5 Tips to Make it to the Gas Station When You’re on Empty (#3 Will Surprise You)
There are a lot of things to keep track of on any given day: your family, your job, devising new excuses not to clean out the refrigerator, and sometimes paying attention to the gas gauge just doesn’t make the list. That is almost always the same time the gauge decides to plummet below E, and the closest gas station is not so close at all.
If you find yourself driving on fumes, here are some tips to help you squeeze out a few extra miles so you can make it to the pump:
1. Take Your Car Off the Grid
Unplug any charging devices, turn off the music and the AC. You want to reduce the amount of energy your vehicle is using.
2. Put Gravity to Work
When deciding which gas station to go to, try to pick the nearest one that gives you more options to go downhill rather than uphill.
3. Turn Your Car Off to Avoid Long Idles
I have a hard time with this one because I’m worried that if I turn my almost-out-of-gas car off, it might not turn back on. Plus, it just feels like turning a car on uses a lot of energy and gas – but the experts disagree.
Most vehicles built in the last 25 years or so use electronic fuel injection which is much more efficient in getting gas to the engine. When you start today’s cars, there’s not a big rush of fuel to a carburetor so contrary to popular belief, restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine.
4. Take a Slower, Gentler Approach
As you watch your odometer turn and the gas gauge dip lower, resist the urge to panic and gun it to the gas station. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Instead, accelerate slowly from a stop and drive at a lower speed. Anticipate upcoming stops and let your vehicle coast naturally to a stop when possible and safe to do so.
5. Roll Your Windows Up
Open windows increase aerodynamic drag (wind resistance), making your vehicle use more energy to push through the air. This effect is small at low speeds but increases at highway speeds.
Combined, these tips might make the difference between getting stranded on the side of the road and being able to make it to the pump. Of course, the best way to make sure you always have enough fuel to get to the station is to refill when your gauge gets to a quarter of a tank or as soon as that pesky light comes on.