How to Increase your Fuel Economy – Part 1 of 3

With gas prices rising to nearly $4.00 a gallon in most states many people are wondering what they can do to increase their car’s fuel economy and get more miles out of every gallon.  The good news is that there are plenty of ways to do it that are relatively easy to implement and can save up to 20%, which can go a long way to making those fill-ups less painful.

One of the best ways to get great fuel economy is to purchase a fuel efficient car. Of course if your current car is in excellent condition this might not be the way to go but if you’re in the market for a new car anyway it’s the best way to lower your gasoline bills.

Maintaining your car properly is at the top of this list because it’s vitally important if you want to lower gas consumption and keep the car for as long as possible.  Change the oil on time and get a tune up regularly.

Don’t purchase ‘gas saving’ additives. The Federal Trade Commission says that most are phony and a waste of money.  Even if you buy the few that do work the savings are minimal.

Underinflated tires can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 25%!  Check them every time you fill up and keep them aligned too. It’s easy and will save you a bundle.

Use an App like GasBuddy to find the best gas prices in your town.  They’re simple to use and can save you up to 10%. (Just don’t drive an extra 20 miles to save 2 cents.)

If you’re a member of a wholesale club like Costco buy your fuel from them and save up to 10 cents per gallon.  Membership has its privileges, right?  When you’re there buying a pallet full of breakfast cereal make sure to fill up the tank and save.

Avoid rush hour!  If you can arrange it try going in later or earlier to work to avoid the rush and stop wasting your precious fuel sitting still in traffic.

Those are a few of the easiest ways to save at the pump.  Make sure you come back for Part 2 and some more excellent Tips on increasing your fuel economy and saving money on gas.

 

Save Time and Money with Fuel Efficiency

 

It seems that every day, when you pass the gas station, the cost of fuel is rising. Even with the introduction of hybrid cars and better ways to fuel our cars, gas is still a necessity, and finding room in your budget for that weekly fill-up is probably becoming a strain. However, there are ways to become more fuel efficient, and all of these techniques for saving and using your gas most efficiently are very simple to employ. We all want to save money when it comes to filling up our cars and making it last as long as possible, and the following tips will help you do just that.

 

One of best ways to employ fuel efficiency for your car is to keep it running in great shape. Investing in tune ups for your car’s engine and buying fuel injector cleaner will keep you from wasting gas because the harder your engine has to work, the more gas you will use. By getting a tune up once every few months, your car’s engine will burn fuel more efficiently and produce less exhaust, which also helps the environment at the same time. In addition, buying a bottle of fuel injector cleaner to add to your tank each time you fill up will keep your fuel injectors clean, which means you will save more gas when you accelerate, as the engine will receive the fuel more quickly and efficiently. You can also help your car be more fuel efficient by filling up your tank each week. By filling up completely, your car’s gas tank will use the fuel more efficiently because it will not have to work as hard to draw the gas from the tank. Not only that, but if the tank is full, the fuel injectors will stay cleaner by using pure gas instead of sucking up the sludge that can build up on the bottom of the tank, which will clog the injectors and cause you to use more fuel. Understanding fuel efficiency will not only put less of a dent in your wallet, but it will help your car to run more smoothly and benefit the environment as well.

 

A Quick Guide to Saving Gas Money

 

The volatile nature of gas prices makes many car owners squeamish, as one day of cheap gas may turn more expensive after a particular amount of time. This nature leaves many wondering about the true culprit affecting the price of gasoline in the United States.

 

The price of gas is mainly affected by crude oil, the substance that produces gasoline as a product. Crude oil prices are affected by supply and demand, with the demand factor pushing the price of crude oil high. The supply factors actually contributes to the lowering of crude oil prices, which in turn, lowers the price of gas.

 

Other factors that affect gas prices include:

 

  • Profits and costs from gasoline refining.

 

  • Profits and costs from marketing and distribution.

 

  • Taxes.

