The perfect Mexican road trip

If you’re planning a road trip but you don’t want to blow the bank, Mexico is already on the list. Most people opt for the beach- but it’s hard to choose just one. There are also beautiful mountains, archaeological sites, and culturally rich pueblos. Renting a car in Mexico is the easiest way to experience an incredibly diverse and rich country.

While gas may be cheap in the US, PEMEX controls the prices in Mexico, and it’s certainly pricier than stateside. There are a few tricks to keeping costs down, though. Whether you have 5 days or 5 weeks, renting a car with Fox Rent A Car is easy and cheap, especially with a Groupon Coupon. Groupon Coupons are free, with no upfront purchase necessary. They even cover you at 8,600 other stores.

In addition to hooking up with Fox Rent A Car and Groupon, here are some tips for the road you may want to think about:

 

  1. Gas stations: Mexican gas stations are not self-serve and 90% of Mexicans have lost money at the gas pump to gas attendants ripping them off. Always watch the pump, and be aware of how much cash you hand to the attendant and how much change they hand back. Be sure to check your fuel level after turning your car back on, before pulling away from the pump.
  2. Fuel economy: “topes” and “tumulos,” or speedbumps, are frequent. Look for the yellow signs on the side of the road with an image of a speed bump- it will either say the distance until the speed bump (250 meters, 100m, 50m, etc.), or have an arrow pointing down to the ground, indicating the speed bump is at that location. Speed bumps are often placed together, so no need to jam down the gas pedal immediately after clearing the speed bump- there will probably be another one within 20-50 yards.
  3. Returning your car: Always be sure to fill your tank back to the level you had at the start of your rental. Companies charge a premium for the service of re-filling the gas you used during your trip.

 

Renting a car in Mexico is easier than most foreigners think. Major roads are smooth, well-lit, and very safe. There is even free, I repeat, free, roadside assistance in Mexico. The Green Angels will get you back on the road, all for free.

Keeping your trip affordable is obviously important. Groupon Coupons will help you achieve that. If you are planning a road trip to Mexico and you want the freedom to customize your trip and save money at the same time, book with Fox Rent A Car using your Groupon Coupon. When you’re ready for the next adventure, Groupon will have tons of new coupons and partner stores ready to make your trip possible.

Getting a Loan

If you have ever had any trouble getting a loan from a traditional banking system, then you owe it to yourself to find out about the other options that you have for money. Getting a loan does not have to be a humiliating process – you can actually have the money that you need in a timely fashion and keep your dignity as well.

The secret to getting the money that you need is to partner with a loan company like https://www.cashfloat.co.uk that focuses on individual heads of household. When you take a loan from a large bank, you are actually agreeing to terms that are created for international businesses. These terms are definitely not in your favor, nor do you have the cash backing to create leverage if you miss a payment or the terms change.

When you do a business with a company that is geared towards people like you, then you can give yourself a great deal of leverage that is impossible to do with a large bank. This will lead to better customer service. You will not have to put up with being treated like a number. You will not have to wait by the phone for a month just to find out if the terms on your agreement are changing. You will be able to negotiate your own terms with a lender who understands that not everything goes perfectly during a loan.

Because they are more used to giving out small amounts of money to individuals, you will not have to deal with the large interest rates that are put on large companies when they borrow millions of dollars at a time. With all of the advantages that you gain from doing business with a company that is invested in smaller loans, there is really no reason for you to go back to a large banking organization. Do not be fooled by the millions of dollars in advertisements that large banks place into television and radio to make sure that you think that they are the only option. You have other options.

The Best Time of the Year to Land Yourself an Investment Banking Job

Few people know it and even fewer will admit it that bank recruitment is actually a seasonal process. If you are looking for a job in the banking sector, chances are that now isn’t the best time to start scouting.

Trends in 4 Major Investment Banks

Based on the trends exhibited by 4 major investment banks – Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and UBS, October to December is literally considered to be a “cold season” in the field of bank recruitments. In fact, as per trends that have been tracked since 2010, these are the months when the maximum number of staff is slashed from the banks.

