Getting More From Your Gas Tank Published by Jonah Jones at Smashwords Copyright ÂŠ 2013 by Michael Jones All rights reserved. All brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks, or trade names of their respective holders. We are not associated with any product or vendor in this book. First edition Disclaimer: This book is published for the purpose of general reference only and is not intended to be taken in as a substitution for independent verification by the reader. Although the author has made every effort to ensure that all the information contained in these pages was 100% accurate at the time of publishing, the author does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result for negligence, accident, or any other cause.
Table of Contents The Shortest Introduction Myths About Fuel Economy Ways to Cut Down on Your Gas Consumption Shaving a Few Cents off of Each Gallon Two Extra Tools Conclusion
The Shortest Introduction “Oh, here we go again. The same stupid, over-given advice on how to save gas. Like ‘Don’t drive aggressively!’ ‘No Jack-rabbit starts!’ or even ‘Drive less!’ I’ve heard it all before! Tell me something new for goodness sake!” And we will! I, frankly, am tired or the same old advice from people trying to pose as “experts.” If they were experts, they’d tell you something you haven’t heard before and show you something so new that it makes you think in a different way. That’s all I really have to say in this introduction. I know I don’t need to tell you why it’s important to save gas. You already know it’s expensive. We hate having our time wasted and refuse to waste yours. Let’s get into it.
Myths About Fuel Economy You have to drive a small car to get good fuel economy. Back in the old days this was true. But now we have more advanced technology like direct fuel injection, engine turbo-charging, aerodynamic body designs (except for the Honda Element) and low rolling resistance tires. These allow even bigger vehicles to get good gas mileage. In fact, almost half of the top ten fuel efficient vehicles are big cars. Manual transmissions always get better fuel economy than automatics. Again, the cars have gotten better. Now days, the automatic transmission can be just as good or even better than the manual as far as fuel economy goes. If you’re considering buying a vehicle that is offered in both manual and automatic models, this website will help you find out which one is better on gas. It takes more fuel to start a vehicle than it does to let it idle. This was a concern that manufacturers learned to address. Modern vehicles have fuel injected engines that will start more efficiently. Idling, however, can burn up a whole gallon of fuel in just two hours. That boils down to 2 cents a minute. So unless you’re waiting at a traffic light, or in traffic in general, it’s best to just turn off your engine. So long as you know that you won’t need to start it back up soon, because restarting too frequently can wear out the starter. Vehicles need to have warm-up time before they can be driven. The last myth was believed to be true because it was based on this myth that a vehicle needs to be warmed up and kept hot for them to go. But today’s cars can get moving right after they’ve been started, just so long as they aren’t being pushed too fast. Your car is producing energy while it’s on, so why not use it? And if you really want to warm up the engine, the best way to do this is to drive the thing. As a vehicle ages, its fuel economy decreases significantly. If it’s 10 to 15 years old, it will decrease in fuel economy just a little bit. But any vehicle that was well-maintained will keep its efficiency for a very long time. In fact, most vehicles improve over time. Cars have a cycle of functionality and in that cycle is a break-in period which is like the maturity period in humans. After about 5,000 miles, the car begins to perform at more optimized levels.