 

Most car owners should know how to properly take care of their cars before filling up their car’s gas tank. Some of these basic saving on gas money tips include:

 

Filling Your Tank: Filling your tank to full may reduce the amount of money you spend each day. The difference from filling your gas tank partway one day and full the next can cost a lot if you’re not careful. Remember to avoid “topping up” your tank between tank fills and wait to refill after your tank reaches just a quarter full—avoid quarter filled tanks in cold weather to prevent condensation.

 

Tune Up Your Car: A well maintained and tuned car will use less gasoline throughout the week than one doesn’t. In fact, it’s been said that a car without proper maintenance and tuning uses more than 20% gasoline throughout the week. You can also exercise maintaining your car by not keeping it running while it’s in an idle state. Much like tuning and performing general maintenance on your car, turning your car off when it’s idle saves gasoline and gas money.

 

Drive Safely, Responsibly and Efficiently: It’s always recommended to drive safely on the road. Driving in an aggressive manner is very unsafe and may also waste gas. Efficient driving involves planning your trips in advance, using different driving techniques to make driving more efficient and even combining trips to any given place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Save on Gas Money

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 1:  The sign...

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 1: The sign for a BP filling station in Westminster on February 1, 2011 in London, England. BP has reported a loss for 2010 of 3.1bn GBP, this is the first time the oil giant has made an annual loss since 1992. This compares with a profit of 8.6bn GBP for BP in 2009. The dramatic difference can be largely attributed to the 25.3bn GBP set aside by the company for charges relation to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Many people don’t think there is any way to save on gas for their car, as they believe that the price of gas is out of their control. While that may be true, there are still plenty of ways to save on your gasoline bills. Some are easy, some make sense and some might surprise you, but all will make you happier when you see those savings at the end of the month.

Purchase your gas in the morning or late in the evening when it is the coolest.  As crazy as this sounds the cooler it is the more gas you get when you buy. The reason is you’re charged by volume and when its cooler gas takes up less volume and you get more in your tank.

Get an app for finding the cheapest gas stations, like Gas Buddy.  It’s free, updated hourly and will give you the locations of all the stations closest to you so you can go where the price is best.

Avoid overfilling your tank. Amazingly if you fill your tank too high the gas can actually slosh around and out of your tank while you drive. When the pump clicks the first time, stop pumping.

Your car does not need to be warmed up for a long time to function correctly. This wastes a lot of gas. Indeed less than a minute is perfectly fine.

When you stop for more than 30 seconds turn off the engine.  Idling for a minute uses the same amount of gas as starting the engine, and idling for 5 minutes or more can actually use more than a quarter gallon of gas.

Driving at 55 will actually save you money if you can deal with the nasty stares.  Just drive in the slow lane please.

Use the AC at higher speeds. It will save you more money than opening the windows due to wind resistance.

Using these few tips can actually save you up to 10% on gas and, if you travel a lot, that can add up to a lot of money fast. Use them and watch the gas savings start to pile up. (Pun intended.)

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Is the Federal Fuel Tax About to be Cut?

It what will amount to an absolutely asinine and incredibly stupid move should it happen, some members of Congress may oppose the renewal of the federal gasoline and diesel fuel tax when it is set to expire this fall. This tax generates revenue which is used to keep our highways from falling apart.

Considering our nation’s infrastructure is crumbling, now seems like the perfect time to pull the plug on the tax, right?

In an article published on CNN Money entitled “Gas Tax May Be Next Tea Party Target,” author Steve Hargreaves discusses what exactly is at stake:

A bill was recently introduced by Senate Republicans that would allow states to opt out of the federal highway program. The highway program uses $32 billion each year collected by the gas tax, plus a handful of smaller fees and some borrowing to distribute some $50 billion a year to the states for road construction, maintenance and mass transit projects.

That represents about 28% of all road and transit spending nationwide, with the rest coming from states or towns in the form of tolls, registration and user fees, state gas taxes or their general funds.

The argument for cutting the federal tax is that highways would be better served by state and local governments, which could raise their fuel taxes, should they choose.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for states’ rights and less Federal oversight, but at a time when state and local governments are running massive deficits and having to slash their budgets left and right, is this really the time to put the burden of the nation’s highway system on them?