This trend tends to continue up until the end of the first quarter in March. The fact of the matter is that the only time of the year when banks welcome new recruits is in Quarter 3 between July and September. When comparing the 4 year trend between these 4 major banks it was found that the overall average firing of staff in Q4 (October through December) was a whopping 239 employees. In Q1 (January through March) these figures went slightly down to 175 employees being let go off. While the number reduces significantly in Q2 (April to June) to 29, the only quarter through the year that represented staff additions is Q3 when an average of 189 new employees were recruited for the year.

What Makes Quarter 3 so Special?

July through September is considered to be the best time of the year to recruit because graduate and MBA hires tend to start work now. Furthermore, most banks make it mandatory for employees to serve a three month notice period. This means that bankers that apply for new positions in new companies in the beginning of the year start receiving their offers by the end of the first quarter, after which the 3 month notice is served until late June or early July before they are able to start their new jobs.

Landing a Banking Job

So does this mean that you just sit back and wait for the season to arrive? The answer obviously is, no. Depending on whether you are fresh out of college of B-school, or have already ventured into the banking world, you need to put in effort all year round. If you show some interest, and connect with people to meet with potential employers, you will find that they are more than happy to arrange a meet with you.

Furthermore, it is not necessary that you need to be a scholar from an Ivy League to get a good career in investment banking for yourself. Work hard towards preparing and qualifying yourself for the kind of job you are looking for. The idea is to stack the odds in your favor.

Ways To Save on Gas and Drive More Fuel Efficiently

It is essential that every motorist strive to
obtain the best possible fuel economy. Reducing fuel consumption puts more cash
into your pocket and curbs the amount of environmental pollution. Although electric
cars are an option, their limited driving range presents a challenge for some
drivers. Luckily, most car owners can improve their gas mileage by making a few
changes. Here are some ways to save on gas and drive more efficiently.

steering

 

Keep the vehicle properly maintained.
The upkeep of a vehicle has a direct impact on its fuel consumption. If the spark plugs are beginning to wear down, the combustion of the fuel will not be as efficient. A worn oxygen sensor can also cause a vehicle’s gas mileage to plummet.

Reduce your traveling speed.
Gas mileage tends to decline when traveling at speeds in excess of 55 miles-per-hour. Lowering your average highway speed from 70 mph to 60 mph can improve gas mileage by up to 15 percent.

Maintain the optimal tire pressure.
Each day, thousands of motorists will hit the road on a set of under-inflated tires. The increased friction against the pavement forces the engine to expend more energy. Always remember to check the tire pressure while the tires are cold.

Easy acceleration.
Many drivers unnecessarily punch the gas pedal upon accelerating. If the tachometer gauge rises past 3000 rpm, this is a good indication that too much pressure is being applied to the accelerator. When accelerating, try to keep the engine speed between 2500-3000 rpm on the tachometer.

Learn to coast.
Instead of racing from one stop light to the next, allow the vehicle to coast to a stop. This task can be accomplished by simply releasing your foot off the accelerator. The momentum will enable the vehicle to roll without using any fuel. The key is to always be looking ahead for slowing traffic.

Consider public transportation and walking.
Although there is nothing wrong with owning a fuel efficient Toyota Corolla, try to limit the use of your vehicle as much as possible. If your destination is not within walking or biking distance, feel free to take advantage of the public transportation system. Public transportation is very affordable. When taking the train or bus, the risk of being involved in a traffic accident also declines.

 

Fuel Saving Tips and Myths

Since gas prices don’t appear like they’re going to drop any time in the near future, we’ve put together another list of fuel saving tips as well as a list of fuel saving myths, both of which should help you to make better choices and save money when filling up your tank. Enjoy.