Replacing your air filter will help your car run more efficiently. That depends on how old the car is. Modern fuel-injected engines are controlled by onboard computers which function to automatically adjust the fuel-air ratio to the proper level. Sure, you should change you air filter if it’s dirty to improve your engine’s performance, but it won’t make a dent in your gas consumption. Fuel additives and aftermarket devices can dramatically improve your fuel economy. First off, many of these aftermarket devices marketed as fuel savers have been investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. It’s not an honest industry. And if there was a way that a simple add-on could save a lot of fuel, don’t you think the car manufacturer would have put it on there in the first place? Wouldn’t that help them sell more cars? Secondly, using fuel additives like gas treatment and fuel injector cleaner are like taking a bath after you’ve already had a shower. You see, gas stations and oil companies are required by law to put these same additives into the fuel they sell you. So essentially, what you are doing by using these is like rubbing two bars of soap together. Using premium fuel improves fuel economy. Premium fuel is only for engines designed for it. If your car is designed for it, then the engine will knock a lot with regular fuel. Really, the owner’s manual of your vehicle is the ultimate authority on what fuel type and octane is best for it. But the vast majority of cars run just fine on regular unleaded. You only need premium if you have an odd car made for certain conditions (like towing other cars). When you follow a large vehicle closely, you’re drafting and saving gas. Drafting is a term from auto-racing. When you’re on a race track, you can catch up to a car in front of you very quickly by staying in line with them and their trail because they are shooting through the wind and creating a “tunnel” void of most wind resistance. But here’s the deal: YOU’RE NOT ON A RACE TRACK when you are driving in the city or on the highway. Following a large vehicle closely is extremely dangerous because there isn’t enough time to react to any sudden stops or jerks made by the vehicle you’re tailgating. Also, you and the other vehicle probably aren’t going fast enough to make the slipstream tunnel made in drafting by race cars. Nitrogen-filled tires make life easier for your engine and gas consumption. This myth came about when people realized that under-inflated tires caused them to waste fuel. Tires are going to deflate a little bit from time to time on their own. But if they are filled with nitrogen, they won’t because the molecular composition of the gas keeps it staying
together very tightly. So we’ve been led to believe that nitrogen will keep the tires at the proper inflation for a longer time. But how much longer is anyone’s guess. This isn’t exactly cheap either. Why do this when you can pump air back into your tires at many gas stations for free? Just consult the owner’s manual and know what the proper PSI is for your tires and check them from time to time. Only fill the tank up halfway to reduce weight. Sure, a half tank is lighter than a full one, and less weight makes driving easier on the gas consumption, but this won’t make a significant increase. Firstly, the car’s fuel system was designed to perform well even with the added weight of a full gas tank. Secondly, this will just cause you to make more and more trips to the gas station and make you burn up more fuel. It’s better to just fill it up. Always fill up when you have just half a tank left. Funny how there are two myths out there that tell you to do the opposite things. This myth is based on the idea that the more space a tank has in it, the more gas you will lose due to evaporation and will escape when you open up your cap. Makes sense. But a renowned physicist, Ted Forringer of LeTourneau University, says it doesn’t make a difference. Why? Because you have a gas cap that fits your tank. Sure, you take off that gas cap when you fill up, but it only amounts to a few cents worth of loss. And there’s always going to be evaporation loss, no matter when you fill your tank, whether it’s 50% empty, 25%, or even 99%. So it’s pointless to try to stop it. Gas is cheapest on Wednesdays. Statistics do show that gas prices are typically higher on the weekends and around the holidays, but there are so many variables that cause gas prices to fluctuate on a daily basis. So waiting for a certain day of the week to buy gas won’t save much. Get gas when it’s cold out. While it is true that gas is denser in lower temperature, you have to remember that the gas isn’t stored where it can be exposed to that temperature. The gas station keeps the fuel underground in a tank with very thick walls so the temperature of it remains stable. Even when it goes through the pump and to your tank, the outside temperature isn’t going to have a big effect on it. This myth started when people noticed that the gas tank reading on the dashboard appeared different when it was really hot or cold outside. Your tank is more easily influenced by outside temperatures. But when it’s in your tank, you’ve already bought it.
Put down the tailgate or use a net for your truck. Some truck owners thought it would mean less drag if they put down their tail gate or had a net instead. But the Mythbusters proved the opposite. You have to remember that the manufacturer of the vehicle ran the thing through wind tunnel tests. They discovered that when the gate is closed, a separate wind bubble or what they call a “locked vortex flow” is created. And this is a very good thing because this bubble of air creates something sort of lick an invisible tonneau cover over the bed box. So unless you’re hauling something people would steal, don’t bother with the tonneau cover because your truck already has one. Washing and waxing your car makes it more aerodynamic. It’s true that a clean car with a coat of wax on it will move through the wind more smoothly. But this book is about saving money and this tactic will cost you more money than it will save. The results of the wash and wax are so little that it’s just not worth the time and money to keep it up. Now if you’re traveling a very long distance at a constant speed, then yes, it could be beneficial. But for the average daily driving, it’s not that helpful. Don’t get gas if a tanker truck is filling the station, because you could get dislodged sediment into your own tank. The gas station and the pump have specially designed filters to block this sediment from getting to your tank. If some small pieces do manage to get past them, there’s still nothing to worry about, because your engine has a fuel filter to take care of that. Don’t squeeze the trigger on the pump! Because pumping the gas faster causes more agitation and thus more evaporation! This one’s true, but it’s not the whole truth. Sure, the higher the speed of pumping, the more agitation and evaporation will occur, but doing it the slow way won’t help much either. Because when you pump slowly, the gas cap is off longer, thereby allowing more evaporation. So it’s better to save your time and pump faster, that way you can get the cap back on sooner. Gas is going to evaporate no matter what you do, but it’s only going to be in minuscule amounts. You gas will evaporate when it gets real hot out! Not if you have your gas cap on tight and secured. Again, the manufacturer planned for this.
