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The most important thing you can do to save gas is pay attention to the road ahead and try to predict what will happen next. By knowing what other drivers and traffic lights are likely to do, you can avoid braking, idling, or otherwise wasting your energy.

Situational Awareness

If you are paying attention to things other than the road, your ability to see what’s coming up will be reduced. Instead of being on your toes, the things happening around you will catch you flat-footed.

Always try to be looking several lights ahead when you’re in city traffic. If you see a light just turning red, and you’re approaching, you can take your foot off the gas pedal faster and coast more. If you know a light is about to turn green again, you can coast up slower so you don’t have to slow down so much before taking off again.

On the highway, paying attention makes it possible to switch lanes before coming up on a situation that makes you brake. You can see a car you’re coming up on to pass earlier and change lanes in time. If you don’t, you’ll have to brake, sit behind them, and then hit the gas to get your desired speed back up, wasting your energy.

By looking ahead and planning ahead a bit, you can save yourself some serious energy.

Also, don’t forget to frequently check the mirrors. If you’re driving below the flow of traffic to save fuel, knowing who is coming up to pass you is just as important as who is ahead of you.

Leave Plenty of Space

If you leave plenty of space in front of you, you will have more time to avoid braking.

Look at the above image. When you are trying to avoid braking at all, you’re going to need even more space than that. You’ll need space for reaction distance, time to decide which other lane to change to, or time to take some other action to avoid braking hard.

If you’re following other cars very closely at all, you’ll miss many chances to avoid braking when you could have coasted your speed down or regenerated more.

Don’t build up speed just to throw it away.

Have you ever been next to somebody at a light who takes off hard, only to be next to them at the next light again? It’s a huge waste of energy to speed way up just to brake it off again for nothing.

By paying attention to the road ahead, you can decide when it’s better to take off slower or harder.  In situations where you need to take off harder to avoid sitting at a red light, go for it. You’ll save gas. But when you’re guaranteed to stop again soon, why waste all that energy?

Using Apps For Navigation

Use apps like Waze or Google Maps, or some factory navigation systems, to know what’s ahead that may impact your energy consumption.

  • Upcoming traffic and jams on your route (Waze or Google Maps)
  • Upcoming hazards (Waze)
  • Road closures (Waze or Google Maps)
  • Police Activity (wrecks, speeding traps–use Waze)

By avoiding these things or at least knowing they’re coming, you can improve your mileage.

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