Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easy Ways To Reduce Gas Consumption and Save Money On Gas

Gasoline Energy Use/Cost Reduction
In the fall of 2006, President Bush called on Americans to conserve gasoline by driving less and issued a directive for all federal agencies to cut their own energy use and to encourage employees to use public transportation. "We can all pitch in," the President said. "People just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption," he added, and that if Americans are able to avoid going "on a trip that's not essential, that would be helpful." Those words ring true now more than ever before!

Conserving Gas
The benefits of conserving gasoline are well known, and include money-savings, a cleaner environment, and a reduction of foreign oil use and the economic and political problems that come with it. Buying a more fuel-efficient car is the best way to save gas, but there are ways to reduce your gas consumption with the car you already own.

With gas prices so high, the media is awash with lists of gas-saving tips. Well how's this for a tip? If you listen up, you can see hybrid-type savings without having to buy a new car. By changing your driving habits you may be able to improve fuel economy up to 37 percent right away (depending on how you drive). Combine several tips and perform routine maintenance and you will save real dollars, not just pennies.

I found information from someone who actually put these tips to the test. All they did was take several of the most common tips out there and put them to the test over a remote 55-mile route in the high desert of California. Some of them worked like a charm. Some of them didn't work at all. Here you’ll get the breakdown. These tests were done under real-world conditions — not in a government lab somewhere. The results can be matched by anyone — even you.

The great part about what was found is that improving your car's mileage is just a matter of changing your habits. Stack a few of these ideas together and I'll bet that you'll see a substantial savings at the pump— without the need for a new car. Besides, getting more mileage out of your tank makes sense not only for your pocket; it also puts less strain on the Earth’s natural oil reserves.

Test #1 Aggressive Driving vs. Moderate Driving
Result: Major savings potential
The Cold Hard Facts: Up to 37 percent savings, average savings of 31 percent
Recommendation: Stop driving like a maniac.
This is gonna hurt. Tests showed that the most significant way to save gas is you. And we're talking massive fuel economy gains. Think you need a hybrid? Chances are you've got hybrid-style mileage in your gas pedal foot. Don't mash the gas when you start up. Take the long view of the road and brake easy. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas. If you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15 seconds, you'll feel the savings immediately.

Test #2 Lower Speeds Saves Gas
Result: Substantial savings on a long trip
Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14 percent savings, average savings of 12 percent
Recommendation: Drive the speed limit.
Remember a thing called the speed limit? On most highways it is either 65 or 70 mph. How fast are the cars and trucks around you going? From 75 mph to 90 mph. These people are wasting a lot of gas for the chance to get there a little earlier. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas. Factor in safety concerns and a speeding ticket once or twice a year and going fast is a costly proposition.

Test #3 Use Cruise Control
Result: Surprisingly effective way to save gas
Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14-percent savings, average savings of 7 percent
Recommendation: If you've got it, use it.
Using cruise control is a bit of gas-saving advice frequently seen on tips lists. I have always agreed with this tip in theory but I haven't seen any test results until now. First, it smoothes out the driver's accelerator input preventing "surging." Second, it makes the driver take the long view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them. However, using cruise control can improve your gas mileage by helping you maintain a steady speed, but only if you are driving on mostly flat roads. If you are driving in hilly terrain, using cruise control typically causes your vehicle to speed up faster (to maintain the preset speed) than it would if you were operating the accelerator yourself. Before you push that cruise control button, think about the terrain ahead.

Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down
Result: Nice in theory; not true in practice
Cold Hard Facts: No measurable difference (unless you open the sunroof, too!)
Recommendation: Make yourself comfortable.
While the A/C compressor does pull power from the engine wasting some gas, the effect appears to be fairly minimal in modern cars. Putting the windows down tends to increase drag on most cars, canceling out any measurable gain from turning the A/C off. But this one depends on the model and speed you're driving. When the sunroof in an SUV is opened, the mileage will decrease even with the A/C off. Still it doesn’t seem worth the argument because you won't save a lot of gas either way. So just do what's comfortable. However, you may want to opt for open windows at speeds under 40 miles per hour and AC over 40. Check your owner's manual for specific information about your own vehicle's fuel efficiency when operating the AC to help you decide. Also most AC systems have an economy setting. Do you really need it on Max?

