Five Lessons From 'Mileage Misers' On How To Beat High Gas Prices


The United Postal Service, better known as UPS (UPS), has been working for the past few years to run their trucks efficiently. And with gas prices at a record high, now is a more important time than ever to find come up with an effective method of doing so.

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Through time studies, the delivery company found that avoiding left hand turns actually saves time, reduces emissions, conserves fuel and reduces the potential for accidents. According to their website, in 2007 UPS shaved nearly 30 million miles off their delivery routes, saved 3 million gallons of gas and reduced emissions by 32,000 metric tons of CO2, simply by minimizing left hand turns in their delivery routes.

According to one UPS driver MainStreet tracked down, the company has people who analyze and then re-engineer the recommended routes that drivers take in order to minimize the idling time. The rationale behind the practice is that one hour of idling time per day consumes .4 gallons of fuel. That may seem like a minute number but with 93,000 vehicles in their fleet, UPS burns a collective 3,700 gallons of fuel for an hour’s worth of idling each day.

Just as UPS has made a conscious effort cut back, drivers across the country do the same thing in their own vehicles, and you can too. Often referred to as mileage or fuel misers, people have determined a number of ways to get the most from your visits to the gas station.
Bloggers, advice columnists and even UPS itself have all offered drivers a list of ways that they can implement the practices into their own lives. Here are a few of the best tips from across the Web:

Pay attention to tire pressure
Under-inflated tires can reduce gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 pound per square inch they are below their recommended pressure. If a tire is 10 psi low, inflating it will get it a 4% better gas mileage. For example, it will get 20 miles for every gallon, instead of 19.2 miles.

Drive Smooth
Depending on how hard a driver pumps their gas pedal, a change in driving style can return anywhere from 5% to 33% better gas mileage. Gently and gradually accelerating and decelerating and driving at constant speed will help conserve fuel. Letting off the gas early to coast to stops will improve mileage as well.

Unload Extra Weight
It may sound like common sense but, the heavier a car, the more fuel it takes to get it and keep it moving. So, clean out the kid’s sports equipment, the bowling bag or the beach chairs from the weekend and lighten the load in the trunk. (However don’t get crazy and take out the necessary things like the spare tire or roadside tools.)

Keep the speed moderate.
The faster a car travels, the more gas it uses. Fuel conservation drops at speeds above 60 mph. For instance a car that might get 30 miles per gallon at 60 mph may get just 23 miles per gallon at 75 mph. Generally, 55 mph is the most economical speed at which long distances could be traveled in a reasonably short time. And, if you suffer from a lead foot, switch on the cruise control to avoid going too fast.

Plan the route before you leave
It’s beneficial to decide where you’re going and in what order. If you do this, you can take a page from UPS and organize your trip according to the shortest mileage between stops.

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