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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Small victories. . . .

Through taking the bus and grouping my trips, I still have a little over half a tank of gas left this month! Usually, I use at least a tank a month, which lately is running about $45. By being much more aware of my driving, and thinking about other ways to get where I need to be, I've succeeded in halving my gas needs this month!

Here are some other tips to save on gas, since most of us need to drive at least some of the time, if not every day:

  • Don't use the A/C. As the weather grows warmer (in the 90's here in Oregon this weekend!), the urge to turn on the air conditioning in the car grows stronger and stronger. What I've started doing is bringing an ice cold bottle of water with me in the car (sometimes half frozen). Taking sips of this cold liquid helps cool me down without using the gas-sucking A/C.
  • Drive the speed limit. This is a no-brainer, I guess. Driving faster than you really need (or should) uses more gas, so an easy way to decrease your gas usage is to slow down.
  • Check your tire pressure. I have a nail stuck in one of my back tires (note to self: must get that fixed), which means that I have to keep an eye on that tire, because it deflates quicker than the others. The benefit to this is that each time I top up that back tire, I take the time to re-inflate the others. Some experts believe you can increase gas mileage by 25% just by doing this on a regular basis.
  • Remove the roof rack, if you have one. I used to have a bike rack on my car, for the three times a year I took my mountain bike somewhere far away. Eventually, I realized that not only was the rack unnecessary, it was also cutting down on the aerodynamics of my car.
  • Make sure you're regularly maintaining your car. Tune-ups, changing the air filter, and getting regular oil changes can make a big difference in how efficiently your car runs.

Although my car is over ten years old, and only gets about 20 MPG these days, making little changes can add up over time to big savings!


Anonymous said...

FF..Quick suggestion on extreme driving tips to increase mileage. Go to cleanmpg.com. I used some of these tips (not all, I'm not crazy obsessed like the posters) on a recent trip to Chicago from NYC. Round-trip it was over 1,600 miles. I averaged 32 mpg RT. My car is rated at 24 mpg. How did I get the difference? A bit of luck on the way back (tail wind) and driving with the cruise control on the entire time I could have it on. Really, the key to great mileage is as you indicated, keep up the maintenance, regular oil changes, change the air filter, keep the tires EVENLY inflated.

And you know what? Its ok to drive a couple of mph UNDER the speed limit. So what if people pass. Gas is over $4 per gallon for crying out loud.

If you have "Instant MPG" as a dashboard instrument, leave it on. It'll show you when you are consuming the most gas (eg fast acceleration from a stop, versus gradual speed increase).


PS. Per my previous post on coupons (etc)... we stayed at a hotel in chicago where the kids ate breakfast, lunch, & dinner for free.

marci357 said...

According to this link - it's more fuel efficient to run the A/C on the highway, and not to run it in stop and go traffic.... So enjoy that cool air this weekend :)


The following two articles both support using the A/C over open windows:

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- As the summer temperatures remain hot and gas prices remain high, motorists should remember that vehicles can get better fuel efficiency with their windows closed and air conditioning on when at highway speeds. During stop-and-go traffic, however, it's more fuel efficient to open the windows, according to the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA).

With the windows closed on the highway, the vehicle's aerodynamics are improved as there is less drag on the vehicle, according to Frank Hampshire, AASA director of market research.

"In city driving, you will see a slight fuel economy advantage by opening your windows, but the use of air conditioning at higher speeds can produce a fuel savings," Hampshire said.

AND the one I need to deal with: --- Avoid carrying unneeded items in the trunk. Extra weight decreases gas mileage.

I could live out of my car...some of it's just got to go :)

marci357 said...

and congrats on the half tank of gas savings! Way to go! It's great when you can actually see that the revamping of your lifestyle and habits is really making a change in the cost!

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