Ten Top Tips for Saving Gas

1. Turn off your engine if you are going to be idling for more than 30 seconds. Millions of gallons of fuel are wasted each day from idling. Your starter and battery system can handle the increased activity.

2. Change your air filter every 10,000 miles. Just like a marathon runner, your car needs to suck in air without restriction.

3. Install a real-time fuel consumption meter if your car does not have one already. This way, you can see what you are doing while you are driving and make the needed adjustments to save fuel.

4. Pump up those tires. Higher tire pressures result in lower rolling resistance, so your mileage will improve. Not too high, mind you, but a tad over the “recommended” from your car and tire manufacturer. Remember, they don’t want you to get good mileage.

5. Turn off your air conditioning, but only at lights or in slow traffic. When you really get going, the open windows produce drag that will offset any savings you might imagine from having the AC off.

6. Reduce the weight of your car. Remove all non-essential items from the trunk and the interior of your car. Weight takes energy to move, so the lighter your car the less energy you will lose. Keep the spare tire and the jack, but almost everything else can go. If you don’t have a family, take out the back seat. Invest in custom wheels if they are significantly lighter than the stock wheels. Carbon fiber parts (like the hood or trunk) are great, too, although they may be a bit expensive.

7. Don’t keep your gas tank full all the time. Remember, fuel equals weight and you must do everything you can to make your vehicle lighter. Keeping about a half tank or less all the time should allow for emergencies but also keep your weight down.

8. Wax your car and keep it clean and waxed. Drag (friction with the air) greatly reduces fuel economy. A clean and waxed vehicle will have reduced aerodynamic drag, thus providing better mileage. If you have a luggage rack, take it off. If you have a moon roof, keep it closed. Smooth is what you want.

9. Don’t drive a lot with a cold engine. Cold engines do not run efficiently. Use a block heater to pre-heat your engine if you are taking many short trips. If you can combine your short trips it will help, as driving further will allow your engine more operating time at higher temperatures.

10. Use cruise control whenever possible. The car’s ability to maintain a constant speed is better than your ability to do so. Small, more precise, and constant adjustments made by the car’s cruise control system will save you fuel.

Ultimately, there are other, more drastic steps you can take to save on fuel. For instance, you could ride light rail instead of driving, car pool, ride your bike, buy a high mileage car like a MINI or a Toyota Corolla, or even move closer to where you work. One other thing to consider — invest in an oil company like Exxon-Mobil or BP. As the high cost of oil swells the profits of Big Oil, you will get a share of that ill-gotten wealth as an owner of the company.

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Posted by at 12:23 | Posted in Measure 37 | 79 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jeff

    #7 contradicts something I’ve heard – basically that below a half-tank, evaporation of the gasoline increases, so you should keep the tank above half a tank full.

    I wonder which is best?

    • Andrew

      When you have less gas in your car, then you just have to make more trips to the gas station.

      I’d bet it costs more to make trips to the gas station than the weight of the fuel uses.

      • Anonymous

        Not only more trips, but the price of gas will be going up the whole time as well. Half a tank would get you less gas at the cheaper price.

        Half a tank of gas is probably going to be–at most–40 pounds in most sedans. I can’t imagine 40 pounds making that much of a difference.

    • Darek

      I believe gas tanks in cars are vaccum sealed.

      • Sean

        Incorrect. They have lines that go to charcoal canisters to help relieve pressure build-up in the tanks.

  • Joanne Rigutto

    I cut back on trips and began combining trips 6 years ago. I don’t go anywhere I don’t absolutely have to go. If I need to go anywhere in Portland, I do it during the week when I can combine that along with the trip to work. Living in Mulino, and right on hwy 213 at that, riding a bike or walking isn’t much of an option unless you want to walk in the ditch – better in the summer than the winter – or walk/bike within a couple of feet of vehicles going 50mph.

