1. News
  2. Automotive News

Aggressive driving costs consumers money at the gas pump

Researchers say certain driving habits are a drain on fuel economy

Photo (c) Chris Ryan - Getty Images
A new study from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has calculated how much money "aggressive" drivers lose in fuel economy.

Results indicate that aggressive driving lowered gas mileage in light-duty vehicles by 10-40 percent in stop-and-go-traffic and by 15-30 percent at highway speeds.

They say those values equate to losing between $0.25 and $1 per gallon.

"Our findings added credence to the idea that an aggressive driving style does affect fuel economy probably more than people think," said lead author John Thomas.

How to drive more efficiently

The first step to improving your gas mileage is to examine your driving habits and see where you can make improvements. The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following tips:

  • Observe the speed limit. Every vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed or range of speeds, but gas mileage tends to drop drastically at speeds over 50 mph. Findings show that drivers lose approximately $0.18 for every 5 mph they go over 50 mph.
  • Avoid hauling cargo on your roof. Hauling cargo on your roof increases wind resistance on your vehicle and can lower fuel economy by as much as 25 percent. Rear-mounted cargo boxes are more fuel efficient, and taking external cargo containers off your vehicle when they’re not being used will save you money.
  • Remove excess weight. Storing unused items in your vehicle (especially heavy items) is a sure way to reduce fuel economy. Findings show that every extra 100 pounds in your car reduces your miles-per-gallon by 1%.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Keeping your engine running can burn between a quarter and half gallon of gas every hour depending on the engine size and air conditioner use. Restarting an engine, on the other hand, only burns around 10 seconds' worth of fuel.
  • Use cruise control. Using cruise control when driving on the highway can help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will help drivers save on gas.

For more information on how to improve your fuel economy, you can visit the Department of Energy’s site here.

Quick and easy. Get matched with an Auto Warranty partner.