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Rising Gas Prices – 10 Tips to Save You Money!

Posted by gottabkd on Thursday, May 1, 2008

With the price of gas going nowhere but up, many people are wondering what they can do to help keep their costs down.
Aside from the obvious choices:
You could walk or ride a bicycle.
You could take the public transit system, the highest form of car pooling.
You could form a carpool network and share the ride/costs with others.
You could buy a motorcycle, or scooter and save a huge bundle while looking uber cool. Although for some of you young hotheads, insurance could be an issue but that’s a whole other post.
You could get rid of your gas guzzling, status symbol of a Hummer (SUV or Van) and drive closer to the ground like the rest of us.

All of these make sense, but if you need a vehicle and you are not willing to give up your car then these may help you get through this crisis while saving some money.

Here are ten tips to help you to drive more cost effectively and avoid the added expense. I found these tips through CAA and I am sure the AAA has some excellent tips as well.

1) Get an engine tune-up. On a modern car, that means not driving around with the “check engine” light on. That light signals a fault with a component such as the oxygen sensor, which helps the engine maintain the ideal air/fuel ratio. A bad oxygen sensor can reduce fuel economy by as much as 40 percent – and will increase your vehicle’s emissions output as well.

2) Pump the right gas. Burning the wrong grade of gasoline can reduce economy as well as performance – in particular, using high-octane premium in an engine designed to burn regular grade gas only costs you more money. High octane is more expensive and your car may not actually need it. Octane is a measure of burn rate, not the quality of the fuel. Higher octane fuels burn more slowly than lower octane fuels. Put high octane (slow burning) gas in an engine designed to run on regular (faster burning) gas and combustion efficiency is impaired, reducing fuel mileage as well as performance. Always use the grade of gas specified by the manufacturer of your vehicle for optimum mileage and performance.

3) Check those tires at least once a month, if not weekly. Under-inflated tires are commonplace because most people neglect to periodically check for proper pressure. And it’s hard to notice a drop of 5-10 psi or so under normal driving. But did you know that fuel economy drops by about half a percent for each psi below recommended inflation pressures – costing you as much as a couple miles per gallon if your tires are not inflated to the proper psi?

4) Check and change the the oil at regular intervals. Following the recommended service interval will help prevent crud from gumming up your engine’s internals, increasing friction and lowering efficiency. And be sure to use the recommended viscosity (thickness) oil for your engine; a thicker oil – for example, 10W-30 vs. the recommended 5W-30 – can lower your fuel economy by up to two percent. Look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.

5) Ride with the windows up . On the freeway, anyhow. You’ll burn less gas. Did you know that it is more efficient running your car’s air conditioner than it is to roll down the windows? The aerodynamic drag caused by open windows takes more energy to overcome than operating the A/C compressor. Plus, you won’t muss your hair. 6) Drive smoothly. Building up speed gradually, as opposed to flooring it and running through the gears at redline, can improve your overall mileage by ten percent or more. Cruise control can help maintain smooth, steady speeds with little abrupt use of the throttle. Did you know that the optimum “mileage zone” to eke the best-possible fuel economy out of your vehicle is approximately 45 mph (72kms); speeds of 70 mph (120kms) and faster dramatically cut down on gas mileage. Actually driving 10 kms less than the posted speed limit will save you much more than driving 10 kms over. Slow down, what’s your hurry?

7) Keep it off idle. When you’re stuck sitting in traffic, your engine is getting zero mpg, about as wasteful as it gets. If you are faced with having to sit still for more than a minute, turning off the engine until things get moving again will save fuel. This, obviously for safety reasons, may not be feasible, but if you are waiting to pick up people, go into a store always shut the engine off. We now have a maximum idle time of no more than 3 minutes, so any longer and you are breaking the law.

8) Dial out 4×4. If you feel you must drive a truck or SUV with a part-time 4×4 system, be certain the system is in 2H whenever you’re driving on clear, paved roads. Keeping a 4×4 system in 4H when not needed will accelerate wear of major parts such as axles and transfer case and cut down on your mileage considerably, as the engine is driving all four wheels instead of just two. Better yet, get rid of that gas guzzling vehicle and get something more economic. I say, ban the pigs and get them off the road. Do we really need them anyway?

9) Ditch the roof rack. Use them only when you need them. Anything on the roof will create wind resistance and increase aerodynamic drag, which can cost you two to five percent in fuel economy at highway speeds. This includes ski racks, bicycle racks and luggage racks. When not in use, take ’em off.

10) Empty the trunk. Every extra 100 pounds of stuff you’re carting around with you can reduce your vehicle’s gas mileage by as much as two percent. Using your trunk as a permanent storage space for old boxes full of junk adds extra weight to you vehicle. One article I read even suggested that “fat” people spend more in gasoline and other things than healthy weighted people. Makes sense if you figure the extra weight slows you down, then why wouldn’t is slow your vehicle down?

So how will you cut your gas costs? What changes will you make or have you made already?

Till Next Time….. Tags: , , , , ,

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