Gas prices are spiking again, so what are concerned consumers to do? Sure, you may have fantasies of getting a hybrid car, or even an electric car, trading in your sedan for a bicycle or an E-bike, or taking a train. You may be able to move a little farther in those directions, but let's face it, your kids still have to get to school, and politicians are still fighting over extending rail service. You need things you can do this afternoon to boost your gas mileage, and stretch your hard earned dollars even farther.
Here are extremely simple, idiot-proof ways you can make your gas money work harder for you. Why not get started now? If you're feeling ambitious, you might be able to put the pennies you save into a fund, and eventually earn enough to help you afford a hybrid down the road.
Items needed: Air compressor, four to six quarts synthetic oil, common sense, willing mechanic
Why: Because you can't afford a Prius
1. Heart of the hack: This one's simple, folks. First, you gotta check tire pressure. Consider: There's a 1% loss of fuel efficiency for every 2 PSI under maximum pressure (usually in the 35-psi range). So if you're running at 26 psi, you're giving up about 5% fuel efficiency. Why, on my 1990 one-ton Chevy pickup (454 and four-on-the-floor, if you care, which you should), that's... um... 1/2 mpg.
You, presumably, drive a smaller, smarter vehicle, so you could be looking at a 1 to 2 mpg improvement. At $3/gallon, it'll add up, and if all of you send the savings to this blogger's Paypal account, he can afford to keep driving his Chevy.
Part 2. A synthetic motor oil can improve fuel efficiency quite a bit. Even if you don't believe the outrageous claims from oil and additive makers (and you shouldn't), you can realize a 5% to 10% gain by switching to a synthetic motor oil such as Mobil 1.
Part 3: Slow-the-heck-down. It's that simple, folks. Most modern automobile engines are most efficient at below-highway speeds. Figure around 55 mph for maximum efficiency, then add another 5 mph so you don't get rear-ended by the hotshot in the Lexus (or me in my truck). The gas mileage difference between 60 mph and 80 mph is going to be in the 15% range.
Part 4: Make the kiddies walk. For every 100-pounds in cargo, you're burning about 2% more gas. They could use the exercise, anyway. If that doesn't work, at least get 'em off the roof: Anything you put up there pretty much wreaks havoc on your mileage. Avoid it.
Also try these 10 super-simple ways to save gas while you drive.
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