Join Date: Apr 2011
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Tune Up Your Car
A properly tuned car gets better [COLOR=white ! important][COLOR=white ! important]fuel [COLOR=white ! important]economy[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] than one with spent spark plugs and a dirty air filter. Checking your air filter should take you less than 10 minutes, and if you canít remember the last time you replaced it youíre probably overdue. Ditto for spark plugs; the manufacturer may claim that theyíll last for 60,000 miles, but that doesnít mean that theyíll work optimally towards the end of their life. Also, keep an eye on any dramatic changes to your carís fuel economy. Increased [COLOR=white ! important][COLOR=white ! important]fuel [COLOR=white ! important]consumption[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] could be something as simple as a stuck thermostat, which is (usually) easy and inexpensive to repair.
Use A/C On The Highway, Not Around Town
Above 45 miles per hour or so (depending on the car), itís more efficient to use your carís air conditioning system than it is to drive with the windows open, thanks to wind resistance caused by the open windows. Below 40 miles per hour, drag is reduced and itís more fuel efficient to drive with the windows down. Also, realize that electrical draw uses fuel since the alternator is powered from the engine. The less accessories you have on, the better your fuel economy will be (although, admittedly, weíre probably talking about a few more feet per gallon, not miles per gallon).
Squeeze The Throttle And Brakes
If you take a high-performance driving school, one of the first things youíll learn is ďsqueeze the throttle and brakesĒ. Mashing the pedals causes abrupt changes in vehicle stability at speed, and thatís rarely a good thing on a racetrack. Itís not a good thing on the roads, either, since youíll get the [COLOR=white ! important][COLOR=white ! important]best [COLOR=white ! important]fuel [/COLOR][COLOR=white ! important]economy[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] by accelerating slowly, coasting when you can and [COLOR=white ! important][COLOR=white ! important]braking[/COLOR][/COLOR] gently, well in advance of stopped traffic. Just like racing a Mazda Miata, getting good gas mileage is all about preserving momentum.
How much crap do you carry around in your car that you donít really need? That D-cell Maglight that you keep under your seat for protection wonít help if you run into a guy who knows how to fight, so you might as well replace it with something lighter. Do you need to carry a quart of oil in your trunk, or that lug wrench that you havenít used in five years? Not only is a lighter car better on gas, but itís also faster, so you can think of cleaning out your car as getting free horsepower.
Use The Correct Grade Of Gasoline
If your car requires premium gas, or even recommends it, youíll get better fuel economy (and better performance) by using premium over regular. Will it offset the difference in price between regular gas and premium gas? I canít say, because the cost savings is likely to be car dependent. I look at it this way: the engineers who built your engine had specific performance goals in mind, and achieving them requires a particular grade of gas. If you canít afford to put premium gas in the tank, then you shouldnít buy a car that requires it.