These are common sense items, items that are both cost effective and can be done without drastic changes in life style. It is just being aware of things that cost more fuel and avoid as many of them as possible.
I do not believe we can cut fuel use more than maybe fifteen percent, I consider anyone who believes we can do much above twenty five percent to be nut cases who should be locked up to protect themselves and others, but I believe ten to fifteen is possible without significantly impacting our lives, in fact the ideas for cutting below can REDUCE overall cost.
I see alternative fuels as important, as I do drilling NOW, and anyone who believes drilling or alternate fuels will fix our problems are like the nut cases mentioned above. The anti-drilling nuts have brought us $4 a gallon gas, while the alternate fuels nuts have brought us $8 a bushel corn that is driving food prices up. But then, to take a tack from the nut cases who say “it”s all about oil’, it isn’t “all about oil”, it is “all about the nut cases, the wacko environmentalists, the anti-US, the anti-combustion engine crowd being in control!
If we could find a fuel that would run in the internal combustion engine that did not cause pollution to “mine’ and did not produce pollution when burned, these nuts would still oppose it because they see the ICE as the freeing man from slavery and they want us back there, with them as the masters. They want to tell us to ride mass transit, so they can dictate where we can go, they want us to be immobile so they can control us.
A society that can move freely is very hard to enslave. But these elite also want to fly their polluting jets as does Al Gore, George Soros, and the other ilk, to drive their SUV’s like the Hollywood elite, to have their brightly lit, air conditioned mansions, but the peasant class does not have that right. And look at the non-US born elite that is running for president and his elitist, white hating wife. In case you don’t recognize Barok Hussein Obama, take a look.
Here are a few SENSIBLE ways you can help.
Turn Off the Air Conditioner
I am not a nut case. When it is 95 F (35 C) I run the A/C in the car. But I am careful to turn it off when not needed and use natural ventilation, i.e. putting the windows down a little. Running it when not needed can decrease mileage as much as seven percent. That takes a forty dollar fill-up to forty two eighty.
Don’t Let the Heater in the Defrost Position When Not Needed
In most cars this uses the Air Conditioning unit as a dehumidifier. If it does, it is like running the A/C by just letting it on.
Don’t Use the Car as a Mobile Heated or Air Conditioned Space
Sitting in a parking lot with the engine running burns nearly a gallon an hour. I see business people leave a restaurant, go to the car, start it and sit there making phone calls and using the laptop. Yep, I have a cell and a laptop. I just don’t use the car this way.
Shift the Automatic Transmission into Neutral if You are Waiting for Long Lights
There is less load on the engine in neutral than drive. Saturn has a new vehicle that does this for you, that is where I got the idea. I haven’t been doing it long enough to get an idea how much it helps but the engine load does drop when you go to neutral. I have started doing this when I get caught on a light, that is, I get there when it is turning red. That generally is thirty or more seconds till green, a worthwhile time.
Don’t Run Electrical Equipment in the Car That is Not Needed
Generally electronics cost little to operate. A KWH of electricity (home cost about ten cents) takes less than a tenth of a gallon of gasoline to produce (about forty cents) with a gasoline engine and alternator. A car radio or CD player takes less than twenty five watts so 80 hours is one KWH (1000/25 = 80).
If you operate a radio for an hour a day it will add less than five gallons a year to your car’s gasoline usage each year. If however you have one of the boom boxes that has a couple hundred watts of power and you run it an hour a day it will add about fifty gallons to your car’s gasoline usage. Fans in heaters are also heavy electricity users as are lights. Turn them off when not needed.
The “headlights on all the time” has INCREASED gasoline usage possibly as much as one half percent and there is not really any proof this increases safety but it was politically correct. LED lighting is coming and it will help that usage significantly since it uses about one sixth of the electricity of a regular light. LED’s are a little more efficient than CF’s (compact fluorescents) which are great in the home.
CF’s are not suited for car use because they would require a power converter (more weight and efficiency loss) to get voltages they need to operate. Be careful to not tell the environazis from the eighties, CF’s have the evil, hated mercury we spent billions trying to remove from the environment when that was the watchword of the environloonie movement. It is schizoid, moving from one hot button this year to another the next.
Above all, do not compromise safety or sanity. Kids DVD players on trips do cost something but they are probably worth it. Over ten hours of driving they may cost a half gallon of fuel at most.
