Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fuel Saving Tips

Oil price goes up and down so erratically. OPEC plans to cut production, you can expect the price of gasoline goes up. May be we are going to see $3+ per gallon again.

Here are some tips that would help you to save the gasoline, and the money.

TAKE IT EASY. You can start with observing the speed limit when you're on the highway. The EPA's rule of thumb is that for every five miles per hour you drive over 60 mph, it's like paying an additional 20 cents a gallon for gas. Slowing your rate of acceleration from a stoplight can also help conserve a lot of gas -- as much as a quarter of a tank each time you fill up, if you drive with an extremely light foot. Also, if driving a manual-transmission vehicle, try to get in the highest suitable gear as fast as possible, thus minimizing the engine speed.

CRUISE CONTROL. The EPA suggests engaging cruise control on the highway for better fuel management. A microchip, in theory, is able to control the flow of gasoline to the engine more smoothly than your foot can. The Magliozzi brothers, however, think cruise control is a bad idea, for safety reasons. They suggest the money you save isn't worth the potential danger of having your foot off the gas.

LIGHTEN UP. Take everything out of the car that you don't need so your engine doesn't have to work as hard. If packing the car for a road trip, the AAA suggests packing only what you need, and keeping luggage inside the vehicle rather than strapping to the roof where it creates wind resistance.

STAY IN TUNE. Keep up with regular maintenance. Edmunds.com estimates, for example, that a properly working oxygen sensor -- a standard part in today's automobile engines -- can affect your fuel economy by as much 40%. The Department of Energy estimates that drivers can improve their gas mileage by as much as 10% by simply changing their air filter every 12,000 miles.

PUMP THEM UP. Many experts say properly inflated tires play a big role in maintaining good fuel economy. Drivers should be vigilant about holding true to manufacturers' suggestions on tire inflation, which typically are printed on a sticker placed on the door pillar or in the glove box. Generally, underinflated treads lower gas mileage about a half-percent for each pound lacking when the pressure of all four tires is added up.

COOL IT ON THE AC. AAA suggests drivers use air conditioners conservatively. The agency says most air conditioners have an "economy or "recirculation" setting that reduces the amount of outside air that must be chilled. Both settings can reduce the air conditioner's workload and save gas.

The above tips are taken from Wall Street Journal.

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