    Interesting about Jeff’s comment. I’ve also had mechanics tell me it’s better to run off the top half of the tank because you’re less likely to pick up dirt, moisture, etc. off the bottom of the tank. I have no idea if this is true, I suppose if the fuel pickup floats it would be? I can see if the ehtanol content continues to rise, then water in the tank might become a problem if the fuel level on a gas powered vehicle were to stay low, i.e. running off the bottom of the tank.

    This year in addition to combining trips, etc. we will be growing even more food for ourselves than last year, and I”m going to have to try making things like bread again. Should be interesting given the fact that my last bout of bread making resulted in rolls that were so hard that our wolf couldn’t bite through them.

    • Jerry

      Ethanol might be a consideration regarding the half full tank idea, although I don’t believe the evaporation is a considertion with newer cars.

      • John in Oregon

        There is another aspect to the top half, bottom half question. And that’s the now mandated E10.

        Ethanol alcohol is hydroscopic which means Ethanol likes, attracts, and absorbs water. This is why it is prohibited for general aviation by the FAA and a problem for marine applications. Oregon will have a major problem this summer when aviation gas is no longer available.

        Using the top half would reduce the potential for water in the vehicles tank. Im not sure it matters as water in the distribution and stations tanks will be a large problem.

    • Random reader

      You have a friggin wolf?? lol

  • Mrfroogle

    Here is an alternative way to save money at the pump:


  • Steve Plunk

    Did I miss ‘slow down’ in there somewhere? The single best way to reduce consumption is to slow down on the freeway.

    • John in Oregon

      The speed versus fuel economy is no longer the pay back it once was.

      An example from the 70s double nickel days. The calling card of one of the road salesmen that we saw each week was that he drove a Pantara. He typically drove between 80 and 85, but as he said the fine for 10 or 15 over was small and infrequent.

      Then one day he drove up in a huge Cadillac. We all of course immediately teased him. His answer quickly shut us all up. He simply said if I am forced to drive at 55 reducing my (the Pantaras) mileage from 28 to 12 MPG, I might as well do it in comfort.

      I don’t have precise numbers but the point is that the modern auto fleet has been streamlined aerodynamically and drive train design along with variable engine control has greatly reduced the speed versus fuel efficiency part of the equation.

      • Jerry

        Plus, if you slow down on the freeway you are going to cause accidents. The gas saved by slowing from 65 to 55 is, in effect, meaningless!

        • Steve Plunk

          Ah yes, but the savings from 75 to 65 is meaningful and safe.

          • Jerry

            Agreed, but if you are going 75 in Oregon you are doing more than wasting fuel. You are breaking the LAW!
            Maybe if they put enough ethanol in the gas then nobody could go over 65!

          • Lawless

            Oh my God, they are breaking the LAW???

          • Lance

            Worse — in signing their drivers license, they solomnly swore (or avowed) that they would abide by all traffic regulations — thus they are breaking their personal promises.

          • mike saller

            your a fag

          • b-stix

            You must be a liberal. Only a liberal resorts to derogatory name calling when a conservative says thay we should obey the laws.

      • kevin

        The issue of slowing down has little to do with highway speeds (even though it does make a difference).

        The issue is city and suburbian driving. When you dive 40 in a 30, it’s not about the 10 mph, it’s about the extra accelleration required after every red light you stop at.

        Stop speeding away from the line like it is a race and you will realize you have been getting there just as slow no matter how fast you drove.

  • Frankly Fred

    How about telling our worthless Governor that it’s way past time to quit wasting Oregonians money on ethanol? This was dumped on the public by executive order and needs to be dumped ASAP. It’s my understanding that the Society of Automotive Engineers is doing a study of ethanol use in vehicles and how it affects their mileage. Want to be it will shut these clueless politician up real quick when the FACTS come out that it basically lowers gas mileage by as much as 1% for every percentage mixed with gasoline?