My fear is that the gas taxes would go up at the state level, only to fund non-highway and transportation projects, leaving us with even worse road than we already have.

Besides, as most of you know, I want the Federal gas tax raised as a means of forcing people to change their driving habits and for the government to use the proceeds to invest in renewable energy development. (Yes, I know that’s a contradiction to my less Federal oversight comment. Deal with it.)

Anyway, tell me your thoughts on this. Good idea? Bad idea? Leave a comment below and, as always, please share this post using the social bookmarking buttons – especially Facebook and Twitter.

How the New Fuel Economy Standards Could Kill The Economy

I’ll be upfront with this, I don’t believe that the White House’s soon to be proposed higher fuel economy standards are going to kill the economy. I just don’t think it’s realistic. In fact, I tend to be on the other side of the argument and believe the new standards would create jobs, largely due to more people around the world 1) owning cars and 2) wanting more fuel efficient vehicles.

Just think, if America led the way in fuel efficient vehicle production, how in the world could that be a job killer?

In an article entitled “Obama’s Fuel Economy Standards Threaten the Economy,” Peter Roff of U.S. News states the proposed fuel economy standards would kill jobs and hurt the economy:

Thanks to Obama, the U.S. government now has three agencies–the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board–involved in the effort to improve through mandates the fuel economy of U.S. passenger vehicles.

Before 2009, when the current administration added EPA and CARB to the mix, the issue was more or less the sole province of NHTSA.

Why the change? Under the old rules Congress required NHTSA to consider what an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standard would do to jobs and to the affordability and safety of vehicles in the U.S. passenger fleet. EPA and CARB are bound by no such rules; indeed CARB, as a state agency, is largely outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress–which is probably why EPA and CARB are the ones drafting the next round of fuel economy regulations.

Federal regulators at the EPA, working with their counterparts in Sacramento at CARB, are trying to get around Congress in an effort to mandate that the CAFE standard be bumped all the way up to 56 miles per gallon for model years 2017 to 2025, a move that is certain to batter the already teetering U.S. auto industry even further while making cars less safe and more expensive.

(If you’ll look at Roff’s bio, you’ll see he’s a contributor to Fox News, which may explain his slant on things.)

I don’t think Obama included the EPA and the CARB as a means of thwarting the EPA’s authority regarding fuel economy. If you look at Obama as a person, he’s much more of a collaborator, so it makes sense that he would bring these three like-minded agencies together in order to solve this problem.

Also, I would like proof that raising fuel economy standards over the next 15 years is going to “batter the already teetering U.S. auto industry.” As I stated before, I tend to think the improved fuel economy standards would do the opposite. Then again, what do I know, I’m just a blogger.

What do you think? Would the new fuel economy standards kill the economy and auto industry? Leave your thoughts below and, as always, please share this post using the social bookmarking buttons below – especially Facebook and Twitter!

Ads Against Raising Fuel Economy Standards Scrapped

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If the White House has its way, the fuel economy estimates will be much higher by 2025. Image via Wikipedia

After several days of posturing and, quite frankly, whining about the Obama administration’s proposed new fuel economy standards, the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures has decided not to air its radio campaign aimed at getting the public behind less substantial fuel economy increases.

(Just a note in case you didn’t know – the new standards, which were to be reached by 2025, pushed CAFE standards to 56.2 miles per gallon, nearly double today’s current fuel economy. Seems to me if we can put a man on the moon we can figure out how to get the average vehicle’s fuel economy up to 56.2 mpg!)

In an article fittingly entitled “Automakers Scrap Fuel Economy Ad Campaign” published on DetNews.com, David Shepardson writes that the ads were scrapped because, more or less, the AAM is still trying to negotiate lower standards with the White House:

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers — the trade association representing Detroit’s Big Three, Toyota Motor Corp. and eight others — has canceled a two-week radio campaign planned for 14 states to urge the administration to back “attainable” fuel efficiency standards.

