Top Ten Fuel Saving Tips From Your NICOclub Staff:
1) Ditch the fat friends
Seriously. They cost more money to haul around, and they'll probably ask you to stop at Taco Bell. Then you'll idle in the drive-thru, wasting gas, and you'll STILL wind up paying for three grande burritos. And that gas ain't the kind you need in your tank.
2) Paint is heavy
Sand down your car to bare metal and you can save nearly 60 pounds. Sure, it might rust, but rust holes don't weigh anything. Lighter is better.
3) 80 psi per tire
A cushy ride is overrated, and you'll be skimming across the pavement like a figure skater.
4) A foot behind a semi truck is prime drafting location
Tuck up under their back bumper and you'll get pulled along with minimal effort.
5) Cover your front end in duct tape
Your grille creates drag, so tape that sucker up. Plus, duct tape comes in cool colors.
6) Buy a tow bar and hang out near a truck stop
Someone with a big truck is bound to offer to haul you to your destination. Wear a skirt and look confused.
7) Take a good healthy dump before you drive anywhere
Again, weight is the enemy. Drive naked if you want.
8) Unplug every other injector and the corresponding spark plug
You'll still keep up with a Prius and get better mileage.
9) If one Tornado improves fuel economy by 10%, buy ten and use no fuel at all
Throw a couple magnets on your fuel line and you'll actually be MAKING gas. Then sell it back to Chevron.
10) Build your own "excess fuel extraction device" out of a length of garden hose and go prospecting at the mall parking lot
You'd be amazed how much gasoline is hidden in storage tanks disguised as cars.
OK, we all know those were intended to be funny (hey, it was the best we could do over beer and wings).
But shelling out more money in fuel than your car payment each month is no laughing matter, so we're here to help you save some cash and take some of the sting out of filling up. So, without further ado, here's twelve tips for saving fuel that are easy to implement and guaranteed to work:
Fuel saving tip #1: Slow down
WHAT??? I spent all this money and time modding my car and now I gotta drive like my Grandma? Like it or not, the best gas-saving tip we can offer is to simply reduce your speed. As your speed increases, your fuel economy decreases exponentially. For freeway driving, most new cars have a "sweet spot" for fuel economy of 65-75 mph. More than that, and drag starts to demand more power, meaning more fuel. Even if you save 0.1 gallons of gas each day, you'll save more than $130 per year. Not a bad deal.
Fuel saving tip #2: Maintain proper tire pressures
Underinflated tires represent increased rolling resistance. Remember trying to ride a bike with 2 flat tires? Hard as hell, which means you need to expend more energy (burn more fuel) to maintain a given speed. Purchase a GOOD reliable tire gauge and check your tires once a month. Check them when they are cold, since driving the car warms and expands the air inside, giving a high reading. Use the inflation pressures on the sticker in the driver's door jamb, or for aftermarket tire sizes, use the data on the sidewall. A couple pounds over the recommendation is fine, since manufacturers compromise fuel economy for comfort with tire pressure. Even slight underinflation represents a 2% reduction in MPG. If every driver in the United States improved their vehicleís gas mileage by 2%, we would save nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline each year.
Fuel saving tip #3: New air filter
A dirty filter impedes airflow into the engine, which decreases performance and economy. Driving around with a dirty or clogged air filter can reduce your vehicleís gas mileage by up to ten percent, which at todayís prices, is the equivalent of adding about 30 cents to each gallon of gasoline you buy. That's the price of a fast food meal with every fill-up! If you can't see light coming through the filter media, replace it. Consider a K&N filter which is cleaned rather than changed; which are much less restrictive than throw-away paper filters, plus they're environmentally more friendly.
Fuel saving tip #4: Acceleration is key
While full-throttle launches are an obvious fuel-waster, that doesn't mean you should crawl away from every light. Get up to speed, then stay there in a higher gear. If you drive an automatic, accelerate moderately so the transmission can shift up into the higher gears, and make sure the Overdrive button (if equipped) is NOT pressed in... You want the car to select the next higher gear. Manual trans drivers should shift early to keep the revs down, but don't lug the engine -- downshift if you need to accelerate, and get up to speed and into 5th or 6th. Use cruise control whenever possible. The carís ability to maintain a constant speed is better than your ability to do so. Small, more precise, and constant adjustments made by the carís cruise control system will save you fuel.
