Gas is a major expense. Despite a recent drop in prices, the cost of a gallon is already back on the upswing. For those with a handicap van, gas expenses can be particularly high. Vans are less gas efficient than smaller vehicles. On top of that, accessibility equipment adds weight that further reduces mileage. Here are a few ways to save money on gas.
Change the Way You Drive Your Handicap Van
If you don’t drive, pass along instructions to whoever does. Keep speed even and accelerate smoothly. This reduces gas consumption. If you have adaptive driving controls, their sensitivity affects how easily you can do this. If your hand controls aren’t well-suited to your touch, consider tweaking the response time.
Cruise control is useful for maintaining a constant speed. Use it on roads without frequent stops or turns that have a consistent speed limit. Speeds over 60 mph decrease gas mileage. Keep your speed below that mark when possible. Also, don’t ride the brake. This too increases gas usage. Your air conditioning unit also consumes gas. Get in the habit of driving without it. Roll down the windows instead when the weather permits.
Cut down on idling, too. Modern vans don’t need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds. Unless your accessibility equipment only operates when the van is on, don’t start the engine until you’re in the vehicle and situated. Likewise, turn the engine off before being helped out. If you’re waiting in the van, try not to leave it idling. However, don’t turn the engine off for stops that only take a minute or two, as restarting the engine is less gas-efficient in these cases.
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Drive Your Handicap Van Less
To spend less on gas, drive your handicap van less. Cut the frequency of trips and distances traveled. Pay attention to combining errands and other trips to reduce the number of times you go out. Ask nearby friends or family members to pick up what you need when they’re already going out shopping.
Plan routes to minimize distance. Sometimes more obvious or simpler routes take you out of your way and unnecessarily extend travel distance. Cut out driving by mapping more direct routes. Keep in mind, though, that the shortest route is not necessarily the most gas-efficient. Sometimes the shorter way has a lot more traffic lights, stop signs and other reasons for stopping, starting, slowing and speeding up. In these instances, a slightly longer way with more consistent driving is more gas-efficient.