3 Gas-Saving Driving Habits, According to a Driving School Instructor

It’s been in the news for weeks: Gas prices are at an all-time high due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. However, people still need to get places. Unfortunately, there’s not an entirely satisfactory way to save on gas. But by adopting a few fuel-saving driving habits, you can get better gas mileage

Here are three tips from Old National Road Driving Institute owner Eric Robertson:

Gas-saving driving habit #1: Stop slowly and gradually

Robertson took a drive with Allison Gormly, an investigative reporter with the NBC Indianapolis affiliate WTHR. During their conversation, he explained how the average driver can get better gas mileage simply by remaining aware and adjusting to various situations.

First of all, the longtime driver’s education instructor recommends easing up to red lights, stop signs, and other roadblocks whenever possible. 

According to Robertson, “coming in hot” burns more fuel, and though braking slowly won’t cut your gas costs in half, the stop-and-go adds up more than you might think.

However, freeway driving might be where drivers have the most significant opportunity to stretch their tank further. 

Gas-saving driving habit #2: Maintain a consistent speed on the highway

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A student driver and a driving instructor (not Gormly and Robertson) | Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

Highway driving can be monotonous, but every little movement puts tremendous pressure on your car’s engine. Moving your foot off the gas pedal even slightly to adjust the radio or check your phone burns more gas than you might expect. 

“There are just so many things that cause us to speed up and slow down, speed up and slow down,” Robertson said. “And over time, that adds up.” 

He recommends using cruise control whenever possible to keep your engine running without too many sudden shifts. Though certain traffic and weather conditions can render this advice moot, cruise control is easier on the engine and keeps the momentum going in the right direction. 

But sometimes you need to stop on a dime, and Robertson has advice for that too. 

Gas-saving driving habit #3: Stay back from the car in front of you

Robertson’s next tip concerns stopped vehicles on city streets and freeways. The urge might be to stop close to the car in front of you, but Robertson stresses that keeping a calm mind and focusing on safe driving is more critical than reactionary moves. That alone could save not only money on gas but also the health and safety of every driver and passenger involved. 

“You want to stop far enough back that you can see their tires on the ground,” Robertson told Gormly. “But if you’re two feet away from that car and they take off, what do you do? You punch it and go … So you’re reacting to what’s going on instead of driving.”

Plus, panicking can make you lose your sense of the road, but remembering the basics helps the engine. Doing so keeps you safe when something unexpected happens

Bonus tips to save fuel

These are all driving tips to help your car’s fuel economy, but you can save more by maintaining your vehicle. Making sure the tires are correctly inflated and the oil is full keeps the engine running better and saves more money than you’d think. Furthermore, those who drive with pointless cargo weighing their car down should consider removing unneeded junk in the trunk to keep the engine from working harder than it should. 

These tips won’t lower gas prices, but they will increase the time between fill-ups. In addition, Consumer Reports notes that high-quality gas, following speed limits, and turning the A/C off can all work wonders for your wallet. 

During uncertain times such as these, it’s hard to tell when gas prices will go back down. Until then, drive smoothly, stay aware, and ensure your car is in peak condition. 

RELATED: The Truth Behind the Fuel-Saving Myth That Filling Your Gas Tank in the Morning Saves You Money