Fuel savings tips:

  • Make sure to close your gas cap correctly. Nearly 20% of all vehicles on the road have gas caps that are damaged, not closed correctly or even completely missing. This results in a whopping 147 MILLION gallons of gas lost to vaporization every single year. On a personal level, gas cap problems result in a two mpg reduction in your car’s fuel  efficiency, so make sure they are on and working correctly.
  • Use the lowest fill setting when filling your tank. In many cases, because the gasoline is rushing in too quickly, backsplash or overfilling happens and the result is lost gasoline.
  • Don’t top off your car’s fuel tank. Simply put, once the fuel pump clicks off your tank is filled. Filling it up further to round out the dollar amount could cause your gasoline to spill out when it warms up as well as saturating your emission system with fuel.
  • Inflate your tires correctly. Underinflated tires can waste up to 3% of your gasoline. Make sure you check your tires on a regular basis.
  • Use the correct type of tire. If, for example, you have mud and snow tires on your car to get you through the winter, you should definitely remove them once the winter weather has ended as the wider tires will generally reduce your gas mileage.
  • Check and change worn spark plugs often. A dirty spark plug or one that is badly worn will cause your car to misfire and waste fuel. Every time you get your oil changed you should have the service technicians check your spark plugs to make sure that they are clean and firing correctly.
  • Maintain your air filter. Just like worn spark plugs, a dirty or clogged air filter will inhibit air from getting to your engine and waste fuel as well as reduce engine power. Simply replacing a clogged air filter has been shown to improve a car’s MPG by nearly 10%. One thing to keep in mind however is that newer vehicles with fuel injection that is computer-controlled will have sensors to automatically adjust for the amount of air that’s reaching the engine.
  • Make sure your oxygen sensor is functioning correctly. If it’s worn or not operating, you may well see a decrease in nearly 3 miles for every gallon of gas you use.
  • Change your motor oil regularly and use the best for your type of driving. Your automobile technician will be able to help you with knowing the proper oil to use but, suffice to say, changing your oil regularly is very important if you want to save money on gas.

Fuel saving myths to ignore and avoid.

1.      Myth. It’s best to fill up your car in the morning, especially during hot weather. The fact is, since most gasoline is kept in large, underground tanks its temperature is fairly constant as well as its expansion. Filling up in the morning, afternoon or evening will not affect the amount of gasoline that you get.

2.      Myth. High octane fuel will always provide better MPG. The fact on this one is simple; today’s modern vehicles allow their engines to run on octane levels that are lower than premium without any harm to the car’s engine or reduction in mileage. Unless you have a high-end sports car or luxury car, regular gas is just fine and will save you up to 30% off of the cost of premium.

3.      Myth. All gas from all gas stations is exactly the same. In most cases this would be a true statement except for a type of fuel called ‘slop’. Slop is a combination of different fuel types that’s created after fuel is transported in the same pipeline, including gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and more. It’s considered a much lower grade of fuel and sold to discount gas stations. If you purchase premium from these stations you’re getting nothing of the sort and even regular might not be as good as the regular at a name brand station.

4.      Myth. Fuel additives can improve your car’s fuel economy. While these additives, including octane boosters, fuel line antifreeze and others, may indeed improve your vehicle’s performance, there are no studies,  whether performed independently or by the EPA, that have ever shown them to improve fuel economy.

We hope that these tips and myths about fuel economy will help you to save a few bucks the next time you fill up. If you have any questions about fuel economy, personal finances or other financial topics, please let us know and we’ll get back to you with options and answers.

What’s the deal with fuel efficient, low rolling resistance tires anyway?

Fuel-efficient tires aren’t new to the market to be sure but, as far as being able to purchase them at your local tire shop, they are definitely something new. The reason that they are new to tire shops is easy to explain as well as rather interesting; while automobile manufacturers have long been installing fuel-efficient tires on their new cars, replacing those tires when they are worn out with the same fuel-efficient tires hasn’t been possible until recently because tire shops simply didn’t sell them.  Anyone looking to purchase the same, exact tires that came stock with their automobile were out of luck and forced to purchase tires that, while okay, certainly weren’t as good as the tires that came stock.

