With gasoline prices obviously not trending downward, cash-strapped drivers are finding themselves flummoxed as to how get the best bang for their increasingly thin buck. Read on to take the first step onto the path of improved fuel efficiency.
Hey, Leadfoot - Take it Easy!
You know that lever on a John Deere tractor that has a rabbit on one end and a turtle on the other? Go turtle. Using the throttle as an on-off switch is all fine and good, but will result in poor fuel economy. Take it easy on the throttle and slow down. Gas mileage drops off quickly over 60 mph due to increased aerodynamic forces.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Carrying around spare batteries or bags of rocks leftover from winter traction efforts is not be the best thing for mileage. An extra 100 pounds in a vehicle can reduce mileage by two percent. The lighter the vehicle the higher the percentage of loss. Not ordering that second Double-Double with shake may also help to reduce on board weight.
Maintaining the correct tire pressure is something easy to do that can save some gas. Be reasonable with the pressure. Inflating tires gonzo style until they sound like teakwood when tapped with your cigarette holder is a dramatic yet unsafe solution.
That dragging brake pad or shoe can be robbing mileage. Frozen brake calipers or a sticky emergency brake can scrub off fuel efficiency. Bring the brakes up to speed and make sure the wheel bearings are in decent shape. Pack those bearings full of the good grease.
Change Your Oil
Change out the oil and filter. And don't stop with just the engine oil. Change all of it. Transmission Oil. Gear Oil. Transfer case. Pomade. Everything. Superior lubrication means less friction. Windage losses are also very real. Using a higher than recommended viscosity oil can cause a measurable loss in mileage.
If your vehicle is not designed to take advantage of the extra octane in super-grade gasoline then you are literally throwing away money by putting that super tiger in the tank. If your old bucket runs better on super there is probably enough caked on carbon on the pistons and valves inside the engine to start a diamond mine.
Employ feet. Ride a skateboard. Pedal a cycle without snobbery. Form a carpool to get to work. Four people in one Gremlin is three less cars using gas - and more money for other liquids. Drive not begrudgingly to work. Nay! Drive because driving is fun. Install a hammock or above ground pool for at home
Atomic Car of the Future!
While atomic cars were a part of a retro future that somehow never came, driving 400 miles a day in a vehicle that gets 12 mpg may not be the best plan for the present. Picking up a more fuel efficient runabout may be a practical answer to short term transportation expense problems.
Turn it Off
No it does not take more gas to start and stop an engine then it does letting it idle away while eating a sangwich or waiting at the drive-thru for an ultimate bacon triple double okra burger. Turning the engine off uses no fuel at all. An engine idling away idly gets zero mpg.
Keep your engine in tune. Malfunctioning oxygen sensors, clogged catalytic converters, fouled spark plugs, or recalcitrant fuel injectors that burble instead of spray forth can all cause a drastic loss in engine efficiency. Even something as simple as replacing a clogged air filter can make a measurable improvement in gas mileage.