  • Joanne Rigutto

    The bio-fuels rush is causing a lot of trouble all over the world. A lot of people are being pushed off lands that have been feeding them and their families for generations. Brazil, the shining light of the bio-fuels revolution, pushed over 500,000 people off the land, forcing them into cities and starving them in order to plant sugar cane plantations for ethanol. In Columbia people are being removed from the land in order to plant oil palm plantations – the biggest markets for palm oil for biodiesel production are the EU member nations, and the single biggest buyer in the EU of Columbian palm oil is the UK. In Africa palm oil is the main cooking oil as well as the primary source of protein, and supplies of that commodity are becoming more expensive as it’s used for biodiesel production.

    In the meantime, the cost of staples such as corn, wheat and rice continue to rise. In the USA less than 15% of average income goes to buying food, in the developing nations up to 75% of average income goes to buying food and with prices rising and wages staying stagnant it’s becoming more and more difficult for the poor to feed themselves. With the push to get people off the farms – goodness knows it’s such a terrible thing for those people to live on dirt farms, at least if there aren’t any jobs they could feed themselves. No, no, they need to go to the cities where they can get a job that pays money that they can use to buy the food that’s gone up in price so far that they can’t afford it….

    Sorry about the rant, but biofuels are a sore point with me…..

    Perhaps the next time our glorious governor or Randy Leonard starts espousing the wonders of biofuels someone could ask them why they hate poor people in the developing nations, and what we’re all going to eat if we turn our cropland into plantations for biofuels feedstocks!

    • dean

      Joanne…so much of modern agriculture is not food to begin with. Oregon’s biggest cash crop is ornamental nursery plants, and high up there is grass seed fields to create lawns. And in Europe (and the US), the main problem for the past 3 decades has been getting farmers to grow less food, not more. People in the 3rd world can’t afford to buy food from Europe and the US. It is possible that biofuels don’t have nearly as much to do with the recent run up in food prices as we are led to believe. Prior to the ethanol boom 80% of the corn in the midwest was grown to feed to cattle. And the economic growth in China has led to a big increase in meat consumption. So it may be that meat eating is a bigger factor than biofuels.

      At the end of the day, biofuels are going to have to be part of the solution. Not corn…but certainly other vegetable matter.

      • Joanne Rigutto

        Here in the USA, a byproduct of corn based ethanol production is distillers grain. This is being used more and more to feed cattle in feed lots and there are indications that it will be used to feed swine and poultry too. So a lot of the corn that was being fed directly to livestock for meat production is now going to produce ethanol and meat both, which in turn will probably foster the increase in the prolifferation of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). It’s my understanding that wet distillers grain is less expensive than the raw corn to feed cattle, and wet distillers grain is less expensive than dry distillers grain, although the shelf life is substantially shorter. Tons and tons of distillers grains will need to be disposed of and the logical way to dispose of them is through feed. The corn can be used twice, once to produce fuel and then again to produce meat for us to eat as well as for the export market. Not a bad idea, right? Well, maybe not…..

        Unfortunately CAFOs bring with them all sorts of other problems such as an increase in the incidence of epizootic animal disease, the emergence of new animal diseases and zoonotic diseases, antibiotic and antiviral resistance of existing and emerging diseases, waste disposal problems associated with manuer, etc.. Although there is one potential positive with CAFOs in that the manuer can be used to produce methane which can then be used as an energy source.

        (BTW our main export markets for meat and live animals is not the 3rd world. A lot of the meat consumed in the 3rd world, especially SE Asia, is in pork and poultry and most of that is produced in those countries and a lot of it’s exported to countries like China, although some also goes to Europe. The USA ships a lot of poultry, beef, and pork to Europe. A lot of the meats produced in the EU and exported, circulate between the EU member countries, the USA, and other developed countries.)