Fuel saving tip #5: Drive like a racer
No, I don't mean hammer-down, full speed ahead. Professional drivers like racers and truckers watch ahead for potential slowdowns, and maintain smoothness. If you accelerate to speed then have to brake right away, you've just wasted that fuel. Remember, coasting gets you a lot of distance, with minimal fuel consumption. Maintaining speed is the key, and smoothness pays off. Keep your eyes down the road and coast whenever possible. If you give yourself plenty of room between the cars in front of you, you should have no problem seeing what the conditions are like ahead of you, which will allow you to do plenty of coasting and help you avoid brake tapping and needless accelerating. That means paying attention to the lights on your daily commuteóheck, memorizing themóand trying to anticipate whether they will, say, turn green by the time you get there. And, again, always look several cars ahead to see if the brake lights are starting to come on in anticipation of a coast.
Fuel saving tip #6: Roll up the windows
A common myth is that running without the air conditioning on is a sure way to save fuel. This is true if it's cool enough outside to do so, but the reality is, it's not worth sweating. If youíre traveling less than 35 mph, roll down the windows and enjoy the breeze. At freeway speeds, open windows produce drag that will offset any savings you might imagine from having the AC off. So, roll 'em down in traffic, but roll 'em up as you go faster.
Fuel saving tip #7: Drop the dubs
Larger wheels and wide tires look great, improve handling, and can make even a ho-hum vehicle look good. But if they are wider than the stock tires, they create more rolling resistance, weigh more, require more energy to accelerate, and present more frontal area, which increases drag and decreases fuel economy. Consider sticking to stock sizes if you want to maximize fuel economy.
Fuel saving tip #8: Junk in the trunk
All that stuff that accumulates in your trunk, your console, the glove box, the floorboards... It all adds up. Does it really need to be in the car? You'd be amazed how much weight reduction you can achieve by pulling out all the trash, tools, CDs, gym bags, etc. The more weight your car has to haul around, the more fuel it consumes. Dropping 100 lbs from your car can increase fuel economy by 2-5%. Donít keep your gas tank full all the time. 12 gallons of fuel weighs roughly 100 lbs. Maintaining a half tank or less all the time should allow for emergencies while keeping your weight down.
Fuel saving tip #9: Size matters
If you're in the market for a new car, consider how much car you really need. We all rant about "stupid SUV drivers", but do you really need seating for 6 if you're the only one in the car? Smaller cars are more fuel-efficient, and today's small cars are roomier than ever. In fact, the Nissan Versa has so much interior room that the EPA classifies it as a mid-size!
Fuel saving tip #10: Shut it down
Turn off your engine if you are going to be idling for more than 30 seconds. In about ten seconds of idling you use as much gasoline as it would to restart your car; this means if youíre going to be sitting at a stoplight for a minute or two, itís best to shut the car off and save gasoline. Remember, if your car is running and youíre not moving, you're getting zero MPG. Millions of gallons of fuel are wasted each day from idling, and you're contributing less emissions as well. Your starter and charging system can handle the increased activity, so don't fret - Shut it off.
Fuel saving tip #11: Let your car tell you what's up
Tracking your mileage in real time and being able to compare your fuel economy to what you got yesterday or even 10 minutes ago is a great way to save fuel. My car has an instant fuel economy computer in the navigation interface, and just by leaving it on and visible, I increased my mileage over a 60-mile trip by 3 mpg. Install a real-time fuel consumption meter if your car does not have one already. For newer cars, a fuel-economy computer like the Scangauge allows you to learn what works and what hurts and make the needed adjustments to save fuel. For older cars,a simple vacuum gauge measures how hard the engine is working. Also, DIY fuel-economy electronics are available and inexpensive. Being aware of your driving habits, combined with instant feedback should get you an instant 10 percent increase in fuel economy.
Fuel saving tip #12: Don't drive
Not a popular thing to say on a car site, I know, but the fact is that if you can avoid driving, you'll save gas. Take the train, carpool, and consolidate your trips. Walking or biking is good for your wallet and your health. If you donít drive you donít use gas. Calculate it this way: If you get 20 mpg, and it's 20 miles to your destination, that round trip costs you over $8. Would you pay a taxi driver $8 to take you there and back? If not, you have to ask, "Is this trip really necessary?"
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