09 March 2008

Save gas and the environment

With gas prices hovering around $3 per gallon, and spring break road trips planned, many of our customers are asking what they can do to squeeze out a few more miles per gallon. Depending on how well you maintain your vehicle, you might be pleasantly surprised with just how much you can save.

The Car Care Council published the chart (below) that lists some commonly neglected maintenance items that, if addressed, could squeeze out another 11 miles per gallon! Now we doubt that everyone will see this kind of improvement, but if you don't remember when you last addressed these items, it would be a good idea to come by for a check up.

Condition Effect

MPG Penalty
(up to)

Under-inflated tiresIncrease rolling resistance1-2 mpg
Dirty air filter Causes excessively rich fuel/air mixture 2.0 mpg
Worn spark plugsCause inefficient combustion, wasted fuel 2.0 mpg
Worn O2 sensorUnable to detect and adjust air/fuel mixture3.0 mpg
Dirty or substandard engine oil Increases internal engine friction .4 mpg
Loose gas capAllows fuel to evaporate 2.0 mpg

Potential loss in fuel economy
if all of the above were neglected

11.4 mpg
Courtesy of the Car Car Council

Another way to improve your vehicle's mpg, sometimes dramatically, is by changing your driving behavior. Unfortunately, like most habits, it's a lot easier said than done. Again, the Car Care Council offers some tips...

  • Don't be an aggressive driver: Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 10 to 66 cents per gallon.
  • Avoid excessive idling: Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Today's cars don't need to "warm up" before driving, and if you really want it to warm up or cool off in the cabin, you'll get to your preferred temperature faster by driving.
  • Observe the speed limit: Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.

Keep in mind that these tips not only save you money, they also save the environment. So here's to a safe and greener spring break!

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