Get the Most Out of Your Miles on Summer Road Trips


Tips from the Oregon Department of Energy

SALEM — Oregonians are hitting the open road for summer vacations. As we rack up the miles and take in the sights, here are some ways to make sure we’re saving money and reducing emissions.

Go Electric. Electric vehicles have longer driving ranges than ever before – the industry average is now more than 125 miles per charge for model year 2018, with many vehicles capable of 200 to 300 miles. Even better: with more fast chargers along popular scenic byways, you can charge your battery while touring the state. Travel Oregon offers EV trip ideas to favorite Oregon destinations, with details about charging stations along the way.

Use Your Phone (just not while driving). Numerous phone apps can help you plan your own EV adventure. Our Go Electric Oregon website includes a list of resources to help you find and reserve public chargers, plus tips on how to charge and what kind of charger your EV uses.

Keep Your Tires Inflated. Whether you’re driving an electric, gas, or diesel-powered vehicle, proper air pressure is a must. Fill your tires according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. In the market for new tires? Ask your local tire shop whether low rolling resistance tires, which can improve fuel economy by as much as 4 percent per gallon, are right for your driving needs.

Use Your Roof Rack, But Only When You Need It. Car-toppers and accessory racks are great for hauling bikes and kayaks. Several recentstudies have found they can also drag down your fuel economy. If you’re not using your roof rack or luggage carrier, leave it in the garage to increase your mileage by two to 10 miles per gallon.

Keep the Kiddos Busy. Even the most scenic road trips need some diversions. The Oregon Department of Energy website offers fun activities for kids of all ages, including a new coloring book that highlights renewable energy resources located across the state. Print out a copy in English or Spanish and grab your crayons! Or play a 2019 version of “slug bug” by seeing who can spot the most electric vehicles. With official counts nearing 25,000 registered EVs in Oregon, you and your travel companions will stay busy.

Follow the Rules of the Road. Stick to posted speed limits to improve your mileage. Changing and reducing speeds gradually can also help avoid dips in fuel economy. And turn off your engine instead of idling, which also helps local air quality.

Rest Easy on the Road. Keep your energy bills low by prepping your house before you head out to explore:

  • Unless you leave pets in the home, turn off your cooling system or set it to a higher temperature – up to 85° F. 
  • Turn off your home’s water heater, turn it down to 80-90° F, or put it in vacation mode. 
  • Unplug as many electrical items as you can. Many of them – especially TV cable boxes – continue to use power even when they are not in use. 
  • Turn off your lights. For lights on a security timer, use LEDs, which use less energy. 
  • Keep your window shades or drapes drawn to keep the house cool in the afternoon sun. 
  • If you have a garden watering system, make sure it kicks on in late evening to avoid evaporation and get the most value from your water use. 

For more energy-saving tips, visit the Oregon Department of Energy’s website at

About Author

Rachel Wray is the Communications Director at the Oregon Department of Energy. Learn more about renewable energy, electric vehicles, climate change, and more at

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