How To Save Gas - 33 Tips
28. Do you need to slow down to 55 mph to save fuel?
Not really... every vehicle has its most efficient speed in the highest gear. It differs depending on the design of the car, and things like tire pressure, open windows, bike racks, etc.
The 55 mph advice comes from the 1970s, when a nationwide speed limit was established in an attempt to reduce gas consumption at the time of an energy crisis. This attempt failed miserably by the way, but that's another story.
Which does not mean speed does not matter... it does. For modern aerodynamically enhanced cars, the most efficient average speed is more in the range of 65 mph or even higher. You don't want to exceed that speed if you are trying to maximize gas mileage.
At higher speeds, the main gas eater is aerodynamic drag, which is proportional to the square of your speed. That means your car needs four times more fuel to overcome the drag when you double your speed.
29. Do you need to replace your air filter?
No... because on modern cars, computers compensate for clogged air filters. You lose performance if your filter is clogged, but your gas mileage stays the same.
30. Do you need to replace the fuel filter?
No... if anything, a clogged fuel filter will improve your mileage on older cars. On newer cars, the computer will compensate for most filter issues.
On the other hand, if your fuel filter is clogged to the point where your engine starts starving for fuel at full throttle, then you will see... and feel... a serious loss of performance, well before it will affect your gas mileage in any way.
31. Do you need to inflate your tires up to the numbers shown on a tire sidewall?
No... Tire maker stamps *maximum allowed* pressure there. Only your car maker knows what pressure is right for your car. And it is always lower than "maximum allowed".
Even though over-inflating your tires will improve your gas mileage, there are a number of major downsides.
With over-inflated tires, you will experience much faster tread wear in the middle of your tires. That extra wear will have you buying new set of tires much earlier than you might expect. The cost of new tires will wipe out any savings you might otherwise realize from gas savings.
Also, over-inflating your tires makes them much harder and will cause a very uncomfortable ride... rough and bumpy.
Finally, if you over inflate your tires, you'll have worse traction, significantly impairing your safety.
Marginal savings (if any at all) will not compensate for the significant loss in safety and comfort.
32. Do you need to use gas savers? Tornado, Ramjet, Cyclone, and other gas saving devices?
Nope... gas saving devices are not just a myth – they are an outright scam. Shoot the messenger who suggests you should buy a gas saver. I'm serious.
Testing such devices was one of my responsibilities when I worked in car engine research field, and not a single device out of what I happened to test, worked. Federal Trade Commission agrees, too. Do yourself a favor, stay away from such things.
33. Do you need to use higher octane fuel or octane booster?
As a general rule - no... if your owner's manual says to use regular, you are better off using regular. You will not get better mileage with premium. Computers control all of a modern cars' engine functions. Each models computer is programmed to achieve maximum fuel efficiency for that specific design.
There are exceptions though. Some European and Japanese car makers install high performance engines, originally designed to run on premium gas, in selected American market models.
They then turn around and de-tune those engines to run on regular gas without detonation problems. I don't know why they are doing this - it's probably driven by cheaper production costs, certainly cheaper than modifying the combustion chamber. I haven't seen any of these cars myself, but people do report them on forums. If you feed premium to one of these modified cars, you will get somewhat better mileage, but still, probably not enough to offset the extra cost of premium.
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Last update 07/28/2012
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Published on: 2007-05-11 (324459 reads)[ Go Back ]