Smart Ways to Save on Gasoline
Gas prices aren’t getting any better…at least anytime soon. But before you rush out to buy a bicycle, here are some tips from Nick Prague, professional automotive instructor and regular contributor to autolab radio. (http://www.theautochannel.com/cybercast/theautolab/)
- Use the buddy system to do errands. No need to use two cars when you can use one.
- Slow down. You’ll get better mpg if you observe the speed limits. A small difference in speed can make a big difference in gas.
- Don't idle too long. Turn your engine off to save gas.
- Lighten up! Empty your trunk of unnecessary stuff and remove last winter’s ski racks. Carrying extra weight adds to fuel cost.
- Get your car checked out. A faulty hose, an oxygen sensor or even a clogged air filter can add to fuel costs.
The US Department of Energy (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.shtml) advises:
- Fixing a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
- Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent. That’s like saving $0.15/gallon.
- Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by up to 10 percent. Your car's air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine. This fuel economy benefit could create $0.37/gallon in gas savings.
- Check your oil. You can improve your gas mileage by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
- Check your tire pressure. Also, make sure that your wheels are aligned. Even fuel-efficient tires won’t perform their best unless they are properly inflated. You can improve your gas mileage by $0.11/gallon by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure.
- Consider investing in energy saving tires. As "going green" becomes the buzz word for everything from clothing to housing, tire makers have started adding “green” tires to their product lines.
- Go local. Consider using alternative transportation. If you took a bus, train, or subway a couple of times a week you’d not only be saving money—you’d be saving the environment.