Fuel Economy

Facts on Fossil Fuels

Fuels that are used to run motor vehicles, such as gasoline and diesel, are classified as fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable energy source, because they take millions of years to form and the reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones being formed. Until other alternative fuels are developed for wide-spread use, it is important to use fossil fuels more efficiently in our daily lives. Fuel economy is a concept of using gasoline and diesel fuels efficiently in motor vehicles. The idea of fuel economy goes hand in hand with the term “hypermiling”, which is defined as the process of getting more gas mileage out of one’s car by making minor adjustments to car upkeep and driving habits. Basically, it is the idea of saving gas.

Saving gas is not only a way to save money, but is also good for the environment. Burning fossil fuels contributes to air pollution and global climate changes, so the less fuel burned, the better. Here are some easy steps to start using fuel more efficiently.

Tips on How to Save Gas

Be a sensible driver

Aggressive driving practices such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and heavy braking all waste gas. Not only is driving sensibly a way to conserve the gas in your tank, but it is a safer practice as well.

Observe the speed limit

Gas mileage usually decreases significantly at speeds over 60 miles per hour. For each five miles per hour you drive over 60, it is like paying an additional thirty cents per gallon for your gas.

Lighten your load

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in the backseat and trunk of your car. Smaller vehicles are affected by excess weight more than larger ones, however, for each additional 100 pounds of junk in your car, your milage per gallon is lowered 2%.

Don’t idle

Idling means letting your car run out of gear or at a very slow speed without acceleration. While idling, your car is consuming gas, and is getting zero miles per gallon. Shut off the engine for long stops, like at the ATM or while running into the store or house.

Make use of your cruise control

By setting your cruise control while you are driving on the highway, you will be guranteed to maintain a constant and steady speed. This will ensure that you are not accelerating and braking liberally, which will in turn save you gas.

Replace air filters in your engine

Replacing an old or clogged air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage up to 10%

Plan smarter trips

Combining all of your errands into one trip not only saves time, but it is more fuel efficient as well. Choosing routes that are free of heavy traffic and have few traffic lights will ensure that you don’t have to stop and idle a lot. Planning your trip out before you go also helps avoid retracting your route, so you will be able to travel a shorter distance and save gas. If you are going to several places in the same area, park somewhere close to all of them and walk instead of drive between stops.

Turn off the AC

Try not to use the air conditioner if you don’t have to. Park your car in the shade where available so that your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard when you use it. Also, turn off the AC the last five minutes of your drive so that it isn’t pumping up to the last second. The inside of your car should remain cool until you get to your destination.

Be kind to your engine

Avoid prolonged “warming up” of your engine. Even on cold days, 30-45 seconds should be plenty of time. Revving the engine is a needless waste of fuel, so try not to do it. Lastly, accelerate slowly if you are in a dead stop. By only pushing the pedal down ¼ of the way at first, this allows the carbeurator to function at peak efficiency.

Buy gas wisely

Try to buy gasoline during cooler parts of the day when the gasoline is more dense, like in the morning or late evening. Because gas pumps charge according to volume, buying denser gas will get you more for your money. Avoid filling your tank to the top. Gas that sloshes out of the tank does you no good. If the nozzle is automatic, never fill past the first click of the nozzle.

For further information on fuel economy, please visit FuelEconomy.gov

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