A side thought here. If you want to operate some lighting somewhere beyond the power lines, there are converters that will plug into the cigarette lighter (oops, “accessory socket” to be politically correct) that will give 150 watts of house current. They will power about ten CF lights if you need them but remember you will have to run the engine or have a spare battery.
A fully charged, low cost car battery will handle this for over six hours. The best and cheapest is to charge it at home.
A hundred pounds can increase gasoline usage enough to be noticeable. I carry an extra set of clothes, emergency equipment including a fire extinguisher, straps for holding down things, and a trailer hitch, about forty pounds total. They are things I use with some regularity.
I clean the car about every two weeks, looking for items I don’t need. Generally I take out five to twenty pounds of things that “got left in the car”. I have an evil SUV so I can see the accumulation. With a regular car with a trunk, you can’t. Check it from time to time.
Over time, keeping the weight down helps. And it means you have space in the car if you need it. I had a Dodge Van that had removable seats. Unless I was going to need the middle seat I took it out and moved the back up to the mid position. That gave me seating for five and about ninety pounds less weight. Gas mileage went up about a half MPG. I was concerned about fuel usage before Al Gore bought his private jet and started flying around telling people to save fuel.
Avoid Things That Change the Car’s Profile
Anything that is strapped on the car will raise air resistance and lower mileage. Keep as much in the car as practical. Again, common sense should rule. If you need a tent for the trip and it will not fit, it has to go on top. But try to streamline the bundle if possible.
I have an older fiberglass topper that is very boxy and I use it rarely, in fact I have not had it on a car in five years. If I were buying one today or if I were to increase my use significantly I would buy one that is lower and longer to cut wind resistance. With my low use the cost of fuel is insignificant compared to the cost of a new one. The boxy ones were all that were available when I bought it. There are better choices now. My replacing it now would put it in the landfill and cause another to be manufactured out of oil.
The fast takeoffs and quick stops burn fuel. High speed does also. The argument is, “I need to get there”. If someone is in jeopardy of life or limb, I understand that. But most of that is a lack of planning to leave on time.
Look at this another way. A twenty five mile commute with twenty miles on an interstate will take twenty minutes on the interstate at sixty MPH and ten more on the other roads or thirty minutes. If you go ninety on the interstate you can cover the twenty miles in thirteen minutes and twenty seconds for a total trip of under twenty four minutes. You theoretically save six minutes. But first, you really don’t get the full twenty at ninety unless the interstate is clear. So the time saving falls.
Second, in accelerating and decelerating you burn even more gas than you would if you were doing the full ninety, which in most cars is about twelve percent more gasoline than at sixty.
If your fill-up with aggressive driving is let’s say, forty five dollars, you can probably get it down to about forty two by leaving five minutes earlier and taking it easy.
Do Prudent Maintenance
Keep tires properly inflated. An easy to use tire gauge can be bought for less than $10. I promise one bought at Walmart will be made in China where they are increasing pollution to make more stuff for us. But it doesn’t do any good if it isn’t used. Replacing a clogged air filter can also help. These are usually changed on mileage but if you happen to be in a dirty environment they can clog three to five times as fast. A road construction you live near or drive through can be a killer for a filter.
Change the filter regularly. A clogged filter can cut mileage more than five percent. Saving four to five gallons of gasoline will pay for a filter. A five percent drop in mileage, from twenty MPG to nineteen for example, will burn an extra half gallon on each ten gallons. At four dollars a gallon a forty dollar fill-up will become forty two dollars. Five or so fill-ups pay for the filter.
Watch the Mileage
Check your mileage regularly. Log it in a book in the car if necessary. I did when I first bought the car and I marked each tank, “around town”, “road”, “mixed” for the type of driving. About three weeks ago my number for mixed driving dropped below twenty, it is usually close to 20.5. I thought it was an anomaly so I missed the soft tire till it went flat because of a nail!
The lower gas mileage was a warning. Had I heeded it, checked tires, I would probably been able to avoid the nuisance of the change in a parking lot as well as saving about $5 of gas. Remember that gas formulas change seasonally, at least in the colder areas. My Vue does about a half MPG better on “summer gas”. But a drop is a reason to check tires and air filter. If it drops significantly, have a dealer check.