Monday, December 24, 2007

Save Gas, Save the Planet

Salon has an article with tips for efficient driving. Read an excerpt below:

Adopting a lower cruising speed can also help your car go farther with less gasoline. The efficiency of most cars rapidly declines at speeds over 60. In fact, every 5 miles per hour over 60 you drive is like paying an extra 20 cents a gallon for gas, according to the Department of Energy. So the next time you're tempted to pull ahead of the guy in the Ferrari on the freeway, think of the Saudis and keep out of the fast lane.
Just as hammering the gas is a bad idea, so is slamming on the brakes. Instead, anticipate stoplights and stop signs so that you can back off the accelerator, whenever possible, to slow down, and then gently apply the brakes. "If your vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds, it takes a lot of energy to get that going from a dead stop," explains Fons, who drives a 2000 Honda Insight, and through his driving habits manages to wring as much as 100 mpg out of the car, which is rated at 66 mpg by the Environmental Protection Agency. In stop-and-go traffic, strive to maintain one consistent low speed instead of accelerating and braking, accelerating and braking. To do this, drive in the slow lane, and maintain a long buffer zone in front of you, so you won't have to slam on the brakes to avoid rear-ending the next car.
The more weight your car has to carry the harder it works, even though the overall gas savings are small, about 1 to 2 percent per 100 excess pounds eliminated, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Reed at Edmunds doesn't worry too much about excess weight in the trunk, since he believes this tip was crafted back in the 1970s when New Englanders would keep 150-pound bags of sand in their trunks in hopes of getting better traction in the ice and snow in winter.
Avoiding excessive idling is also a must. Anytime you're idling for more than 15 seconds, such as at a railroad crossing or when waiting curbside to pick up your child from school, turn off your engine, advises Fons, who co-founded the
Milwaukee Hybrid Group, which gives tips on what he calls eco-driving. The bigger your engine, the more fuel you typically waste idling. But whatever car you have, when it's idling it gets -- duh! -- zero miles per gallon. Idling is one of those bad habits that die hard. "Cars used to be hard to start. Oil was cheap, and we didn't care about global warming," says Reed. "These days cars are fuel injected."
Keeping your car tuned up can also bring some gas mileage improvements. Keeping tires properly inflated and frequently changing the air filter are the two biggies. "Gasoline is only one of the fuels the car burns," explains Reed. "The other is oxygen, so feeding it with clean oxygen is very important."
If you really get into saving gas, you can invest in a scan gauge, which costs about $170. It will inform you in real time what miles per gallon your car is getting. (Hybrids already come equipped with them.) Gerdes, who says he once got 127 mpg (over the course of 90 miles) in a 2004 Toyota Prius, believes drivers can realize a 15 percent savings on fuel overnight by buying and heeding a gauge.
It used to be said that driving with the air conditioner on was a big fuel waster. But in all but the oldest jalopies with primitive air conditioners, that turns out to be an old wives' tale. "The air conditioners that we have now are highly efficient," says Reed from Edmunds. "Yes, they do take more power from the engine, but we're talking about 1 or 2 percent." The alternative of driving with the air conditioner off and the windows open doesn't offer a significant gain in gas mileage. On the contrary, when Edmunds conducted road tests to measure whether the altered aerodynamics of driving with the windows open impacted gas mileage, they noticed a decline in fuel economy if all the windows and the sunroof were open.
Driving experts say there's no need to wait for years to benefit from the new fuel-efficiency law. We can see major gas savings now simply by backing off the accelerator and brakes. "Everybody and anybody can do this no matter what they own and drive," says Gerdes. With practice, you, too, can become a hypermiler, and soon be shaming your lead-foot neighbors with your superior miles per gallon.
Interfaith Power and Light is a religious response to global warming with chapters in 25 states and Greater Washington, D.C. Find a link to your local chapter at discounts on energy saving products at

1 comment:

Seo Link Master said...

Fuel is the adrenaline of any car, truck or engine. Thus, it is every vehicle owner's wish to enhance the fuel of their car and save more of it as well. With this in mind, the most innovative fuel-saving tool in the automotive industry was conceptualized and created: the Tornado Fuel Saver. An automotive air channeling tool that creates a swirling air motion, the Tornado Fuel Saver allows the air to move in a faster and more efficient way by whirling air around corners and bends. Hence, more fuel is saved. Search engine optimization, Try to Be happy