That’s recently changed however as tire manufacturers have realized that, in order to increase their gas mileage, consumers all over the country have  become keenly interested in purchasing fuel-efficient tires in order to reduce their gas consumption as much as possible.  That realization caused tire manufacturers to start offering low rolling resistance tires in tire shops all across the country.

A fuel-efficient tire is simply a tire that has the aforementioned low rolling resistance, a forced that can be measured at the car’s axle in the direction that the car’s traveling. The less force that tire requires to roll forward the better, and fuel-efficient tires basically have much lower rolling resistance than many of the tires previously found in tire shops. Low resistance tires have been designed using powerful programs that have given them new types of tread design and they’re being made with newer materials that help your automobile to minimize the amount of energy that it needs to move itself forward, thus lowering the amount of gas your automobile uses.

Fuel-efficient tires will definitely cost you a little bit more than standard tires but, when you consider that they can reduce the amount of gasoline that your car needs by up to 10%, the savings alone could add up to enough that it pays for the extra cost of the better tires. Since the average set of tires will last about three years, that’s at least a full two years benefit that you get from the tires once they have been paid off.

A recent report released by the National Research Council showed that, by reducing rolling resistance by 10%, you could increase a car’s fuel economy by 1.5% during city driving and just over 2% while driving on the highway. Depending on how much you drive that could actually mean a substantial yearly savings on gasoline.

To take advantage of these gas improving facts, tire manufacturers like Cooper, Michelin, Goodyear and Continental all are now offering low rolling resistance tires in tire shops far and wide. While the savings in gasoline might not be tremendous, if you combine low rolling resistance tires with hypermiling techniques, a smaller, more fuel-efficient automobile and less frequent use of your auto, the overall savings could be substantial.

So, if your car’s tires are in need of replacement and you’re keen on keeping your cost at the gas pump as low as possible, purchasing low rolling resistance tires to replace your old, worn-out tires is certainly a great idea if you have questions about increasing your car’s fuel economy or you’d like to leave a comment about this blog, please do and we promise we’ll respond to it ASAP.

Summer Gas Saving Tips Part 3

Welcome back for the third and final part of our 3-part blog series on summer gas saving tips. We hope that you’ve enjoyed the series so far and that some of the tips that we have brought you have already started helping you to increase your MPG, lower that sting at the pump and have a great first week of summer. So without further prattling, here’s part 3. Enjoy

Before you pack up the car and the kids to go to a specific stop, shop, business or restaurant, make sure that you know the hours that they’re open. There are few things worse than making a long drive crammed in the car with a bunch of excited kids only to find out that it’s closed when you arrive. (Trust us, we know.) Do yourself a favor and call ahead to wherever it is that you want to go and save yourself a lot of gas and a big headache.

Most newer smart phones have a GPS navigation system built-in, something that you should definitely use if you’re going somewhere for the first time or somewhere off the beaten path. If you don’t have a GPS system, make sure that you either have directions that are well written or a map of your destination. Remember how we said that getting somewhere and it being closed was the worst thing that could happen? Going somewhere and getting lost four hours (or days!) along the way is almost as bad.

If you’re going to be making a large purchase, like a new car, appliance, furniture and so forth, do as much research online as you can before getting in the car. You may very well find the best price ahead of time and only have to go to one store or one dealership rather than several, saving time and gas in the process. Even better, there are several apps available that will tell you exactly where the best price to be found on your particular item is located. In many cases, it may be through an online retailer, eliminating the need to use your car at all.

Many of your local businesses have inexpensive or free delivery services. When possible, you can let them do the driving while you relax at home, saving wear and tear on your car and gasoline at the same time

Unless you have to be somewhere at a specific time, try to avoid driving during peak hours, when the chances that you will get stuck in traffic are much greater. This will save you gas and also a lot of frustration.

