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8 Tips for Saving Fuel that Anyone Can Use

Whether you drive a 40-foot big rig or a two-door Prius, fuel conservation is a concern for most anyone. With a fleet of 88,000 vehicles on the street every day, logging over 2 billion miles a year, the automotive engineers at UPS can offer motorists some solid advice for saving fuel.

1. Plan your route. When doing your holiday shopping, consider the best way to get to the locations without backtracking. When taking a long trip, use maps or Internet sites to determine the quickest and most direct route. Another point to consider when planning your route is to avoid left turns and rush-hour traffic. Waiting to turn left and sitting in a traffic jam wastes gas. So if you can, plan your stops like UPS does, keeping them on the right-hand side of the street for the majority of your trip. Try it—it works to save fuel, time and money.

2. Schedule regular car maintenance. Maintaining your car can affect its gas mileage. Following the maintenance schedule in your car’s owner’s manual will keep your car properly tuned and help it burn less fuel. Making sure you have a clean air filter is another tip that can have an impact on MPG.

3. Check your tire pressure. Tires can lose air over time because of temperature fluctuations. When tires are under-inflated it creates more resistance with the road. That resistance means more gas is used to move the vehicle. You can use the tire pressure guide in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s door jam to fill them to the proper PSI (pounds per square inch).

4. Drive responsibly. Driving style can affect the gas mileage of your vehicle. Making a fast start from a stoplight or driving over the speed limit can reduce fuel economy. Aggressive driving not only wastes fuel but also is harder on car parts like tires, brakes and steering components.

5. Reduce the weight in the vehicle. Unnecessary items in the trunk can contribute to lower gas mileage. Eliminate anything you don’t need.

6. Use the car with the best gas mileage. If you have more than one car, use the one that gets the best gas mileage when making long trips. UPS tries to match its vehicles to the needs of its routes. In some cases, that means deliveries are made by bicycle, particularly if the streets are too congested to pass through easily.

7. Reduce idling. UPS has a “no idling” policy, which means all of our trucks, no matter how short the delivery stop, are turned off. When you sit idle you are getting zero miles per gallon. That does not mean you should turn your car off at a red light, but if you are running errands you should turn the car off and pull the key when leaving the vehicle. Idling for 30 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine, and idling for 10 minutes a day wastes an average of 24.6 gallons of gas per year.

8. Don’t drive. There are probably times when all of us could walk, ride a bike, carpool or take public transportation. While UPS drivers don’t take the bus to make deliveries, we do use bicycles, mopeds and even “walkers” who deliver documents in dense urban areas on foot.

Bonus Tip! UPS drivers practice safe driving habits that also help save gas. Leaving a space cushion between you and the car in front can help smooth out your driving pattern. This technique helps you avoid not only accidents but also lessens the need for hard braking and the accompanying acceleration that follows. If you smooth out your driving you will save fuel like the pros at UPS.

Category: Helpful Tips and Ideas
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    Comments [10]

  1. These are terrific tips! It makes sense that a company which employs a fleet of trucks every day to do business would know how to save a buck or two at the pump.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Reduce idling! I disagree with this policy as starting an engine causes the most stress on engine compnents especially the starter, belts, and timing components. You will need repairs on these components more often.

  3. Dear Sir,
    I appreciate your comment and understand where you are coming from. While the focus of our blog was strictly aimed at fuel savings and not vehicle degradation, I did some research through our automotive function and found out the following.
    Through many years of testing we have found that automotive parts do not wear out sooner under normal condtions when our drivers turn their trucks off for every delivery, even if it is a very short stop. So to your point about wear and tear, we have found that avoiding excessive idling by turning off the vehicle will not shorten the expected life of an automotive part. And of course there is the benefit to the environment as well as money saved through fuel savings. Again, thanks for your comments.

  4. These are all great suggestions! We all can afford to save some green at the pump.

  5. Dan,

    Thanks for the follow-up comment on the no-idling issue and the potential wear-and-
    tear impact on automotive parts. I had always wondered about that and was reluctant
    to shut-off and start my vehicle excessively to save fuel, because I was afraid of
    wearing out my starter. Very useful information and your response makes me more
    comfortable in adopting a no-idling strategy for my personal vehicle. Thanks!

    • Frank, you have two choices: buy a car today that gets great mielgae, or continue to send money to the oil despots while waiting for someday when there is an even better car. I’m not waiting!

  6. I agree to the no-idling policy of UPS. Saves gas and helps clean-up the air.

    I wish everyone who owns or drives a car practice that.

  7. I found this blog through a Google search after witnessing
    a UPS truck idle for a full minute and a half in the
    parking lot where I work in Homer, Alaska. (I timed it.)
    The driver was inside the building. The outside
    temperature is about 25 degrees. Our own company policy
    would not allow idling in these conditions. I would like
    to report this to UPS as a way to encourage more
    responsible behavior at the local affiliate. If you could
    forward this comment to the proper desk, I would
    appreciate it.

    • Thanks for passing along this feedback. Our local management team will remind our drivers in Homer about UPS’s no-idling practices.

  8. This is a good approach to what, for some, may be a controversial topic. Very well though out post. – I am dying from the treatment of too many physicians. – Alexander the Great

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