Americans are more conscious about the environment and pollution more than ever. Many are buying electric vehicles, hybrids, and turning to solar power for their homes. In many states, like Vermont, most of the energy is being made from renewable resources. This is also a goal of many European nations to eliminate the dependence on finite fossil fuels if not for their greenhouse gases alone. A vital part of this effort can be done by anyone who owns a vehicle that runs on fuel combustion. Let’s consider some easy ways that you can conserve gas driving on the highway in greater detail below.
#1: Low Rolling Resistance Tires
Driving down the highway presents some challenges to your tires. They have to overcome the inherent rolling resistance that is pushing back on their desire to rotate as quickly as possible. If you purchase tires that are designed with better engineering to roll easier, you can reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. These tires also last longer because they are not overheating from the friction energy that is created when tires are forced to overcome the flex of their own structural deficiencies.
#2: Fix Vacuum Leaks
Vacuum leaks are one of the primary causes of excess fuel consumption. The vacuum is the sucking force that is created by engine during normal operation. This is due to the mechanism of the pistons pulling down when the intake valves are open to suck in the air and fuel mixture necessary for combustion. Because the vacuum is highest at idle, you will likely notice a rough idle or stalling if there is a vacuum leak. The vacuum leak can be anywhere because many components run on vacuum: brake booster, A/C components, and even older alternator systems that have vacuum advance. You can test for vacuum leaks by spraying a can of starter fluid around the engine bay, if the engine is running rough, and listen for smooth running as an indication that you sprayed near the leak.
#3: Tune-Up Your Vehicle
Things like a dirty air filter can choke off the air supply that your engine needs to run efficiently. When you replace a dirty air filter, you will immediately notice an increase in throttle responsiveness and gradients of the powerband returning. You should also replace any coolant temperature sensors more than 5 years old to conserve gas because they are semiconductors that develop internal resistance. The internal resistance will cause the fuel management to dump fuel if it thinks that the engine is still cold. Malfunctions of these sensors can be hard to spot because they read a temperature, just not the correct one.
Tune-ups are the easiest ways for people to conserve gas driving on the highway. New spark plugs, a new air filter, a new coolant temp. sensor, and an overall checkup can mean the difference between 30 mpg or 10.
#4: Pulse and Glide Method
You can also use the pulse and glide method to conserve gas by pulsing on the accelerator and gliding for as long as possible. This takes advantage of your car’s natural inertia if you have good bearings.
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