If you have several errands that you need to do, or several places to bring the kids, try and do them all in one big trip rather than making several smaller trips. If you’re going to do this, think about where you need to go ahead of time so that you can also plan out the best, shortest route.

Since the kids are out of school and have tons of pent-up energy, if you have biking trails or safe biking routes in your town it’s definitely the time to use them. If it’s safe for you to accompany your children on bicycles to local stores and shops even better.

If the only car that you have is a large SUV or truck you may wish to consider renting a smaller vehicle if you’re going on a long trip. Unless you actually need the space, a smaller car will almost always get better gas mileage and may even save you enough to actually pay for the cost of the rental car itself.

Carpooling is one of the oldest money-saving tips there is but here’s a new take on it; moms carpooling with the kids. If, for example, you and your neighbor were both planning on going to the local water park, you could drive together, have a nice conversation along the way and save a little bit of gas in the process.

Unless you are using them almost every day, get rid of any bicycle racks or luggage racks that you have on the roof and even on the trunk of your vehicle. These can cause a tremendous amount of extra drag and actually decrease mileage by up to 5%.

In some areas of the country where there is a lot of snow, people place bricks or bags of sand in their cars for better traction. Well, it’s summer now, so get rid of that extra weight as well as any other stuff that you have in your car. The lighter your car ways, the less gas that will use, it’s just that simple.

When starting your car, especially in the summer when it’s hot, make sure that all of your electric devices are turned off, like the radio, air-conditioning, cell phones and so forth. This puts less of a strain on your engine and thus causes it to use less gas.

While the joy of having a sunroof or a rag top are great, realize that having either one open is going to cause a lot more drag and use more gasoline.

With that we’d like to wish everyone a happy summer and safe driving. We hope that these tips have been useful and that will save you lots of money, headaches and of course gasoline all summer long. Make sure to come back and visit us again soon for more tips, advice and ideas about all subjects financial. See you then.

Summer Gas Saving Tips Part 2

Hello and welcome back for part 2 of our 3-part gas saving tips blog series. Many of the tips that we talked about in part 1 should already have helped you to save a little bit of money on gas, increase your MPG and get your car into tiptop shape for all the summer driving to come. We hope that you found some of them useful and that you will find some of these next tips useful as well. Enjoy.

Avoid overusing your brakes at stops. This ‘hard stopping’ not only wears down your breaks faster but also means that you’re using more gas than necessary when instead you should be using your car’s forward momentum. You’ve already used gas getting your car up to speed and, especially when you’re in stop and go traffic, let the force that you’ve already paid for move your car along rather than giving more gas and hitting the brakes more often.

Many people have a bad habit of using their left foot to ride the brake pedal, especially when they are in stop and go traffic. Like the tip above, riding your brakes is extremely damaging, a waste of gas and actually a dangerous way to drive. At driving schools everywhere they teach people to only use their right foot when driving. The reason; it safer.

Not paying attention to the road is not only dangerous but, because most people will tend to weave more, they’re using more gas. These days everyone is being told not to text, not to talk on the phone (not to do their nails) and other activities while driving because it’s dangerous. Knowing that it will also cost you more gas, you have more reasons than ever to pay attention when you’re on the road.

The tendency to accelerate when going up a hill is very common but it also uses quite a bit more gas. The best way to get over a hill, unless it’s extremely steep, is to build up speed as you approach it, maintain your speed on the way up and then save even more gas by coasting on the way down.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, and the majority do, make a habit of checking local traffic reports either before you leave or while you’re on the road. This will allow you to change your route (or change your plans) so that you don’t have to sit in traffic hours, wasting time and gasoline.

Here’s one that you might have heard before. (And if you haven’t, turning your driver’s license right now!) Accelerate from a stop at a moderate and even pace. In other words, jackrabbit starts are a no-no. Be aware that accelerating too slowly can be a problem as well because your engine is in a lower gear and using more gasoline to push your car forward.

When driving around town, try and stay below 40 mph as, above this speed, the amount of wind resistance that your car will be facing increases tremendously and, when that happens, your MPG decreases. In most metro areas, unless you’re on the highway, driving 40 on a major road should be fine.

