Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tips to improve gas mileage

1gaspump So I’m watching Brink the other day on the Science Channel (I know that I just achieved Goober status, but someone has to watch this stuff!) and there was a report on ways to maximize your car’s fuel economy. The guys they interviewed had taken a car that got great mileage already at 30 MPG and improved it to 37 MPG. That's over a 20% increase.

I know that gas is on the cheap now compared to last summer’s high of over four dollars per gallon. I also believe that the price will go back up with the summer driving season. I am paid on a commission basis and because of the struggling economy; my pay has gone down with it. That means two dollar per gallon gasoline is like four dollar per gallon to me! I have to think about stretching dollars now more than ever. I don’t think that I am the only one.

Back to saving YOU money… These guys did off the wall things to improve mileage, like removing the outside mirrors and installing “moon” wheel covers to reduce drag. I am not advocating this, and the fuel mileage improvements from those two items were minor. What was surprising, is that they reported a three mile per gallon improvement just by switching to synthetic oil. I will use synthetic only from now on. The main reason synthetic oil improves mileage is because it reduces friction. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots here; if it reduces friction then it stands to reason that it will substantially reduce wear as well. That is why Toyota’s new 2.7 liter 4 cylinder engines require only full synthetic oil. Synthetic oil is a little more expensive than conventional but has extended change intervals.

Another recommendation was window tinting. They estimate that the average car air-conditioning compressors require about six horsepower to run. Installing window tint help keeps the interior cooler and reduces the draw on that six horsepower robbing compressor!

Making sure your tires are properly inflated will also maximize fuel economy by reducing rolling resistance. This doesn’t add to your fuel mileage but most likely your tires are under inflated and that definitely hurts your gas mileage! It substantially decreases tire life too. Keep your tires properly inflated!!!

It’s no coincidence that the things needed to maximize fuel economy also makes your car last longer. Making your car last longer with a small dollar and time investment and getting a return in lower gas bills… Sounds like a no-brainer!

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