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Mar 14, 2011

Save Money by Improving Gas Mileage

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There are many theories out there as to why gas is as high as it is today, however that information is irrelevant as of now. The best action of frugality would be to trade driving for bicycling or other means of non-gasoline powered transportation. However, it is understandable that in many situations it is difficult to trade an automobile for a bicycle. There are tips available for the everyday driver that can drastically help to increase fuel economy on car. This process of maximizing fuel economy has even had its own term coined, hypermiling, and is used by various enthusiasts

Tips include:

  • Drive the speed limit - Why not, it's the law after all right? It's not something we'd like to admit, but the majority of us are guilty of going far over the speed limit in areas. Give yourself more time to get to your destination and drive the speed limit, especially on the highway. It will drastically increase your efficiency. (Graph right: provided by fueleconomy.gov). As the graph shows, optimum speed is anywhere from 45-65MPH. Going over 65MPH forces your automobile to endure more wind resistance and will drastically decrease fuel economy.
  • Having a steady foot - Your foot on the accelerator should be kept at a constant pace. A good way of proving this is to glance at your tachometer. If your RPM's are sway slightly up and down, your foot might be bobbing on and off of the gas pedal. Get to your desired speed and keep your foot as steady as possible. This will allow for increased efficiency.You can use cruise control to your advantage if your car has it for this technique as well.
  • Decrease the amount of time accelerating - Use hills and coasting to your advantage, anything to shave off engine RPM's will help in fuel economy. This also means breaking long before a red light or stop sign and not racing to get to it. 
  •  Get used to traffic and how it moves - this can help you greatly if you are in heavy traffic. The last thing you need if you are looking for improved gas mileage is high traffic. The stop-and-go of the pattern could ruin your efficiency. 
  •  Check Your Tires - Are they properly inflated? Low tire-pressure can drastically decrease fuel economy. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and know the PSI needed for your specific tires. Properly aligned wheels can also aid in better gas efficiency. 
  •  Check Your Engine - Has it been tuned-up for maximum performance? Make sure the spark-plugs are working properly, the air filter is clean, all of the sensors work, the oil is still good, etc. 
  • Cooling - Why not put the windows down rather than using automobiles air conditioning system? Using the air conditioner makes the engine work harder reducing fuel economy.

  • Octane Rating - contrary to some beliefs Octane rating has nothing to do with fuel economy. 
  • Drafting - drafting is where you ride on the tail of another vehicle to gain fuel economy. This is dangerous and should not be attempted. 
  • Hybrid Cars - Recent studies are showing that hybrid cars may not be as efficient as once claimed. Buy accordingly!

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