If you’re going to be making a stop for more than 30 seconds, turn off your car completely. This has two benefits; you’ll save gas and save the planet. We can’t think of two reasons any better than those.

If you’re driving about 45 mph you should definitely close the windows completely, or open them only slightly because the extra drag this causes can reduce your mileage by over 10%. Depending on where you live and the type of weather that you get, using the air-conditioning may actually be more economical than leaving the windows down.

Using your cruise control as often as possible is an excellent way to reduce your car’s gas consumption and also reduce the amount of traffic tickets that you get. A great habit is to simply accelerate up to the posted speed limit and, at 1 or 2 mph over it, set your cruise control. Your car is much better equipped than you to drive at a stable speed and save you money and you’ll eliminate the chance that ‘Papa Bear’ will jump out of the woods with an expensive speeding ticket. (Darn bears.)

We hope that you agree that those are some excellent tips. Most of them you can start using right away and start saving right away as well. Make sure to come back and join us for part three very soon. See you then.

Summer Gas Saving Tips Part 1

Wit summer time finally here many people are planning on picking up the car and going on a long vacation. Of course, with gas prices extremely high those same people are looking for ways to save money and reduce gasoline costs as much as possible. With that in mind with put together a three-part series of blogs on some of the best gas saving tips that we know of. Enjoy and have an excellent vacation!

Here are a few questions that you need to answer before you even start your car’s engine.

  1. When was the last time you had your car tuned? A car that’s out of tune can use up to 20% more fuel so make sure that, before you head out on the road to Disneyland, the Grand Canyon or wherever else your summer travel plans may take you, you bring your car in to your local garage and have them check everything out.
  2. When your car is being tuned, ask your mechanic to check for problems with your suspension, your chassis and your front end alignment. Shocks that are old and worn, broken springs, wheels or axles and other problems such as these cannot only cause your car to be unsafe at high speeds but will also cause it to use more gasoline.
  3. Your car’s air filter is incredibly vital not only to the health of the car itself but also to the amount of gasoline that you use. If it’s clogged with bugs, dust dirt and other debris it will cause your engine to work much harder and lower your fuel-efficient efficiency. Having it checked and, if needed, replaced before you leave is an excellent idea.
  4. In many cases you can improve your cars mpg by improving the type of motor oil that you’re using. When you’re having your car serviced ask your mechanic what type of oil is best for the type of car that you have, this can actually save you upwards of 5% on your fuel usage.
  5. Summer means long, hot days and, if your car is going to be sitting in the sun, you’re going to use a lot more energy when you get in and start up your air-conditioning. With that in mind it’s a good idea to get a windshield shade to help block out some of that sun, reduce the heat in your car and reduce the amount of air-conditioning that you need.
  6. Many people fill their car’s gas tank to the very top but not only is this not a good idea, you can waste fuel from spillage and the extra weight will lower your MPG. Better to fill it halfway or three quarters and make a couple of extra stops along the way. (The kids are going to need the bathroom breaks anyway.)
  7. Unless your cards manufacturer recommends something higher, use regular octane gasoline and save money.
  8. After selling your car’s tank, it’s vital that you make sure that the gas Is tightened correctly so that gas won’t evaporate or spill. Indeed, loose, damaged or missing gas caps are to blame for the loss of literally millions of gallons of gasoline every year.
  9. Waiting until your car’s gas tank is almost empty to fill it again is an excellent idea as you’re going to be hauling a lighter load and extending your MPG. Many people believe that this is an unwise choice as sediment in your tank may get sucked into your fuel intake system and damage your car’s engine. Unless your car is extremely old the chance of this happening is practically nil.
  10. There are plenty of gas stations that offer credit cards with rewards as well as some department and grocery stores. If you don’t have one, and you’re the type of person that pays off their credit cards every month in full, you may wish to consider getting one and saving a few extra pennies per gallon.
  11. If you’re the type of person that always goes for the best brands, you may wish to change your habits when it comes to purchasing gasoline. The fact is, all of them use the same refineries, the same trucks and the same pipelines to produce and transport their product. When it comes to gasoline, find the cheapest gas station and by your guest there.
  12. Never buy your gasoline from a gas station that is located right along the highway. Travel a few extra miles into town and you’ll find that the gas there is usually 10 to 12% cheaper.
  13. On the other hand, if you are in the city (any city) and your need of gas, purchasing it from the nearest gas station is your best bet as driving around in stop and go traffic will certainly negate any savings that you might have by finding a station that’s a little bit cheaper.

