Increase Your Vehicle Fuel Economy

car traveling roadGasoline powered cars are very inefficient. Close to 80% of the energy released by combustion is lost to heat. The rest is converted to mechanical energy to propel your car.There isn’t much you can do about the energy lost to heat, but you can ensure some things don’t waste the mechanical energy.

Diesel and gasoline prices fluctuate a lot. In some places of the country, they are over $5 a gallon, while in others they are below $3. No matter where you live, it’s always nice to save a little money. Here are few things you can keep in check to make sure you’re getting the most out of every gallon of gas.

Tire Pressure

All four tires on your vehicle should be inflated to the recommended pressures for your vehicle. You can find this information in the vehicle manual or on the internet. A tire that is under-inflated will create more drag. This means your engine has to work harder to meet the demand of your foot pressing on the pedal. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. In cold weather climates, the air pressure in a tire can drop by as much as 3 psi in the colder months.

Fuel Savings: $.01 – $.10/Gallon

Replace Air Filter

An engine needs air to breath. If there is an obstruction to the airflow into the engine, it has to work harder and burn more fuel to meet the demand of your foot pressing on the gas pedal. A dirty air filter can have a big impact on engine performance as well as on your fuel economy. Fortunately, they are very easy to replace and you can buy them at any Wal-Mart or auto parts store. They should be replaced when the oil is changed, but they may need to be replaced sooner if you drive in dusty or sandy environments. A clean air filter can make a huge difference on you fuel economy.

Fuel Savings: $.05 – $.10/Gallon

Motor Oil

Make sure you use the recommended oil grade for you vehicle. You want the oil to provide protection to your engine, but using too heavy an oil can create more friction which means your engine has to work harder. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent.

Fuel Savings: $.02 – $.05/Gallon

Engine Tune-up

Although rare with newer vehicles, an improperly tuned engine that misfires, stutters, or has a mixture that is too lean or too rich can waste gasoline. If your vehicle has failed or barely passed a smog check, this could be a good indication that a tune-up is needed. If there is a more serious problem, such that the check engine light is on, make sure you get this sorted out as soon as possible. Fixing something like a faulty oxygen sensor or an emissions system can improve your gas mileage by as much as 25%.

Fuel Savings: $.10/Gallon


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