Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How to use less gasoline

The price of gasoline has just hit a new all time high. Luckily, Q has a 3 mile round trip commute to work, and Mrs. Q only works Thursdays and Fridays. I have driven 30 miles a day for previous jobs, and I know some would scoff at that amount of driving as nothing. Supercommuters with daily round trips of 100 miles or more must be getting killed by these gas prices.

How to consume less fuel? CNN Money had a story on "4 gas-saving myths" that dispelled several popular notions about how to use less gasoline.


1. Additives. Not only do the liquid additives, pills, and magnets not really save much fuel, they cost money to use, thereby eliminating most if not all savings you realized by using them.

2. Don't use your air conditioning, but don't roll your windows down either. Running your A/C is a gas guzzler, right? And putting your windows down makes your car less aerodynamic? Not exactly true. In fact, during summer months, it's better to have your windows down in the city with no A/C, while rolling up your windows and running the A/C on the highway.

3. Fill up on Wednesday. Prices will have come down from their weekend highs. Not exactly so. Prices may be higher on the weekend, but there is no ideal day during the week to purchase gas. The price of gas fluctuates due to numerous external factors (station owners, refinery capacity, Middle-East tensions, etc).

4. Starting your car consumes lots of fuel. Not so for new cars. Fuel-injected cars do not use an inordinate amount of fuel when starting up. I do not agree with the notion that if you're sitting in a drive thru for 30 seconds that you should turn off your car. Too much of that and you're likely to wear out your starter!

So how can you really save on your petrol bill?

1. Inflate your tires to the proper PSI.

2. Do not unnecessarily haul around extra weight.

3. Use cruise control on longer highway trips.

4. Do not drive a gas-guzzling vehicle. We own a 6-cylinder Honda Odyssey, a vehicle that shuts off three cylinders when the engine is not being pushed too hard. It does not matter how I drive this thing - it sucks down the fuel. I love the vehicle for its versatility and know it will make hauling around my two daughters much easier, but it is a gas guzzler.

5. Drive slowly! No drag races off the line. No lighting up the tires for you youngsters! And when driving in city traffic, do not unnecessarily accelerate to the next stoplight. Driving the speed limit is very annoying and just seems too slow sometimes, but you will consume less fuel.


broknowrchlatr said...

I love watching MythBusters on the Discovery channel. They coverred A/C vs windows down and determined that about 45 MPH is the break even point. Below that, open windows. Above that, A.C

Q at $1 Million to My Name said...

Does that include my Hummer?


Anonymous said...

Minivans are never going to be very fuel efficient - they are heavy and use fairly large engines.

Good luck convincing the wife to give up the minivan for a 4-door small car like the Corolla!

Even though the Corolla would cover 95% of her needs.