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10 Tips For Better Gas Mileage
In Booth Tarkington’s 1918 novel The Magnificent Ambersons, inventor and automotive pioneer Eugene Morgan exclaims: “Despite The car is so fast, but it may be a step backwards for civilization.” Few people know, but the Indianapolis-born novelist may have foreseen America’s current fuel crisis.
We love our cars and depend on them in countless ways, from industry to family transportation to leisure time; yet the economic impact of skyrocketing gas prices on our wallets may just be a step back from civilization. AAA recently predicted that nearly 360,000 fewer people will drive during the Memorial Day holiday in 2008 than in the previous year. This was widely attributed to rising gasoline costs.
And yet, our love-hate relationship with cars, trucks, RVs, and motorcycles continues. This is despite the fact that gasoline prices seem to be hitting record highs every day. For those of us who need to squeeze as many MPGs out of our vehicles as possible, here are 10 tips for maximizing gas mileage.
Make maintenance a priority –
1) Use engine oil of the recommended grade for the vehicle。 Most newer passenger car and light truck engines require 5W-30 oil for utility driving. This lighter weight oil provides friction-reducing protection and helps the engine run more efficiently, which equates to increased fuel consumption. Older engines usually perform better at 10W-30 or 10W-40. However, you should always check your owner’s manual or consult your dealer for the oil grade your engine was designed for. If you use 10W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-30, you may actually lower MPG. According to the US Department of Energy, using the right weight of oil (and synthetic blends where possible) can improve MPG by 1 to 2 percent or more, or at least $0.04 to $0.08 per gallon of gasoline.
2) Keep tires properly inflated。 Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. By maintaining proper tire pressure, you can improve your mileage by about 3.3%. That works out to about $0.12 per gallon. Depending on your tire size and maximum vehicle load, proper inflation pressure can average anywhere from 32 to 60 PSI. Remember that for every 1 PSI drop in tire pressure, your mileage will decrease by 0.4%. Because of its more consistent rate of expansion and contraction, some sources advocate filling tires with nitrogen rather than air, as race car drivers do. The overall benefit to the average driver is up for debate at the moment, but in theory, nitrogen’s consistent rate of expansion and contraction could keep the tires in proper contact with the road, increasing traction and thus increasing mileage.
3) Regularly check and replace air filters. Use a fresh air filter to prevent dust and dirt from clogging the engine cylinders. This allows them to run at a higher efficiency, which increases engine horsepower and MPG. Replacing a clogged filter can improve fuel consumption by 10 percent, saving as much as $0.41 per gallon.
4) get an adjustment. If your vehicle is out of tune or has recently failed an emissions test, use the standard tune to improve your mileage by 4%. For more serious issues, such as a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, repairs can increase MPG by 40%.
5) Use desired fuel octane rating. The octane rating determines how quickly a fuel burns in an internal combustion engine. The higher the octane rating, the longer it takes the fuel to burn. Slow-burning is often more efficient than fast-burning, so on the face of it, high-octane fuel seems like the way to go. However, 92 octane is typically $0.20/gallon more expensive than standard 87 octane, and the benefits of higher octane don’t offset the added cost.
Going Green: Going High Tech –
6) try a hybrid. Hybrid electric vehicles are all the rage in our increasingly green society. Not only do they reduce harmful emissions and reduce engine wear, but the fuel-efficient nature of hybrid engines allows them to deliver 20 to 30 miles per gallon. There are also tax advantages to making the switch.
7) Don’t Get Obsessed With Gas Saving Gadgets. OK, change the list format.according to Popular MechanicsWell, not only do gimmicks like copper pipes, magnets and other gadgets and unconventional fuel additives do little to improve your MPG, but most seem to hurt fuel economy and horsepower.
8) Heard about super milling and eco driving? These driving techniques all center on some basic ideas. For example, coasting into a stop at a red light. Accelerate slowly and steadily. On the highway, set cruise control at or just below the speed limit. Look for fuel efficiency in a new car, not horsepower. Towing behind a large vehicle for an aerodynamic advantage – just like a NASCAR driver, but at a much safer speed. Avoid excessive idling. Use overdrive gear. Let off the gas and save the brakes as much as possible. Not only can these techniques increase your MPG by 30% or more, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be more relaxed.
9) Plan and put together your trip. Save fuel and reduce wear and tear on your car by staggering work hours to avoid peak commute times, telecommuting where possible, and using carpooling and public transportation. When running errands, try to do multiple tasks at once. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a few short trips from a cold start can use up to twice as much fuel as a long trip.
10) lose weight. No, I don’t necessarily mean you, but a little help. Adding an extra 100 pounds to your vehicle can lower MPG by as much as 2%, or $0.04 to $0.08 per gallon of gas. So if you’re not going to use your jet ski, trailer, or quarter-ton garden tiles on that trip, don’t take them with you.
With these tips, you can get the most out of your car’s gas mileage and driving life, helping the environment and taking some pain off your wallet. Do the right thing and make changes in the first place once alternative fuels become more accessible to consumers. This would be a step forward for civilization.
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