75 Ways to Save Gas
Clean, Green Tips to Cut your Fuel BillBook - 2009
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Don't drive with a full tank, says Jim Davidson in his book, 75 Ways to Save Gas.
Gasoline weighs a lot and taxes the engine, meaning it has to work harder – and burn more fuel – to keep you moving.
And don't refuel when the tank is one-quarter full. Wait until the tank is empty and the dashboard light comes on.
Some people call this gas surfing. Just don't try it while on a trip, or late at night when everything is closed.
The average price of gas in Toronto was $1.02 yesterday, up from 94 cents a month ago.
As summer driving season approaches, why not do what you can to cut your fuel bill?
Davidson runs his own business, Car$mart, helping people buy new cars. He owns a Toyota Prius hybrid.
The $6.99 book, published by Penguin, arose from a sense of helplessness at seeing gas prices spiking. He wanted to give power back to people.
Here are 10 tips I found surprising and yes, empowering.
1) Choose synthetic (factory-made) oil. The engine parts will move much more freely than with natural oil, increasing mileage by nearly 10 per cent. Synthetic oil costs a little more, but doesn't have to be changed as often.
2) Add nitrogen to your tires. Nitrogen is a dry, inert gas that has larger molecules than air. This means almost no leakage through the valve, rim and sides. Your tires stay pumped up longer, giving better fuel economy and less wear.
3) Install a fuel-use gauge. This computerized gadget gives you an instant reading of how much fuel your car is using. It keeps you honest, since you can see how much gas you waste by revving the engine or speeding.
4) Don't overfill the gas tank. When the pump clicks, stop. It's a costly mistake to top up. Any gas pumped after the click will just evaporate or spill down the side of the car.
5) Tighten the gas cap. Make sure it goes on smoothly after you refuel. If the cap is crooked or loose, you'll lose gas when it overflows out the neck of the tank as you drive.
6) Keep the car's body clean and smooth. Dirt or dents cause aerodynamic drag, overworking your car's engine and raising the fuel bill. A washed and waxed car can use up to 5 per cent less fuel than a dirty one. Check the underbody and wheel wells for caked-on dirt and mud.
7) Chill in the shade. Park in an indoor lot or in the shade of a tree or building. A car can get up to 15C degrees hotter sitting out in the sun. The extra heat will make you more inclined to use the air conditioning to cool off.
8) Park with the hood pointing out. Backing out of a parking spot when the engine is cold takes a lot of effort (and gas). All the jockeying to park with your hood pointing out is done when the engine is warm, so it's easy on fuel.
9) Don't do the drive-throughs. Park your car and walk into the fast-food restaurant instead. The typical drive-through wait is five minutes, making you waste fuel by idling the engine.
10) Start a fuel economy group. Plan to meet over coffee, start a blog together or link up in a group email. Make it a game to see who can get the best mileage each month and give gas cards as rewards. Check EcoModder.com or CleanMPG.com for fuel economy tips.
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