Ways to Cut Down on Your Gas Consumption Approach traffic lights differently If you’re coming up to a red light, or see a light change to red in front of you well before you will reach it, why keep your foot on the gas? It’s easier on the consumption if you just coast to a stop or put the car in neutral if it’s a manual transmission. If you have enough momentum to keep the car moving forward for a little bit longer and won’t need to step on the gas, just let off the accelerator. Why get to that red light any faster? It’s not going to change any faster. And by doing this, you’re making sure the fuel you are using is being used to take you as far as possible. And moving continuously is better for the car than stop-and-go travel. Also, when you drive the same roads and routes over and over again, you do tend to notice which intersections you are most likely to stop at, so you might as well coast up to them. Then there are also lights that change faster because they use sensors or they’re just larger intersections. So by knowing which lights do what, you can know ahead of time when to coast up or when to continue at a constant speed. Lane Selection When coming up to a red light, switch over to the lane that has fewer cars stopped in it so you have more room for your momentum to carry you farther when you coast. Also, when you have to start back up, you’ll have less distance to cover while on the gas pedal. You also don’t want to get caught in a lane with lots of stop and go traffic because of bus stops or highway exit lanes. So the left lanes are often a better choice. Another thing to remember with lanes is that most people drive right in the center of them. Because of this, ruts and dents are made in the surface of the road from the constant wear. If you ride more on the ridge of the lanes, driving closer to the paint where the road is still smooth, there will be much less friction for your car to encounter. This works best when the road is wet because when there are dents in the road, there are puddles. And puddles cause drag and resistance to your going. Alternatives to idling What we really mean by this is idle as little as possible. Idling is burning gas while you go nowhere. Anytime the car is going to stand still for 30 seconds or more, just shut it off, because the fuel burned during 30 seconds of idling equates to the amount of fuel burned off during a
restart. A hybrid engine will switch off the gas engine right away when the car is stopped and they restart the engine when you step on the accelerator. Of course, there are sometimes when you’ll have to idle, like when you’re waiting in a line that’s stopping and going. During these situations, it’s better to shift into neutral and keep your foot on the brake than to leave it in park or drive. The car will use less gas when in neutral and the engine will cool off a bit. This is also easier on the transmission. Another good practice is to skip the drive-thru and get off your butt. Just park and walk in because otherwise you’re idling a lot in the line and at the window. That just wastes gas and it might not be that much faster than going in. Plan ahead for hills If you’re stepping on the gas pedal while traveling up hill, a lot of gas gets burned up. A better way would be to use momentum already built up to push you over the hill. It’s much easier on the engine and consumption to speed up on a flat road than it is to power up at the bottom of a hill or overpass. Once you’ve reached the top of the hill, give the gas a little tap to make up for the loss in speed the force of gravity caused, then keep your foot off the gas on the way down and coast. Let the force of gravity power your car. With some hills and overpasses, you can stay off the gas pedal for a long time even well after you’ve gotten off the incline. Strategic Turning UPS did a little experiment with their delivery trucks in 2007. They instituted a “no left-turn” policy and said it resulted in them saving 3 million gallons of gas. The reason why is because left turns often require you to wait for an opening from oncoming traffic, so you’ll idle a lot more. Now if you’re running multiple errands or going a long way, this is a good idea. But if you’re just going to one place and it’s not that far, this won’t be very practical. Another thing about turning is that it’s best to make wider turns while in the city roads. If there’s an outer lane to make a turn, use it because it won’t require you to brake much and slow down, which means you won’t have to burn up more gas by speeding up. Now if you’re making a turn after being at a full stop, it makes no difference, but when you’re approaching one without a light stopping you, it can save a bit.
