated environment, and incorporate them gradually into regular use.
The Driver Is Key
Adjusting the nut behind the wheel is arguably the most important modification a can make to his or her vehicle. While an eco-aero modified vehicle will get better MPG regardless of the driver, driving techniques have the added advantage of being free and portable - you can bring your fuel saving skills to any vehicle you drive.
Driving Less The best way to reduce fuel use is to drive less:
a) Live closer to work;
e) take public transit
Track Your Fuel Economy
One of the first steps in improving efficiency is tracking fuel consumption.
Get in the habit of saving all your fuel receipts, recording distance traveled and fuel economy (MPG). Keep a small notebook to record trip type and new techniques employed to monitor your progress.
Leave Early and Don't Rush
The enemy of efficient driving is finding yourself in a rush. Leave for your destination a little early so you don't feel pressure to drive faster, brake later and otherwise fall back into bad habits.
Driving efficiently can be much more relaxing than the typical person's driving style, but you need to allow a bit of extra time.
Note Transition Points
If you regularly travel the same roads, make a conscious effort to note (memorize) the points along the way where transitions occur that maximize efficiency.
EG. memorize where you can initiate a coast to just make it to the next stop sign. Or note at what speed you can crest a hill so you're traveling just fast enough for the next transition after the descent.
Choose Lane of Least Resistance
In multi-lane traffic, choose the "lane of least resistance" to avoid unnecessary and unpredictable braking/changes in speed.
EG. avoid lanes where buses are starting and stopping, or cars may be braking unpredictably to turn into driveways/parking lot entrances.
Do the Longest Leg First
When combining multiple trips into one journey, go to your farthest destination first, and work your way back. This ensures the vehicle is warmed up as much as possible before subjecting it to multiple starts and stops. Engines operate most efficiently and most cleanly when they reach full operating temperature. In most instances this takes between 5 and 20 minutes of vehicle operation depending on the vehicle and weather conditions.
Adopt a Blocker
Some people are uncomfortable driving at speeds less than the average flow of traffic on multi-lane freeways.
One solution is to find another vehicle going the speed you want to travel (large, conspicuous vehicles work particularly well) and drive either ahead of or behind it. (Note: this is not a suggestion to draft.)
Competing against yourself (or others) to get the best possible fuel economy can do wonders for increasing motivation to learn more, refine your skills, and try harder. Start by tracking your average normal fuel economy for each tank and writing it down. Use the trip tick in your car when you fill up. When you fill your tank reset the trip tick on your dash. The next time you fill up record the number of miles before resetting the trip tick. Record the number of gallons you add at this fill up then divide the miles recorded by the gallons recorded to get a miles per gallon record for that tank. Once you get a baseline reference going you can start competing against yourself. Remember that winter reduces fuel economy and summer improves it. You can see gains in all seasons by using energy efficient safe driving techniques.
Leave a Space Cushion
When driving on a multi-lane roadway, try to maintain a "space cushion" around you.
IE. avoid driving for any length of time beside a vehicle in the next lane. The more options you leave open for making a prompt lane change if one is needed, the safer and more efficient you'll be (if it means avoiding an unnecessary slowdown).
Practice Good Following Distance
Avoid driving so close behind another vehicle that you are forced to *immediately* brake if it begins slowing down. Important at all times, but particularly in sub/urban driving where traffic changes speed more often.
Leave enough space that you have time to choose other options (perhaps a lane change).
In addition, the greater your following distance, the better your forward visibility will be, which enables you to look well ahead and anticipate changes in the driving environment.
Look Well Ahead and Anticipate
Your ability to drive efficiently depends on being able to anticipate changes in the driving environment. The way to do this is by constantly scanning well ahead in your intended path.
In city driving you should know what's happening at least 10-15 seconds ahead. On the freeway, at least 30 seconds visual lead time is appropriate.
Be a Smooth Operator
Smooth use of the accelerator, steering, transmission and brakes is not only more comfortable for you and your passengers, it's also a little more efficient (less scrubbing of tires, energy lost through suspension movement). It's also better for the longevity of the vehicle and in general a sign of a skilled driver.
Got Skills ?
Calm Music Helps
Leave the speed metal at home. Fast paced music can make a driver more impatient, more aggressive and likely to speed. At the same time, slower paced music is more relaxing and tends to promote a more sensible driving style while also reducing stress.