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  HomeBuying Guides >

Easy ways to up your mileage

 

Fuel Economy Tips

Looking for a miracle product that will increase your fuel mileage? So are we...

at the gas pumpLike you, we're still somewhat dumbfounded at how much a gallon of gasoline costs these days. The days of 99-cent unleaded suddenly seem as long ago and far away as those of 25-cent hi-test and nickel sodas.

With prices higher than ever, fuel economy has become a very hot topic, and everyone is looking for a way to get more miles per (expensive) gallon. There are plenty of ways to cut down on the amount of gas you use every day and we've listed a number of them below. But for every common-sense solution, there seems to be two amazing, stupendous wonder products that claim to produce truly miraculous mileage figures.

We've heard from a number of customers who are looking for something like that and, honestly, we don't blame them - we'd love to find (or, better still, patent) a 100-mpg carburetor, too. But we haven't seen one yet. In fact, we aren't aware of any fuel-saving products that actually do what they say they'll do. Neither is the Federal Trade Commission, whose website notes that “the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has evaluated or tested more than 100 alleged gas-saving devices and has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage. In fact, some ‘gas-saving' products may damage a car's engine or cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions.”

That's why you won't see any miraculous mileage-improvement products on our website or in our catalogs. We made our reputation by selling high-quality, common sense products that make your driving experience more enjoyable – not snake oil. Maintaining the good name we've built up over the years is more important to us than making a quick buck on a questionable product.

While we can't help you achieve econobox-like fuel economy numbers with your seven-passenger SUV, we can offer a few time-tested tips to help you squeeze more mileage out of every tank of gas. Give them a try and we bet you'll see a difference. As it turns out, the most amazing fuel economy enhancer ever made is probably sitting behind the steering wheel during your morning commute!

Fuel Economy Tips

Tip: Use the fuel recommended by your owner's manual. Some people think they're doing their car a favor by upgrading the fuel to mid-grade or premium. Not necessarily. A quick check of the manual will tell you what type of gasoline is right for your car. Some require higher-octane gas, but for many cars, regular unleaded is just fine. Give the car the fuel it needs and it will give you the performance and efficiency you expect.

Tip: Relax! Aggressive driving -- speeding, rapid acceleration, hard braking -- are sure ways to reduce your gas mileage. Drive smoothly and steadily to save fuel and also extend the life of your engine, transmission, brakes and tires.

Tip: Check your speed. Your vehicle's fuel efficiency decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Once you're up to speed, maintain a steady pace in top gear and use cruise control. Keeping your vehicle at a steady speed is a great way to stay safe and save fuel.

Tip: Reduce aerodynamic drag by removing unused equipment. Empty ski racks, bike racks and cartop carriers should be removed so your vehicle's engine doesn't have work overtime. Using extra power to overcome drag just means wasted gasoline. AutoSport stocks several cartop carriers which can be folded for easy storage when not in use.

at the gas pumpTip: Check your tires. Under-inflated tires require more energy to roll which not only wastes fuel but also wears the tires faster. Having a good tire pressure gauge makes it easy to save time, tire wear and fuel consumption!

Tip: Gas mileage and engine maintenance go hand-in-hand. If your engine is poorly maintained, your gas mileage will be reduced dramatically. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner's manual and have your vehicle checked out if you detect any unusual sounds, smells or vibrations.

Tip: Use the correct grade of motor oil. Check your owner's manual to see which type is best for your vehicle. Also remember to look for motor oil that is labeled "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to take advantage of friction-reducing additives.

Tip: Replace dirty air filters. A clogged air filter can seriously reduce your gas mileage. Replacing it will not only save fuel, but will keep impurities from damaging your engine.

Tip: Shop around for gas. Most gas stations carry the same quality fuel so keep an eye out for the lowest prices around your area. There are also websites that monitor gas prices, so you can easily design your errand-running around cheap gas.

Tip: Lighten your load. Extra weight from a full trunk or cargo area can reduce your gas mileage. Here are some handy garage organizers to help you keep your offloaded gear neatly arranged in a garage or shed.

Tip: Be engine-efficient. A cold engine (one that hasn't been started for hours) is less fuel efficient than a warm one. Your engine warms up faster while driving than while sitting and "warming up" so don't let your vehicle sit at idle for more than 30 seconds. Start it up, drive it and then shut it off between errands to conserve fuel. You should also try to combine as many errands as possible into one trip.

Tip: Don't run the air conditioning unless you really need to. Running the air conditioner robs power from the engine and uses additional fuel. On cooler spring and fall days, open the windows and experiment with the vent and fan settings during stop-and-go, in-town driving. At higher speeds, however, aerodynamics are much more important. An open window adds drag, which really hurts fuel economy. If you're taking the highway, roll the windows up and use the AC. You'll be more comfortable and your car will be more efficient.

Tip: Use overdrive gears when highway driving. Overdrive gears reduce engine speed, saving you gas money and engine wear.

-Jon Paulette, AutoSport


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