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Bp Driver’s Guide

Take a Drive on the Wild Side

Sometimes you just have to get away. If you're looking for something a little out of the ordinary, the good news is you don't have to travel very far to find it. Whole new worlds of fascinating terrain and wildlife are waiting to be explored in our Country's national parks. Here are our top three picks for a summer drive on the wild side:

Acadia National Park – Maine

Explore the rugged North Atlantic coast on this 27-mile loop through ancient forest and wetlands, amid stark granite peaks.

Great Smoky Mountains – Tennessee/North Carolina

Travel across 384 miles of mountain roads in America's most visited national park – but don't be suprised if a stray bear causes an early afternoon traffic jam.

Everglades National Park – Florida

At 1.5 million acres, this national park is the largest subtropical wetland in North America. It is also home to a diverse range of tropical plants and a number of endangered species, including the American crocodile.

Plan Your Drive

#1: Drive carefully

Nothing burns fuel like burning rubber. According to Fueleconomy.gov, aggressive driving (stomping the gas pedal and then slamming the brakes) can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. The lesson here? For a guy named after fuel, Vin Diesel wastes a lot of gas.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 5–33%*

Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.18–$1.19/gallon*

#2: Observe the speed limit

Each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is often like paying an additional $0.25 per gallon for gas. If that’s not reason enough, going the speed limit also helps prevent accidents.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 7–14%*

Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.25–$0.51/gallon*

#3: Remove excess weight

Aside from the cold-weather gear you packed after reading another article in this edition of Fuel for Thought, avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds can reduce your mpg by up to 2%. Extra weight affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones, but lightening your load is always a good idea.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 1–2%/100 lbs*

Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.04–$0.07/gallon*

#4: Avoid excessive idling

How many mpg do you get while idling? None. Idling can use a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, so turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. (Restarting uses only a few seconds' worth of fuel.)

Fuel Economy Benefit:
$0.01–$0.03/min. (AC off)*
$0.02–$0.04/min. (AC on)*

#5: Use cruise control

Consistency saves gas, and nothing helps you maintain a constant speed like cruise control.

#6: Use overdrive gears

In automatic-transmission cars, overdrive gearing decreases a car’s engine speed, saving gas and reducing engine wear.