In a hustle bustle world of work, school, ball games, church functions, grocery shopping and a laundry list of other errands keeping the typical American on the go, the cost of fuel has more than the economy suffering - American motorists need a break.
With gas prices on a constant incline and retailers asking nearly $4 per gallon for unleaded, locals are sucking it up and paying big bucks to keep their families on the move, never missing a game or event. While there is no magic pill you can drop in the tank to boost your auto’s fuel economy, there are a number of tips you can follow to get more go for your dollar. In addition, there are a number of services and products that can be purchased to help consumers get more bang for their buck.
There are common sense tips that we all learned from our fathers that still hold true. Simple routine maintenance makes a big difference in automobile efficiency.
At www.fueleconomy.gov, the United States Department of Energy offers maintenance tips to help boost your car’s gas mileage.
First, fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune can improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the repairs. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.
Secondly, replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Replacing a dirty air filter saves gas and protects your engine, possibly saving more in repair cost farther down the road.
Thirdly, you can improve your gas mileage by about 3.3 percent by keeping your tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. In addition, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
Finally, can get an extra 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Meanwhile, the department of energy says there are simple rules of the road you can follow that will increase fuel efficiency without costing you a dime.
Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving such as speeding, rapid acceleration and braking, wastes gas and can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.
Slow down. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon.
Remove excessive weight and avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mpg by up to 2 percent. The reduction affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Avoid excessive idling. While idling, your car is clocking zero mpg. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines.
Use cruise control to maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, save gas.
Use overdrive gears to reduce engine speed, save gas and reduce engine wear.
Jason Starnes of J7 Service Center and Vehicle Sales, located at 400 E. South Loop In Stephenville, agrees that starting with simple routine maintenance is sound advice for all auto owners. Starnes also said there are several products offered at J7 that are well worth the investment.
“Installing a computer programmer, such as those manufactured by Superchips and Bully Dog for diesel or gas engines or Smarty for diesel engines, offer the most noticeable increase,” Starnes said. “You can save between three and five miles per gallon.”
Starnes said another tried and trusted technique that has been practiced by automobile aficionados for decades, an exhaust upgrade, can offer an increase of one mpg.
While routine maintenance including fuel checks and changes are key to a well working vehicle. Starnes said that synthetic fluids offer the biggest advantages.
“Using synthetic motor oil, transmission fluid and rear end fluids can save between one and one half miles per gallon,” Starnes said. “Synthetics are slicker and cause less friction which means your car operates more effectively and efficiently.”
Starnes also said changing your car’s air filter to a freer flowing filter will offer an increase of one-half mpg.
Finally, here in the cowboy capital, where pickups dominate the roadways, Starnes said a bedcover can save up to two mpg.
“Bed covers reduce the wind drag and offer a drastic improvement in fuel economy,” Starnes said.