Last week I was driving around San Diego and found gas prices to be as high as $4.46 per gallon. While this price is still considerably less than what most other people in the world pay, it is hard to deny the price shock Americans have endured over the last few years. I remember back in 2001 when gas was $0.99 a gallon; twenty dollars was all it took to fill up my Ford F-150’s tank. Now that gas costs over 400% more, squeezing more mileage out of every tank of gas is proving to be a concern for the masses. Some people are choosing to buy new cars that offer much improved fuel economy. Diesel engines are a popular choice as they offer MPG’s in the mid-forties range for cars and the low-twenties range for trucks. Gas-Electric hybrid vehicles are another option for those seeking the most bang for their buck, which can get 60 miles per gallon or more with the proper driving techniques. But the economy is slowing and now is not the right time for many to be buying new cars and trucks. If that is the dilemma you face and want to get more out of your gas money, here is a small list of suggestions and tips for getting better MPG’s out of your car or truck.
1. Keep your vehicle well maintained and tuned up. A vehicle that runs poorly is going to have to work harder to keep running, which means more fuel will be burned for the same output. This doesn’t just mean mechanically sound; you should also stay on top of the required maintenance. Change your oil regularly (every 3,000 miles or 3 months), keep your tires inflated to the tire manufacturer’s specifications and ensure the vehicle has a good alignment. Do the spark plugs or air filter need to be changed? All these things can have a dramatic effect on how many miles per gallon you get from your vehicle, so stay on top of it and enjoy the extra MPG’s.
2. Purchasing a handheld programmer is a particularly good option for people who drive cars or trucks that have a turbocharged or supercharged engine. This applies for both gas and diesel varieties. Although it requires a modest investment, it is an investment that will pay off in the long-term. For example, the Hypertech Econ Power Programmer costs around $350. It works for a variety of domestic vehicles, improves both horsepower and torque output, and can increase fuel economy by as much as 6 MPG! Even if only a 3 MPG increase was gained, that translates into sixty more miles out of a twenty gallon tank. If the average car gets 20 MPG, the econ power programmer can save the average driver between $12 and $24 per tank. Depending on how much you drive, the HyperTech e con can pay for itself in as little as eight months. If you own a truck and do a lot of towing, the HyperTech Max Energy power programmer is another great option as it focuses on increasing power and torque for better towing capacity while still improving fuel economy.
3. Remove anything in the vehicle you know you won’t need. Extra weight in your vehicle is extra work the engine has to do to haul everything around. This translates into lower MPG’s if you are regularly hauling around extra stuff.
4. Reduce drag by removing aftermarket components like a luggage rack or ski/bike rack. Removing things like this can have a dramatic improvement on fuel economy, as much as 3-4 MPG.
5. Drive at a constant speed and/or use cruise control. You’ll burn more fuel by accelerating and braking than if you are able to keep a constant RPM/speed. Go with the flow of traffic, maybe even 1 or 2 MPH less than everyone else, to keep your foot off the brake. Obviously, safety takes precedence over fuel economy so make sure you aren’t causing problems in freeway situations when following this tip.
6. Know where the stop signs and traffic lights are. Many people have a beaten path they follow to get to work. If you can time your commute and get in sync with traffic lights, you won’t have to stop as often. This will lead to better fuel economy because you’re maintaining a more constant speed and not accelerating as much.
You can click on the following links for more information about Power Programmers, Hypertech econ, or the Hypertech Max Energy fuel saving options.