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Chevrolet Offers Tips To Save You Up To $100 On Gas

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

With Memorial Day weekend the unofficial kick off to the summer travel season, our friends at Chevrolet have released a study that examined gas usage by two people driving identical cars.  The study is designed to show consumers how to raise fuel economy and create astonishing savings.

The two drivers drove identical Cruze LTs, which according to the EPA, averages 24 MPG City and 36 MPG highway.  They drove an identical route, which was created to include city and highway driving, as well as a stop.  While one driver maintained efficient driving habits and maintenance, the other did not…causing the first driver to average 37 MPG while the other to average 21 MPG.

Now obviously this is going to vary from car to car, but the point is the same, no matter what you drive:  maintain your car, drive smart, and you will maximize your fuel efficiency.  To that end, Chevy provided 10 tips to help you do just that:

5 Driving Tips to Save at the Pump

Here are five things Chevrolet did to drive more efficiently in the Cruze:

1. Get out of the drive-through lane While the second driver waited in the drive-thru with her car running, the first driver shut off the engine and went inside for her morning coffee. Idling for 15 minutes burns through an average of a quarter of a gallon – adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.

2. Take it easy  In the city, the first driver accelerated smoothly while the second driver demonstrated one of the most common mistakes we see on the road: Jumping on the gas at every light, only to hit the brakes as she caught up with the traffic ahead. Such aggressive driving isn’t going to get you home any faster, while driving smoothly can improve your mileage by 20 percent.

3. Driving 70, not 80 On the highway, the first driver drove 70, compared to the second driver’s 80. Again, a 10-mph difference likely won’t add much time to your daily commute, but it will save you up to four miles per gallon on the highway.

4. Use cruise control  The first driver tried to maintain a constant speed during our drive, while the second driver’s fluctuated with traffic. Try using cruise control when possible, and maintaining a constant speed over time, which is much more efficient than speeding up and slowing down over and over again.

5. Roll up the windows  One of the most common questions Chevrolet gets is ‘Is it better to drive with the A/C on, or off?’ At slower speeds, turning off the air conditioning can save you a little, but the first driver always rolls up the windows on the highway. The second driver was driving with her windows down, and the increased air pressure acted like a parachute trying to slow her down – consuming much more energy than air conditioning ever will.”

5 Vehicle Mistakes That Hurt MPG:

Here are things that contributed to Chevy’s second driver’s poor fuel economy:

1. Low tire pressure  All four tires on her car were five pounds under their recommended air pressure. That’s not enough to change how the Cruze drives, but it does make the engine work much harder to turn the wheels. Check your tires at least once a month, as a tire that is 10 pounds under pressure can cut your fuel efficiency by more than 3 percent.

2. Using roof ornaments  To show support for her favorite team, the second driver put up window flags on her Cruze for every home game. But, when the team hit the road, the flags will come down. At highway speeds, up to a third of your fuel is used to overcome wind resistance, so even small changes to your vehicle’s aerodynamics will have a big impact in fuel economy.

3. Carrying extra junk in the trunk  The second driver had six bags of water-softener salt in the trunk, bought on sale at the hardware store. But, according to EPA estimates, every 100 pounds of weight can reduce fuel economy by 2 percent. While she saved at the checkout, that 240 pounds of salt added almost 5 percent to fuel costs for the trip.”

4. Ignoring the “check engine” light  The second driver was forced to called OnStar to run a remote diagnostics check on the Cruze, because the check engine light was on. Turns out the light was on because the gas cap was loose. But, more serious engine problems can cut your fuel economy by up to 40 percent.

5. Not bundling errands  An engine at operating temperature is up to 50 percent more efficient than a cold engine. So, when possible, it’s much better to run five errands in an afternoon, than running one errand every day of the week.

Visit our Auto Research section to take a closer look at the Chevy Cruze>>