Lastly, when making turns on the highway, which are generally wider, it’s better to use the inside lane because you are traveling a lesser distance than you would be on the outside lane of the turn. Keep it at 55 mph on the highway During the oil crisis of the 70s, the 55 mph speed limit was put in place on the highways because that’s the speed at which cars get the most miles per gallon. This is still true of cars today. The EPA says that at 60 mph, cars start to lose their efficiency of fuel consumption. And CleanMPG.com states that at 70 mph, fuel economy drops by 17%. Factor in the weather During the hot times of the year, you’ll want to avoid driving during the hottest times of the day because you’ll be running the A/C more. Ever notice how you’re A/C always seems to break down in the summer time? It’s no mysterious coincidence; it’s just because you use it more in the summer. So drive at times when you’ll use it less. During the colder times of the year though, you’ll want to do the opposite and drive when it’s warmest outside. Because the engines run best when they’re warm and they’ll certainly warm up faster when it’s warmer outside. Also, avoid making frequent short trips during the cold season. The more you stop in the cold, the more it will cool down and have to warm back up. So if you have a lot of short trips planned out, drive to the destination that’s the furthest away first. That way, your engine will be warmed up the most and it will take a longer time to cool down during your other stops. Also, always let the engine warm up before you run the heater, because otherwise it will take the engine longer to warm up. A/C Adjustments When the A/C is on its maximum setting, your gas consumption can be increased by 25%. So you want to use it as little as possible, or use it more intelligently.
When traveling under 50 mph, it’s better to roll down the windows. When traveling over 50 mph, it’s better to run the A/C. If you’re driving alone, close the vents on the passenger’s side and have the air at a lower setting. When you are just a few minutes away from your destination, switch off the A/C. There will be enough residual cool air to keep the heat away for those few minutes so you don’t have to keep it working until the very moment you step out of the car.
Use electrical equipment wisely Any electrical equipment on the car like the radio, defroster and the headlights increase the work-load on the engine. So you’ll want to use them more sparingly. This means not turning on your headlights until you really have to and avoid driving after sunset. You should always check the local laws though for when is the exact time that the headlights are required to be on. Instead of using the cars radio, you could use Pandora on your phone. I listen to talk radio programs, podcasts and audio books on long trips, so I just use my iPod, but only in one ear. You could get pulled over if you have both ear buds in and if you’re listening to particularly loud music, there’s a big safety hazard. Lose the luggage rack Racks on the roof of a car increase the drag. They also go unused more often than not. So go ahead and removed them. If you do use it, you could be decreasing your fuel economy by 5%. So load up the trunk instead. Remember that every 100 pounds can subtract 2% from your fuel economy, so travel light. Some people are so fanatical about this that they’ll remove unused car seats. I don’t recommend doing that. Just don’t let your car turn into a storage shed.
Shaving a Few Cents off of Each Gallon This is to show you where each cent goes when you pay for a gallon of gas, or better yet how those cents can be wasted or saved. Sadly, the way energy policy is directed right now, the price of gas will not being going down significantly for a while and even more sad is the fact that gasoline is the cheapest form of energy available. Yikes! Better know where your money is going and how to spend it more wisely. 1. Air Filter Replace your air filter as directed by your owner’s manual. A clean air filter makes the car run more efficiently and could boost your fuel economy by as much as 10% Savings: 30 cents a gallon*. * These estimates in this article are based on $3-a-gallon gas, which is the national average at the time of this writing. It also assumes that the car part is in the worst shape and you’re upgrading it to the best shape. 2. Alignment Tire misalignment will not only wear down your tires faster, but it will also cause your engine to burn up more fuel because it has to use more energy to push the car. Proper alignment can boost fuel economy by 10%. Savings: 30 cents per gallon. 3. Be Properly Inflated Check your owner’s manual to find out what the proper inflation is for your tires. If they are under-inflated by as little as 7.5 pounds, you could lose almost 3% of your fuel efficiency. But be careful doing this. Sometimes, like in the summer time, it’s okay to have your tires a little under inflated because the heat from the road will help expand them to their proper inflation. Savings: 9 cents per gallon. 4. Cap It Some cars have broken caps or are missing their gas caps altogether. If it’s not on tightly all the way, fumes can escape and hurt your fuel economy. If it won’t go on all the way, it’s time to replace it.