Test #5 Check Your Tire Pressure
Result: Important for safety and to reduce tire wear
Cold Hard Facts: No measurable effect on the vehicles tested
Recommendation: Check your tire pressure often but don't expect a big savings.
No matter how many times drivers hear about the importance of tire pressure, most of them don't do anything about it. They probably don't like squatting beside their car in a busy gas station with fumes swirling around them. But is it important? The answer is yes for a number of reasons. Properly inflated tires are less likely to fail at high speeds. They wear more evenly and, yes, they deliver better gas mileage. How much? In this test there was a modest difference in two of the cars. It might have been more dramatic with different tires on different cars. Experts swear by it; the test couldn't really document it. Has tire technology, like the design in other areas of the car, improved beyond the point of this being a factor any longer? Each set of tires is different and every vehicle is different. You should do your own tests to see what inflation setting gives you the best fuel economy for your vehicle/tire combination. For safety and tire longevity, keep a tire gauge on hand and check the pressure often. Extremely low pressures will decrease economy, and safety.

Test #6 Avoid Excessive Idling
Result: More important than assumed
Cold Hard Facts: Not idling saves an average of 19 percent
Recommendation: Stopping longer than a minute? Shut 'er down.
If you turn off a light bulb as you leave the room you'll save electricity. If you turn off your car you will save gas. Obviously. But related questions are more difficult to answer. If you're stopping for only a minute, is it better to shut off the engine or keep it idling? Should I shut off the engine in traffic? How much gas will this save? What rule of thumb do I use when trying to save gas this way? Don't let your car sit and idle longer than 60 seconds. Start it only when everything is packed in, the kids are strapped in, and you're ready to go. Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines.

The good news is that you can drastically improve your gas mileage. The caveat is that you have to change your driving habits. If you are willing to change, you'll find many related benefits. No speeding tickets, greater safety, reduced stress and lower repair bills for tires and brake pads. In the long run this will save you money.

Here’s a list of further steps you can take to reduce gasoline energy use/cost:
• Pick your lane and stick with it. Traffic studies have shown that changing lanes doesn't result in a significantly reduced travel time. So why not choose your lane and put it in cruise control? This avoids constant surging as you speed into the open lane. It will lower your fuel consumption and your blood pressure.
• Don't tailgate. It leads to unnecessary braking and acceleration. Wasteful driving habits can double your fuel consumption. Develop gas-saving habits, such as: (1) always accelerate gently; (2) watch traffic ahead of you so you can anticipate slow-downs and avoid stops; (3) coast up to traffic jams by lifting your foot off the gas pedal instead of approaching at full speed and slamming on the brakes. It takes 20% more gas to accelerate to normal speed from a full stop than it does from four or five miles per hour; (4) don't drive too fast or too slow. It takes 20% to 30% more gas to drive at 70 mph than 50 mph; (5) maintain a steady speed on the highway. Avoid getting stuck behind slow cars where you have to slow down to their pace and then speed up to pass. These tips can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Potential Money Savings: $390/yr.
• Don't drive a gas guzzler. Do you really need that SUV? Six cylinders instead of four? How about that big pickup truck? Smaller more efficient vehicles will save money and conserve fuel.
• Lighten up. Opt for a light colored exterior and interior and cloth seats, as this will keep you feeling cooler and allow you to use the air conditioning less frequently.
• Maintain. If your vehicle is properly maintained it will run more efficiently and use less gas. Regular maintenance will also extend the life of the vehicle. A poorly tuned car can use more than 25% more gas.
• Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil. You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent 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. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
• Added weight lowers fuel economy. Don't over-pack your trunk! Remove excess weight and avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
• Take the roof rack off - If you’re not using your roof rack then remove it. They affect the aerodynamic efficiency of your vehicle and create drag, reducing fuel economy by as much as 5%*.
• Use overdrive. When you use overdrive gearing, if equiped, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear. Overdrive is the D with the circle around it on the gear selector.
• Try not to make single-purpose trips. Save fuel by combining errands into one trip and avoid backtracking whenever possible. Potential Money Savings: $25-100/yr.
• Don’t Get Lost. It's always a good idea to have a map of the area where you're traveling--getting lost is not good for fuel economy. If you are not familiar with the area, ask your innkeeper, hotel desk manager or other "local" to advise you on the best routes. The shortest distance may not always be the best choice.
• Drive on off-peak hours. Sitting in traffic isn't much fun for you or your car. You could try adjusting your schedule to avoid the traffic jams. You will save time and quite a lot of fuel. If you can't change your work schedule, arrive early and spend the time in the gym, reading a book or doing extra work. Wouldn't you rather be doing something for yourself than burning gas sitting in traffic?
• Fill up in the morning. Cooler gasoline is more compact, so you'll get more drops of the precious fluid for your dollars.
• Don't "top off the tank." When pumping gas. Some of the gas may end up overflowing when it expands in the sun or if you park on a hill. Potential Money Savings: $20-53/yr.
• Pump your own gas. Self serve gas is usually 5% to 10% cheaper than full service. Also, make sure that the gas cap is securely tightened. Gas can evaporate easily. Potential Money Savings: $65-130/yr.
• If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage!
• When renting, ask for a model that gets better fuel economy.
• Car pool to work. By sharing the driving with just one other person, you could save an average of $20/month or $200/year in gasoline alone, if your commute is 20 miles round-trip each day. Sharing the driving with two others increases your savings even more. Savings vary depending on the length of your commute. In addition to savings on gasoline, you'll save maintenance costs and wear and tear on your car. Also there are some very cool things about carpooling besides just the gas savings. You can use the carpool lanes and say you're stuck in a boring meeting at work, simply glance at your watch and say, "Sorry, I'm carpooling." Everyone knows you're doing a good thing for the environment so they will nod understandingly and excuse you. Potential Money Savings: $400-700/yr.
• Another benefit to car pooling is that it reduces the annual mileage on your car. Since this reduces the risk of accident, your insurance company charges you less for your coverage. Potential Money Savings: $25-50/yr.
• Consider leaving the car at home! Take a bus, train or ferry to your travel destination. Consider public transportation. The American Public Transportation Association web site lists local public transit information that is listed by parish and city:
• Don't drive. How can "don't drive" be a driving tip? Well, I won't argue the point. But I will say that most people could stand to walk or ride a bike a lot more than they are doing now. So look for local errands that can easily be done under your own steam. A short walk might be faster because you don't have to spend time finding a parking space. Plus you’ll actually be getting ‘gasp’ some exercise! Walk or bicycle. Get your daily exercise and save money.
• Look for telecommuting opportunities. Does your employer insist on lots of "face time"? With rising gas prices and congested freeways, working from home one day a week might be an option that your employer will consider. Tell them that the time you save commuting you will use to increase your productivity.
• Learn more about Demand-Side Strategies. Those strategies designed and implemented by organizations with a role to play in mitigating traffic congestion, including state/regional/local governments, employers, special event managers, etc. Organizations frequently tailor packages of both general strategies and targeted strategies to facilitate the most appropriate blend of efficient traveler choices. Read more:

Motorists who conserve gasoline will save money, help the environment, extend the life of their vehicle and further the national goal of energy independence. So think conservation: everyone benefits.

Try an environmental rental
Try out alternative-fueled vehicles on your vacation. If you do need to rent a car when you're away from home, perhaps you can get one that creates less pollution. EV Rental Cars was formed in 1998 to provide environmentally friendly, alternative-fueled vehicles (AFVs) to car rental customers, and is affiliated with Budget Rent-a-Car. They claim to be "the first and only environmental vehicle rental company in the U.S.," offering travelers a low-emission option to protect air quality.
Currently, the company offers natural gas, electric, hybrid-electric and clean air gasoline-powered AFVs in major markets in California, as well as Washington, D.C. See their web site for more locations.

The rental fleet includes many of the newest models from major manufacturers, including Honda, Toyota, General Motors and Nissan. Size, range, and refueling requirements vary significantly. Check out their Web site for vehicle details, fueling locations, and cost and reservation information.

Alternative-fueled vehicles minimize air pollution, are less noisy, and are very fuel-efficient. This Honda Insight, a gas-electric hybrid, gets up to 70 highway miles per gallon of gasoline! AFVs include new models, as well as existing vehicles that are converted to use a new fuel source like natural gas or batteries.

Consider buying a fuel efficient vehicle
Deciding which vehicle to buy may be the most important fuel economy decision you make. The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG (miles per gallon) and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $1,500 over 5 years, assuming gas costs $1.50 per gallon and you drive 15,000 miles a year. For more information about fuel-efficient vehicles, visit the Department of Energy website:

Learn more about energy-efficiency tax credits for fuel-efficient vehicles… Beginning 2005, a $2,000 federal tax deduction is available for purchasers of hybrid-electric cars. Beginning January 1, 2006, the new Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides a federal tax credit of up to $3,400 for a hybrid-electric car purchase. Hybrid Tax Credits:

Learn more about federal programs that promote the use of alternative fuels. Incentives and regulations are available on the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data center web site:

The U.S. Dept of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To learn more about how you can reduce consumption and waste, and save money doing it visit my other blog articles here:
Low Impact Living Part I
Low Impact Living Part II
Low Impact Living Part III
Or to read more about Culture and Society Visit:
Definition By Career
Liar Liar- A Reflection on the Modern Woman
Modern Society and Culture
Moral Precepts for a Modern World
A Consumer Society
Misery Loves Company
A Sedentary Lifestyle
Blame and Responsibility in American Culture
Today I Will Make A Difference
And Finally...
The Basics of Healthy Living

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