Before giving several tips about how to save fuel, let’s clarify 5 related myths first:
1. Better to fill up vehicles in the morning during the summer?
It is wrong that filling our cars up in the morning when the weather is hot will net us additional fuel. Fuel remains at a fairly constant temperature and does not expand or contract with the ambient temperature unless the fuel is stored in above ground tanks.
2. Better to place a magnet on the fuel line near the engine to improve fuel economy?
No way. If a magnet on the fuel line reduced fuel consumption, vehicle manufacturers would list this as a factory option or standard equipment without a doubt.
3. Better fuel mileage if we fill our vehicles with higher octane fuel?
It is a false statement. Octane ratings do not indicate the energy content in the fuel; they only provide a guideline for the ability to resist detonation (engine ping). Most modern vehicles have engine controls that will allow vehicles to operate on lower than factory recommended octane levels.
4. The Fuel from all gas stations is the same?
Generally, this statement is true, but a few discount independent fuel stations sell low grade fuel that is termed "slop." All motor fuel such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and etc. is transported in the same pipeline. A small amount of fuel between fuel types is mixed with the previous fuel type and this fuel is dumped into a slop tank and sold to fuel vendors at discounts. We might be purchasing a higher grade fuel, or lower grade fuel. Name brand fuels do add detergents or other additives to their fuel, but basically these additives do not affect the vehicles’ fuel mileage.
5. Fuel additives improve our fuel economy?
Fuel additives like octane boosters, fuel line antifreeze, and etc. may help with vehicle performance, but do not improve the vehicles fuel economy. Our miles per gallon will generally be reduced if we take advantage of the added power from octane boosters.
The Next 9 driving tips and 9 maintenance tips offered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Transportation Services will guarantee us 99% success of fuel saving:
9 Fuel-Saving Driving Tips
1. Avoid excessive idling – Sitting idle gets 0 miles per gallon. Warming up our vehicles should be no more than 30 seconds. Generally speaking, the time it takes to start our vehicles, check our engine gauges/lights, adjust the seat & mirrors, and pull out of out parking stall is sufficient warm up time. Also, do not let our vehicles set idling to heat up or cool down the vehicle interior. If we are at a known extended stop light (60+ seconds), turn the vehicle off is the better way.
2. Avoid using drive-thru services – To deserve to be mentioned, drive-thru services such as banks, ATM's, food service, laundry, and etc. cause excessive idling and waste gas. If we must use a drive-thru, we’d better to turn our vehicles off while waiting in line, or using the service.
3. Don’t be aggressive drivers – It is reported that aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 % on the highway and 5 % on city streets.
4. Empty our trunk – Driving around with our trunk full adds weight and reduces our fuel mileage. Take a travel light for example, each 50 lbs of added weight results in a 1% reduction in fuel economy.
5. Keep our vehicle clean – Dirt, mud, and bugs on the exterior of our vehicles creates drag that over long distances hurts our MPG. Washing and waxing our vehicles regularly reduce our vehicles’ aerodynamic drag, and improve our fuel economy.
6. Observe the speed limit – Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. In order to maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is highly recommended. A passenger car that averages 28.5 miles per gallon at 60 mph could typically get 27 mpg at 65 mph, and 25.5 mpg at 70 mph.
7. Share a ride or carpool – Sharing a ride or carpooling are good ways to reduce fuel consumption and build relationships, so why not gain 2 advantages by a single move?
8. Use cruise control – As mentioned above, using the vehicles cruise control helps improve fuel economy and prevent speeding.
9. Use mass transit – No doubt that fuel consumption can be dramatically reduced by using mass transit like bicycles and bus.
9 Fuel-Saving Maintenance Tips
1. Change motor oil – If we don’t change motor oil or use substandard engine oil can result in increasing engine friction for a decrease of 0.4 mpg.
2. Defective oxygen sensor – A worn or inoperative oxygen sensor will result in an engine that is not operating efficiently, and resulting in increased fuel consumption or a decrease of 3.0 miles per gallon.
3. Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust, and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture (which means too much fuel being burned for the amount of air), wasting fuel and causing the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 %. By the way, for vehicles with computer controlled fuel injection, they have sensors that automatically adjust for restricted air filters, keeping our fuel mileage consistent.
4. Do not top off our fuel tank – Topping off our fuel tank can saturate the emissions system with fuel, and could cause a fuel spill when the fuel warms up. When the fuel nozzle clicks off, the tank is full, remember don’t add anymore fuel or round up the dollar amount on the fuel pump.
5. Fill vehicle at slowest settings – Always fill our vehicles with the fill nozzle set on the lowest setting, because this will help prevent overfilling, or back splash.
6. Tire type – Basically, new tires have more resistance than worn ones. We probably all experienced a short term reduction in our vehicles fuel efficiency after installing new tires. What’s more, using mud and snow, or wider than standard tires for added traction will reduce our miles per gallon. These tires are designed to add friction for traction, and the added friction requires more power & gas to compensate.
7. Under inflated tires – It's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or 2 per gallon when tires aren't inflated properly.
8. Vehicle gas caps – It is estimated that about 17 % of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year. Simply loosing gas caps can result in a 2.0 mpg reduction in fuel efficiency. What the great room for improvement!
9. Worn spark plugs – Usually, a vehicle’s spark plugs fire as many as 105 million times every 35,000 miles, resulting in heat, electrical, and chemical erosion. A dirty or worn spark plug misfires and which wastes fuel without a doubt. Therefore, engines should be tuned and the spark plugs replaced at the factory recommend intervals at a minimum or more often for vehicles driven short trips only.
*If all of the above maintenance items are neglected, the result could be an overall loss of 10 miles per gallon.
A Call to Action
By Defeating 5 myths and taking 9 + 9 detailed tips, now we have 99% fuel-saving common sense in hand. Let’s just take 5 simple actions and do 1% effort to get 100 % success in fuel saving.
1. No idling
2. No aggressive driving/speeding
3. Deal with clogged air filters
4. Deal with gas caps
5. Deal with drag by empting our trunk, and etc. (Please consider the weight of our cars, the lighter, the better!)
These 5 Tips are small and easy to be ignored, but just lift our 5 fingers and follow the “2 NOs” and “3 DEALs” will really make our fuel economy a good deal!
Posted by YiChen Chen