Savings: 1 cent per gallon. 5. Understand how MPH affects MPG Some estimates say that every 5 mph tacks on an additional 7% to your fuel consumption. It’s going to be different for every car, but generally, that’s the best estimate. Not that you should drive like an old fart all the time and just coast from place to place, but driving five miles under the speed limit will not only save you fuel, but also help you avoid accidents better. Savings: 21 cents 6. Smooth Cruising What sucks up a lot of fuel is fast start ups, hammering the gas pedal and fast stops smashing down on the brake pedal. Jerking the car around like this not only makes the ride bumpy and burns up gas, it also wears out the car faster. When you run in a foot-race, don’t you get tired faster when you don’t pace yourself? Also, using the brakes too much can increase your consumption by 35%. Savings: 99 cents a gallon. 7. Unload Every 100 additional pounds the car carries triggers 2% more fuel consumption. So if you haven’t cleaned out your car in a while, now’s a good time to do that. Savings: 3 cents per gallon for every 100 pounds removed 8. Idle Under 3 Minutes All idling for more than 3 minutes costs you one cent. The longest red light probably isn’t more than 3 minutes. When you idle, you car is still producing energy, so don’t let that energy go to waste. That’s why in the book The Recession Survival Guide, we say don’t bother to “warm up” your engine on cold days. As long as you don’t floor it, your car will be fine going. If you know you’re going to be stopped for 3 minutes or more and it’s not at a red light, turn off the car. It will take less gas to start back up than it will to sit and idle for 5 minutes. Savings: 1 cent per gallon, for every three minutes you avoid idling. If you did all of these, you will have saved $1.94 per gallon and are only paying $1.06. Remember the good, old days when gas only cost that much?
The one thing that we as consumers can do to lower the price of gas is to cut back on our consumption of it. While the oil market isnâ€™t entirely free, it still is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Cut down on your consumption, you help cut down on demand.
Two Extra Tools There are two more things you can do to make sure you’re not overspending on gasoline. The first one is to frequent this website: Gasbuddy.com This website can show you the current gas prices among the stations in your area, so you can find which one’s the lowest and which one is the closest. You obviously don’t want to drive too far just to save a few cents on gasoline, so when you’re planning an outing, pick the station with the lowest price and closest proximity to your destination. Look at gas not in terms of miles per gallon, but in terms of miles per dollar. At the time of this book’s publication, the price of a gallon is $3.28. The average fuel economy for most cars is 23. So the miles per dollar is 7. The last thing you can do is to get a fuel consumption display. These are devices that provide you with instant feedback and will give you the motivation to improve as well as reminders of bad habits. One that’s very popular and reliable is ScanGuage. Some people recommend the tactic of keeping a fuel log or checking your odometer every time you go to fill up your tank. This is just like planning to lose weight but only weighing yourself at your annual medical checkup. The nagging of the bathroom scale at the morning weigh-in is what drives us to make the necessary changes to reach our goals. So these automatic and instant consumption displays are more effective at showing you where your gas is going and helping you develop the discipline to conserve.
Conclusion Gasoline can be one of the biggest expenses of your life. Hopefully with this information, you are able to bring that cost down because we can all think of a million other things weâ€™d rather spend money on than filling up at the pump. For more gas saving secrets, head on over to AnUnfairEdge.com, as it is regularly updating with articles, podcasts, and videos on how to save more money.
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About The Author
Michael Jonah Jones is the founder of Unfair Edge Inc., a financial education company that teaches investment strategies and tactics for passive income as well as entrepreneurship in the digital age. Jones offers up weekly podcasts, articles, presentations and other media downloads free at AnUnfairEdge.com. Jones is a graduate from the University of Central Florida and Saint Petersburg College with degrees in Mass Communication and Digital Media. He was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL. He had spent most of his working life in manual labor jobs like cooking in restaurants and working in retail. It wasnâ€™t until 2012, after his third college graduation, that he began more meaningful work such as market consulting and webmastering for Lavan: Body, Mind & Soap. For a more in-depth look into Jonesâ€™ unique story, go to www.AnUnfairEdge.com/jonah/ Friend Him on FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.j.jones.12 Add Him to You Circles on Google+ http://www.gplus.to/jonahjones Follow Him on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/AnUnfairEdge
I'm so tired of the same over-given advice on how to save gas, like ‘Don’t drive aggressively!’ ‘No Jack-rabbit starts!’ or even ‘Drive less...
Published on Oct 9, 2013
I'm so tired of the same over-given advice on how to save gas, like ‘Don’t drive aggressively!’ ‘No Jack-rabbit starts!’ or even ‘Drive less...