A vehicle’s fuel economy is usually worse in the winter than it is in summer. In fact, the gas mileage of a traditional car is about 12% lower at 20 degrees than it would be at 77 degrees. This is because winter creates more difficult driving conditions; hence, pushing your engine to work harder.

With the ever-increasing gas prices, many of you are probably looking for ways to improve fuel efficiency, especially in winter.

Here are 4 ways to improve fuel efficiency in winter.

Combine trips when possible

Short trips can lead to poor fuel efficiency, taking money out of your pocket. If you are going out on an errand, make sure that you plan your route and combine trips. This will cut down on the miles you drive; thereby, saving money and cutting your carbon footprint.

Avoid unnecessary idling

Some people would start their vehicle and leave it running to warm it up. Idling the engine does nothing to warm up the drivetrain and the tire. In fact, you can start driving in as little as 30 seconds, even in the coldest weather. Resist the temptation to idle your car to warm it up. The engine will warm up faster once you start driving.

Watch the tire pressure

Tire pressure that is too low or too high can reduce fuel economy. The problem is that, tire pressure changes with the weather. Tire pressure reduces by 1 psi for every 10 degrees drop in temperature. The next thing you know, your tires are already underinflated. Not only will it affect your car’s performance and safety, it can also reduce fuel efficiency. Make it a habit to check your tire pressure regularly.

Lighten the load

You may have been told that carrying a bag of sand can give you better traction in frigid, snowy conditions. Keep in mind, though, that most cars today are front wheel drive vehicles. Unless you’re driving an old car, don’t bother carrying a sand bag in the trunk of your car.

An extra 100 lbs. increases fuel consumption by 1 to 2%. If you use your trunk as a storage space, take them out and find another place for them. You may also want to remove ski racks or roof racks when not in use.