How can I save gas?

Top Ten Tips for Saving Fuel in Costa Rica

As part of our commitment to Earth Day, we’re providing a few tips on how to save fuel which is better for the environment and budget-friendly too!

    Keep to the speed limit

As well as being a legal requirement, driving within the speed limit is an excellent fuel saver.  Limits in Costa Rica are low which allows opportunities to appreciate the fantastic panoramas and save gas.  The optimum miles per gallon (MPG) driving speed for fuel conservation is 50-55mph, so slow down and enjoy the ride.

    Don’t get lost

Renting a GPS system and using the free paper map from your car rental agency to help you to get to your destination without fuel wasting detours due to lack of signage and confusing directions.

    Check tire pressure

When the tire pressure is low, the vehicle needs more gas to move it.  Your tires should be at the correct pressure when leaving the car rental agency, so note the levels for checking at the gas station if necessary.

    Bundle small journeys together

So you need to pop to the store for ice, fill the tank at the gas station and pick up more sun protection lotion from the pharmacy?  Organize your day to complete all the chores in one trip.  A vehicle uses way more fuel in the first five miles when starting from cold, so combining your errands into one journey with a number of short stops is more energy efficient.

    Remove luggage box and racks

If you’re not using racks or the luggage box, leave them behind.  These items on the vehicle roof create drag even if they’re empty.

    Ditch the weight

We’re not suggesting that you leave grandma behind 😉 but do empty the trunk of unnecessary items to reduce vehicle weight and increase fuel efficiency.

    Close the windows

While blasting the air con for hours isn’t saving any energy; what are you going to do in tropical heat?  Driving with the car windows wide open causes drag and will fill the vehicle with hot air and dust, so to keep cool, the air conditioning is the better option.  If you’re in a cooler climate, like Monteverde, then cutting the air conditioning and opening the windows an inch or so for fresh mountain air.

    Skip peak hour traffic

This isn’t too hard to do in Costa Rica as the average driver is more likely to be held up by raccoons in the road than too many cars, however, San Jose and other cities do have peak time traffic and avoiding driving through them at these hours will save on the fuel wasted when sitting in lines.

    Get everything and everyone ready first

So often the driver turns the ignition key, only to realize that the picnic icebox has been left in the kitchen, there’s a child that still needs the restroom, the windshield needs cleaning and sunglasses are nowhere to be found.  Pack the trunk and settle in all passengers before starting the engine to save on gas.

    Check the fuel pump

As pumps in gas stations aren’t self-service, the unaware tourist can fall victim to a common scam where attendants don’t reset the meter before filling your gas tank, thereby charging you for a lot more gas than you actually have.  While this doesn’t save fuel as such, it certainly saves your fuel budget!

Follow our tips to save on fuel and add a helping hand to all the green efforts being made in Costa Rica!