We Can't Avoid Using Gasoline, So Lets Figure Out How to Use Less of It!

by Brad COON

've heard it said somewhere that Fred Flintstone's car might have been the most fuel-efficient vehicle ever developed - powered solely by Fred's two feet. And while it likely didn't feature air-conditioning, a radio, or even a floor for that matter, it also didn't cost Fred and Barney multiple fill-ups at the gas station every week. Advancement has definitely come with a price tag, and with gas over $ 2.50 a gallon, it's worth it to go the extra mile to maximize your vehicle's mpg.

The surest way to save gas is to drive less, carpool, and walk whenever possible, but for most of us this is about as practical as pushing your car along with your feet. However, with proper maintenance, you can maximize your miles per gallon while you drive. An out-of-tune vehicle has to work harder, using more fuel and prematurely wearing the engine and other components. By following a few basic tips, you can lighten your vehicle's workload and improve your gas mileage by as much as 20 percent.

Easy Does it...
Cruising along at a fast clip may seem like the best way to get from Hamburg to Grand Island, but it's not very fuel-efficient . At speeds above 55 mph, fuel economy decreases rapidly, so just slowing down from 65 mph to 55 mph can increase your mpg by as much as 15 percent. According to the Department of Energy, driving an extra hour instead of speeding saves $5-$10. When you factor in a possible traffic stop for a speeding ticket and the detour to re-fill your gas tank, the benefit of speeding is minimal at best.

You can also improve gas mileage another 5 percent or more by avoiding "jackrabbit" (sudden) starts and anticipating stops to avoid sudden braking. Making quick stops and starts ensures that you'll be back at the pump sooner than needed.

Inflate your tires and Align those wheels
Since his tires were made of rock, maintaining proper air pressure might not have been a big concern for Fred Flintstone, but the rubber tires on your vehicle are another story. To improve mpg, it's a good idea to check tires monthly and keep them inflated to the maximum recommended pressure.

Also make sure your wheels are properly aligned. A car with poor wheel alignment will have increased road resistance, which wastes gas. Regular wheel alignment and tire rotations can help maximize your mpg.

What is all this I hear about Nitrogen in tires saving fuel?
Nitrogen , an inert , non-flammable gas is being used increasingly by motorists to drastically increase their fuel mileage. Until recently it was cost prohibitive to have this gas installed in your vehicle. Nitrogen generators are now coming down in price and can be bought for under $9,000 today. West Herr currently has three of these Nitrogen generators and will have 15 by year end, making a quick Nitrogen fill up very easy and inexpensive anywhere in West Herr NY. Nitrogen maintains proper inflation pressure longer than a tire filled with compressed air; up to three to four times longer. Your tires wear better, and handle better and that translates into improved mileage. It is used in the majority of military vehicle tires, aviation tires and even the space shuttles landing gear tires!

What Oil is best for me?
Clean oil is the best oil , and that can be realized by not exceeding your car manufacturers recommended oil change interval. Dirty oil increases heat and friction, 2 major robbers of energy and ultimately, your fuel economy.

Gas mileage can also be improved as much as 3% by using the right motor oil. Multi-grade motor oils are the best, use a 5W-30 or 10W-30 for most vehicles and for new model Fords, a 5W-20 motor oil.

It's also important to make sure the oil level is within the "safe" range in between your regular oil changes. Too little oil can overtax your engine, causing premature wear and reduced gas mileage.

Lets clear the air about air cleaners
Clogged and dirty air filters cut off the engine's air supply. Make sure yours is in good condition and if it is old, replace it. Air filters are easy to replace and inexpensive too and they make a world of difference with your gas mileage. At the very least, you should have a new air filter put in once a year.

Are we using less fuel yet?
Hopefully these tips will help you get more miles out of that expensive gallon of gas and all of these things will also make your car safer and last longer.

Try to keep an eye on your vehicle's fuel consumption - a sudden increase can indicate a need for a tune-up or repair. Also note that weather, road conditions, and terrain can all add stress to your vehicle and cause your engine to work harder. Whether you're driving through East Aurora or cruising the town of Bedrock, proper maintenance can help you maximize your mpg - not to mention help you save a few dollars along the way.

Brad Coon is the General Manager of Fixed Operations for the West Herr Automotive Group.

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