The use of fossil fuels has been a major concern for decades. The fact that these fuels are available in a finite supply that will one day be exhausted has been behind many different pushes to conserve them and make more economical use of them. One of the most prominent of these fuels is petroleum and all the products made from it, including gasoline and diesel fuel. These are the two fuels most commonly referred to when one mentions trying to maximize fuel economy. Here are a few tips that can help out in this area.
Car manufacturers have released gas electric hybrids in recent years. These vehicles operate on a gas engine when traveling and switch to electric when idling, cutting out the gasoline engine. These cars are excellent at maximizing fuel economy in stop and go traffic. However, if one does most of his her driving on open roads where there are few stops, one can obtain more economical use of gasoline with a straight gas powered car.
One of the best ways to achieve the most economical use of fuel is to carpool. This does not mean simply doubling up in a car, but carrying as many passengers as the car can safely accommodate who are going to the same place.
Taking this a step further, public transportation is in place in most cities. If one can take advantage of a city's bus or train service to get from one place to another without burning his/her own fuel, the total economy of fuel usage is improved.
Avoid idling as much as possible. It is not uncommon to see tractor trailer rigs sitting at truck stops with the engines idling. This practice wastes huge amounts of fuel each year. If the trucks were shut off when stopped, they could probably add up to a third more miles to their drivable distance per tank of fuel. Cars that idle excessively burn extra gasoline in the same manner. This is the reason for the invention of hybrids.
Changing speeds a great deal diminishes fuel economy. If one can reach a set speed and maintain that speed, fuel consumption drops off dramatically. Where it was once thought that maintaining a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour would save more fuel, it has now been proven that different engines reach maximum efficiency at different speeds. The main contributing factor is the amount of time spent accelerating and decelerating. A constant even speed uses less fuel to maintain than is used reaching that speed.
One factor often overlooked is tires. You want to wear quality ones from the reputable manufacturer like the michelin or yokohama, you want to choose the thread that is designed for saving fuel, and the most important you want to keep the correct air pressure. Low air pressure can easily account for a few less miles per gallon, and greatly increases the risk of losing a tire in motion and even overturning a vehicle.
Another means of improving fuel economy is limiting the number of trips one takes. Combining trips to reduce the number of times an engine is started and run saves untold amounts of fuel compared to running to the store every time one thinks of something that is needed.
One step the government has taken to improve fuel economy, particularly the use of petroleum, is adding in a percentage of alternate fuels such as alcohol. This move cuts back the amount of petroleum used and reduces the greenhouse emissions from cars because the alcohol burns cleaner than gasoline.
Car makers have been improving engines steadily over the years. Where it was once normal for a vehicle to get only 14 or 15 miles per gallon of fuel used, today cars are being produced that are capable of reaching 40 miles per gallon.
Although they are considered to be more dangerous because they are more open, motorcycles are capable of achieving up to 100 miles per gallon of fuel. This makes them a preferred mode of transportation during the summer when the weather is warm enough to make riding them comfortable.
Taking steps to increase fuel economy is the surest way to ensure that the energy needs of future generations will be met. The fuels we use today can not be replaced. They took millions of years to develop into the forms they have now and are being used at a phenomenal rate. If these fuels run out before new types of fuel become available, the energy needs of our children and grandchildren may not be met, forcing them to step backward in time to a point before we relied so heavily on petroleum and other fossil fuels.
Fuel economy will continue to be a hot topic as long as the primary sources of energy are fossil fuels. Efforts to find alternative, renewable sources of energy are ongoing. Until such a source of energy is readily available, it will continue to be important for each man or woman to make the most of what we have and take steps to maximize fuel economy. We have provided a few tips here, but there are undoubtedly several other ways a person can find to get the most out of every drop of fuel used and to limit the amount used to the bare necessity.