After a long period of low gas prices we haven’t seen since the 1990s, gas prices are starting to rise again, just in time for the fuel-sapping heat of summer. Here are some helpful tips on saving fuel in summer to keep you out of gas-related debt on your road trip vacation.
Summer is hard on fuel use because it’s hot, and you want to use your air conditioning a lot or have the windows rolled down. Both of these things affect fuel economy—AC uses more energy, and rolling the windows down increases drag, which uses more gas.
To minimize how hard your AC has to work, it’s also a good idea to keep your car as cool as possible. Park in the shade or in a garage when you can, leave the windows down so air can cycle through, and roll them down for a few minutes before turning on the AC so the car has time to cool off.
Otherwise, follow the usual fuel-saving rules: don’t go too fast, coast to a stop, and lay off the brake.
As the weather heats up, the wear and tear on your car can get worse. Here are a few ways you can protect your car in hot weather:
- Use a windshield sun shade – These protect your interior from baking in the heat and keeps your car cooler when you get back inside after a hot day.
- Use protective sprays – There are products available that can provide another protective layer, like vinyl or leather protectants.
- Consider tinted windows – You’ll need to review your state’s regulations on the amount you can tint a window, but these can keep your upholstery from cracking.
- Park in the shade – This is obvious, but when you can, park in the shade. Look for streets where the shade created by buildings will pass over your car during the hottest part of the day.
- Check the car’s battery – When it gets hot, excessive fluid evaporation reduces the life of the battery. Make sure it’s functioning in top shape.
- Travel when it’s cooler – If you can, try to drive during the cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late evening. It will be easier on you, your passengers, and your car.