We hope that you enjoyed part one of our three-part blog series on gas saving tips. Using these tips will definitely save you a good bit of gas and money and, when you have a moment, coming back for part two and part three will save you even more. See you then.

What are engine stop-start systems and do they work?

Although practically impossible to calculate exactly, literally millions of gallons of gasoline are wasted every year due to one thing; idling cars. Not only do we waste an immense amount of gasoline while we’re stopped at traffic lights or stop signs but we’re also putting a ton of extra emissions into the air. Suffice to say that experts have been trying to figure out a way around both of these problems for quite a few years and, with the new stand-alone engine stop-start systems that are now being used in some new cars, they have gotten us a step closer.

The new system actually shuts down a car’s engine when it comes to idle and, as soon as the driver hits the accelerator or lifts their foot off the brake or clutch, it immediately starts the engine back up. It’s not exactly a new technology, to be sure, as it can be found in practically every conventional hybrid automobile on the market, but it is new to conventional cars. The new system is slowly beginning to appear and, by 2015, experts predict that 40% of all cars and light trucks sold in the United States will be equipped with a stop-start system.

The main objective is to cut down on wasted gas, obviously. As it stands, the new systems can reduce gas consumption by approximately 3 to 10%. The reason is that they eliminate idling, something that as mentioned before wastes an immense amount of gasoline. These systems deliver their best fuel economy improvements when they’re used in city driving situations that involve a high amount of stopping and starting. The good news is that it seems they can do it for a relatively low cost.

For example, Ford Motor Company is now offering its first stand-alone stop-start system at a price of just under $300. When you consider that a fully functional hybrid system can tack on up to $6000 to the price of a car, you can see why there are many advocates of this new system.

In real-world numbers a $300. stop-start system investment would pay for itself in approximately 3 years. There are a number of $300 systems that are touting 10% fuel economy boosts, a difference that means the system would pay for itself in approximately 13 months if you take into account gas being $4.00 a gallon.

The new stop-start systems are run by a computer program of course but the driver, and the way they use their accelerator and brake pedals, determine how they function. When a person depresses their brake pedal it sends a signal to the computer program and its engine controller. As soon as a car comes to a complete stop this controller will shut the engine off as well as pre-positioning the starter motor, transmission and also the fuel injection system so that, when the driver releases the break or presses the accelerator, the engine’s ready to instantaneously restart. This usually happens within less than half a second.

There are a number of downsides to be found with the new system however. For example, when most car’s engines turn off the air conditioning and or the heating system stop functioning as well because they need a lot of electricity. When the car’s engine is off it doesn’t generate sufficient power to keep them going. Some drivers also find it a little bit disconcerting that the engine turns off every time they stop.

There have also been some complaints, especially about the system from BMW, that they cause unexpected starts and stops when the engine starts and stops. It’s for this reason that many stand-alone stop-start systems come with the ability to be turned off and on at will by the driver.

As with all technology this newest automobile technology will certainly need to be refined and all the bugs sorted out. That’s good because it’s is estimated that, by 2020, 10 million new cars per year are going to be made using the new system. Even though it might not be perfect yet, the fact is that these new start-stop systems may well save billions of gallons of gasoline a year as well as helping to greatly reduce damaging automobile exhaust emissions. No matter how you slice it, that’s pretty good news.

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