Driving comes with responsibility, and a part of that responsibility includes paying for a vehicle, insurance, and gas! In previous blogs, I have shared tips on saving on your teen’s insurance (4 Ways to Get Cheaper Insurance for Your Teen) and steps to purchasing your teen’s first vehicle (3 Steps to Buying Your Teen’s First Car: Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe), but we have never discussed fuel consumption!
First, let’s define fuel consumption. Fuel consumption is how much fuel a vehicle uses to travel a certain distance. This number can be found on the vehicle’s dash (sometimes you may have to click through a few settings to find it), but it is usually represented as x L/100km or x G/100mi. If your teen plans to purchase a vehicle, this is a great factor to incorporate into the decision. The lower the x value is in the previous example, the better fuel consumption the vehicle has. For example, a Toyota Corolla averages 2.9 gallons per 100 miles (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.), whereas the Toyota 4Runner, a much larger vehicle, averages 5.9 gallons per 100 miles (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). In the case, your teen already has a vehicle or is using the family vehicle keep reading to learn more about how your teen can save on fuel by driving efficiently.
Acceleration plays a considerable role in how much fuel a vehicle is using. Accelerating quickly and hard uses more fuel. Think of it in terms of running a marathon: if you were to push your very hardest, you will run out of energy much quicker than you would if you kept a steady, consistent pace. The same goes for vehicle acceleration. Encourage your teen to accelerate at a steady, calm pace versus putting the “pedal to the metal.” Not only will this help with fuel consumption, but it is much safer.
Just like acceleration, speed also plays a factor in fuel consumption. According to the Government of Canada (2021), “When your speed dips and bursts, you use more fuel, and spend more money, than you need to. Tests have shown that varying your speed up and down between 75 and 85 km per hour every 18 seconds can increase your fuel use by 20%.”
If on the highway and the weather permits, show your teen how cruise control works. Cruise control in the proper setting can help maintain a constant speed. Ensure that your teen understands that although the vehicle controls the speed, they still need to pay FULL attention to the road.
Believe it or not, tire pressure can contribute to fuel consumption. Driving with tires that are underinflated can have a negative effect on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Once a month, have your teen check the tire pressure. Not sure how? Visit our homepage and download the FREE handbook!
Share and practice these tips with your teen to ensure that they are averaging regular fuel consumption for the vehicle. If you notice it is higher than usual, evaluate your teen’s driving and see how you and your teen can save on fuel!
Here at Coaching New Drivers, we want to ensure that your teen is prepared in every way possible before they begin to drive independently. To learn more about how we can help you prepare your teen, visit our homepage to learn more about the Coaching New Drivers program, which includes Coaching Your Teen from the Passenger Seat and Danger Zone Training!
U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). 2020 Toyota Corolla. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2020&year2=2020&make=Toyota&baseModel=Corolla&srchtyp=ymm
U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). 2020 Toyota 4Runner. Retrieved from https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/PowerSearch.do?action=noform&path=1&year1=2020&year2=2020&make=Toyota&baseModel=4Runner&srchtyp=ymm&pageno=1&rowLimit=50