Late Wednesday, the group held a conference call and opted not to run the ads as talks between the Obama administration automakers over the 2017-25 fuel efficiency standards continue.

It seems the original intent of the ad campaign was to show the hardships these new standards would impose on car makers like Ford, Chrysler, General Motors, and Toyota:

“After tough times, today’s auto industry is on the road to economic recovery. But an upcoming decision threatens that progress,” says the ad, obtained by The Detroit News on Friday.

The ad warned that if fuel economy standards were doubled, “families would be hit with higher car prices. Small businesses dependent on vans, SUVs or pickups would face limited vehicle choice.”

So, I wonder what the AAM would think of my proposal: double the current CAFE standards by 2025 and raise the gas tax incrementally by 25 cents per gallon a year over the next eight years.

Maybe if you pass this article around and make it go viral, you’ll hear a radio campaign aimed at shutting me up!

What do you think about either proposal? Leave your comments below and please share this article using the social sharing buttons below – especially Facebook and Twitter!

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Michigan Lawmakers Prepare to Fight Possible Proposed Fuel Economy Standards

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Why can't we seem to figure out this gas mileage stuff?

Despite having a large portion of their state’s economy saved by the Federal Government’s auto bailouts, lawmakers in Michigan are preparing to express concerns and discontent over the White House’s rumored new fuel economy standards.  In case you’re not already aware, it is believed the White House will push CAFE standards to 56.2 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025, nearly doubling today’s standards.

In an article entitled “Michigan Lawmakers Prepare Letter on Fuel Economy Rules”, published in the Detroit Free Press, Aaron M. Kessler writes:

It currently remains unclear whether the letter will specifically take on the 56 m.p.g. target by 2025 that the White House wants, or raise more generalized concerns.

As the Free Press reported Tuesday, Michigan’s congressional delegation gathered this morning to decide whether to publicly join the fuel economy debate. Michigan’s members of Congress had mostly remained silent in public as the negotiations have continued in recent weeks.

While this article seems to be rather ambiguous, if you read between the lines it’s obvious to see that the Michigan lawmakers will oppose the large raise in fuel economy standards, mostly because they will be inconvenient to some of the largest businesses in Michigan.

You see, state and local governments are not immune to being “persuaded” (read: in bed with) corporations, and will do whatever is in the company’s best interest.

Despite the fact I believe simply raising the fuel tax would achieve a greater reduction in fuel consumption, I’m still all for raising fuel economy standards.  Unfortunately, it appears that Michigan lawmakers will take the stance of going with neither.

What are your thoughts?  Should Michigan lawmakers oppose?  Are you tired of our governments putting the best interests of corporations first?  Leave your comments below or share this post via the social sharing buttons – especially Facebook and Twitter.

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Fuel Economy vs. Fuel Taxes – Which Will Do More?

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Which is better, higher fuel economy or higher fuel taxes? Image via Wikipedia

Here’s an interesting question: which is more likely to make you use less fuel, forcing you to buy a more fuel efficient vehicle or forcing you to pay a much, much higher fuel tax?

This is sort of a relevant question because there is news that the Obama administration is considering raising fuel economy standards for all cars and trucks sold in the U.S. to 56.2 miles per gallon by the year 2025:

The Obama administration is considering a fleetwide average of 56.2 miles per gallon for all new cars and trucks sold in the US by 2025, The Wall Street Journal reported late Saturday citing two people briefed on the matter said.

The proposal would roughly double current fuel-economy targets, and would likely raise the price of some cars by several thousand dollars.

Read more of this Fox News article by clicking here.

2025 is certainly a long way off, these new standards are certainly worth debating in the meantime.

While I think most of us would be willing to argue that reducing fuel consumption is certainly something we need to do, there are arguments that simply raising fuel economy standards isn’t the best way to go about it.

