Tips for better fuel economy during the gas shortage hitting the East Coast
The East Coast reported a 32.5% increase in demand Monday compared to the previous week and many states have seen long lines at the pump
Fuel shortages across the East Coast have left drivers worried about their next fill-up amid a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline last week by Russian ransomware group Darkside.
Still, several state governors and the White House warned that hoarding gas could escalate the crisis and create a shortage in other states less affected by Colonial Pipeline.
"Much as there was no cause for, say, hoarding toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic, there should be no cause for hoarding gasoline, especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week and over the weekend," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a White House news briefing on Tuesday.
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The American Automobile Association (AAA) also has tips for economizing on gas during the shortage.
The association says that personal driving habits are the biggest factor in fuel economy.
- Driving the speed limit can get your car farther, AAA advises on its website because "on the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph." Cruise control can help with that on the freeway or highway when there’s little traffic.
- Similarly, fast starts and acceleration eat fuel.
- Avoid extended idling: "If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel," AAA says on its website. "Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this."
- While on surface streets, drivers can slow down to "time" traffic lights to avoid braking, which also consumes fuel, and brake early to coast to a stop when possible.
- Heading into summer it may be hard, but turning off the air conditioning in favor of an open window helps and try to park in the shade when possible.
- Some experts also suggest keeping at least one-fourth of a tank in your car at all times because it can help keep the fuel pump cooler.
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- Also, lightening your car’s load can save gas because it takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, according to AAA.