Just in time for summer: More easy ways to squeeze extra miles from your car for each gallon of expensive gasoline. Even though each trip to the gas station is a painful experience, there are still plenty of ways that you can save money. Remember, every penny counts!
Don't warm your car up in the morning.
In the old days, before the computer revolution took over the management of many of the automobile's systems, most fuel and ignition set-ups were purely mechanical. All cars had a choke which enriched the fuel/air mixture so that an engine would run when cold. After sufficient warm-up time, the choke would disengage (or be manually disengaged by the driver) and the car was ready to roll. If you tried driving before the car warmed up sufficiently, the car would stall and/or run so poorly that you'd have to pull over until the engine was warm. Nowadays, computers monitor the fuel and spark so precisely that engines can be run almost immediately after start-up. And, thanks to modern engine design and today's miracle lubricants, there's no harm done driving the car immediately (although lightly for the first several miles) after start-up. Savings vary greatly; personally I've seen 10% better mileage by avoiding the warm up and driving away within about 30 seconds.
Avoid driving when snowy & wet.
This may sound like a joke, but science and physics is all over this one. Anything that adds friction to your drive will make your car work harder, thus decreasing gas mileage. Again, I've personally seen about a 10% - 20% drop in mileage in the snowiest days, and at least a 10% decrease in the rain. When the weather is bad, is there any way to avoid hitting the roads?
Set air pressure in your tires to the maximum
Chances are, if you check the air pressure in your tires right now, one (or more) tires will be lower than the tire's rated pressure. Mostly for a cushy ride, car manufacturer will often recommend tire air pressures lower than tire manufacturers. But the lower the air pressure, the greater the rolling resistance of the tires. Look on the sidewall of your tires, you'll find a maximum recommended air pressure. I've found that this safe maximum for the tires can be anywhere from 2psi to 6 psi greater than the car manufacturer recommends. Look for up to 3% better gas mileage if you set your tires near or at the maximum recommended pressure. Just make sure that you're checking those pressures when the tires are cold - usually early morning, before you hit the road. The downside? A slightly rougher ride (if you even notice). Just be sure not to exceed the maximum pressure shown on the tire.
Dan Morton is a car enthusiast, author and car expert.
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