In an interesting article entitled Fuel Taxes vs Fuel Economy: Are Stricter Fuel Economy Standards a Good Idea? by Ed Dolan (published on OilPrice.com), it is argued that raising fuel economy standards tackles only a small portion of the problem:

The problem with higher CAFE standards is that they encourage fuel saving only with regard to the choice of what car to buy. Once a consumer buys a low-mileage vehicle, the cost of driving and extra mile goes down, thereby reducing the incentive for fuel-saving measures like moving closer to work, working at home, riding the bus to work, or consolidating errands.

The very fuel-saving strategies that CAFE standards discourage, like moving closer to work or consolidating errands, are often the ones that have the lowest costs. That is why the total cost of reaching a given national fuel-saving target will be greater when achieved through CAFE standards than when induced by an increase in fuel taxes.

If you’re a fan of economics, studies in spending habits, or just interested in the topic, I highly recommend you read the article in its entirety.

Anyway, in looking at this side of the argument, I think I would have to agree with Dolan.  Think about it, in order to get the biggest environmental bang for the buck you need to fundamentally change people’s driving habits.  You’re not going to do that by increasing fuel economy standards.  That’s painless.

The only way you’re really going to invoke substantial change is to cause pain, particularly pain in the wallet.  That’s why a dramatic increase in the fuel tax would mass a larger reduction in fuel usage and pollution than simply raising fuel economy standards.

Yes, I realize this is a so-called “regressive tax” meaning it affects the poor far more than the wealthy, but, as heartless as it sounds, I don’t think that should stop politicians from moving forward with a fuel tax increase.

What do you think?  Which is more apt to bring bigger changes?  Leave a comment below and be sure to spread the word using the social buttons below.

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Government to Allow Automakers Fuel Economy Loophole on Trucks and SUVs

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The White House is thinking of letting trucks and SUVs meet their own fuel economy standardsImage via Wikipedia

Remember way back when the Federal Government was pushing extremely hard and aggressive fuel efficiency standards on automakers? Environmentalists and consumers alike generally liked the new standards, and saw them as a big step forward.

Unfortunately, as is standard in Washington, there has been some reneging.

According to an article by Josh Mitchell and Sharon Terlep in the Wall Street Journal, White House officials are allowing auto makers to somewhat circumvent the fuel economy standards:

The White House is ready to let auto makers improve the future fuel efficiency of pickups and sport utility vehicles at a slower pace than passenger cars, say people familiar with the matter, a move that would benefit Detroit manufacturers.

Officials are scrambling to reach by early next week a broad agreement on a mileage target by 2025 of 56 miles a gallon, roughly double the current level. The concession is an effort by the White House to overcome broad opposition to the mileage figure by auto makers, including General Motors Co., which is still partially owned by the U.S.

While it may appear that the U.S. Government is doing automakers a favor, Roland Hwang, in an article entitled Light Truck Loophole Bad for Pickup Drivers, Oil Dependency and Pollution, says it may actually do automakers more harm than good:

While the U.S. automakers may complain that equal treatment for light trucks is bad for their profits, the opposite is true. By allowing big pickups and other light trucks to lag behind, the Detroit 3 run the risk of falling back into the bad habit that lead them to their downfall — becoming too dependent on fuel-inefficient vehicles.

Ford’s F-150 Ecoboost engine demonstrates that even big pickups can be more fuel efficient. The 40 percent purchase rate for the F-150 Ecoboost demonstrates that pickup buyers are willing to pay more to cut their gas bills. In fact, since light trucks generally lag behind the technology of their gasoline counterparts, these vehicles can improve at an even faster rate.

Equal treatment for light trucks makes sense. It will save truck driver thousands of dollars over the life of their trucks, cut our dependency on oil, and ensure the U.S. automakers don’t fall back into their bad habits.

I can definitely see both sides of the issue, however, I have to side with Hwang. I think it is best to hold automakers’ entire fleet accountable to the new fuel economy standards, not just vehicles that are more apt to meet the standards. Oil and gasoline are only going to get more expensive, so the less we can use the better, both in terms of the environment and our bank accounts.

What do you think? Leave your comments below!

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