        The two biggest drivers ‘fueling’ the increase in meat consumption around the world are the increase in per capita income in the developing countries – there are a lot of poor people but there are a lot of people who’s annual incomes are rising – and the prolifferation of CAFOs/industrialization of meat production, especially of poultry and pork. CAFO production systems for these two animal species have really taken off over the last 20 years or so in the developing countries, although dairy and beef production is catching up. These animal production systems make it possible to produce tons of meat per production run at very low prices. Just take a look at what organic pastured poultry costs vs. chicken from a CAFO. Foster Farms chicken is CAFO produced and regularly sells for $1.59-$1.79/lb and occasionally for $1.00/lb or a bit less in the store. I keep chickens for my own use and know how much it costs to raise chickens for meat, even if I raise broilers. You can’t do it any way other than a CAFO that is vertically integrated for that kind of money.

        Here in Oregon you’re right that the grass seed industry is a major player in ag. I’m well aware of that as I feed my horses blue grass straw in the winter. Blue grass straw is a byproduct of the grass seed industry. There is a push to use perenial rye grass straw in celulosic ethanol production if they ever get the kinks worked out of that. If rye grass straw can be used to produce ethanol so can blue grass straw and there goes my winter hay supply…. I’m not sure whether the ornamentals are grown on marginal lands or not. I suspect that some are and some are not. As the price of biofuels feedstocks rises, perhaps those lands can be turned over to feedstock production and people buying ornamentals can import them or stop using them all together – I said that last part tongue in cheek…

        The big problem with biofuels is not the production of them persay, it’s the scale. In Ohio, there are some hay farmers who have gone from growing that crop to growing corn for ethanol. That crop, corn, paid better than hay last year, and who can blame the farmer for growing a crop that turns a proffit or a larger proffit than hay. One of the problems with that, aside from the fact that the hay from those farms is no longer available to feed horses, cattle, sheep, goats, etc., is that hay can be grown on marginal lands with a relatively low amount of inputs. High volume production, which is what you need if you’re growing corn for ethanol, or anything else for that matter, is that to get that high volume per acre of production, especially in marginal land, you have to have high inputs of fertilizer and water. That puts strains on the system in ways that people may not have thought out.

        The big push for biofuels production is really concentrated in countries other than the USA, we’re coming to the table late although we’re working hard to catch up. We don’t have the arable land to supply a substantial amount of biofuels to the US consumer unless we shift a lot of our food/feed producing land to fuels feedstock, which means that we’ll wind up importing even more of our food/feed from other countries. One option to counter that would be to import a lot of the raw product for biofuels into the US from a foreign source, which puts us right back into the dependance on foreign oil, only maybe it’ll be something like palm oil instead of fossil oil.

        The scale of use and production are the problems, not the biofuels themselves. I don’t have a problem with biofuels being a part of the solution, unfortunately it’s being touted as the only solution. I have an idea that two of the big pushers for corn ethanol are ADM and Monsanto, aside from the corn growers’ associations, etc. Going up against either of those two giants is a herculean task indeed. Then there’s all of the investment that the big oil companies have made into ethanol and biodiesel…. the push for which has come, in part, from the environmental movement, to reduce our dependancy on fossil fuels. There is an excellent report over at https://www.grain.org that outlines the growth of the biofuels industry world wide, it’s impact on poor people around the world and the oil company’s participation in it. Just take the link to the Agrofuels issue of Seedling on their main page.

  • Jerry

    Dropping the needle in ANWAR years ago would have made the whole bio-fuels nonsense unnecessary.
    And it is a major factor in food prices going up regardless of what some say.
    And it is very, very inefficient.
    And it would not exist without subsidies.
    It is a joke.

    • John in Oregon

      Jerry, I have it on the best authority, a United States Senator that you are at least partly wrong on drilling ANWAR.

      You are correct that President Bill Clinton did veto legislation that would have brought ANWAR production on line in late 2006.

      However as _Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)_ said on May 7th, 2008, ANWAR *production of 1 million barrels per day would* “take ten years and *reduce the price of oil by a penny.”*

      However, help is on the way.

      The US Congress is rushing through legislation in an attempt to sue the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for cartel-like behavior.

      Just last week on May 13, in support of this approach _Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY)_ insisted that; “If Saudi Arabia were to increase its *production by 1 million barrels per day that translates to a reduction of 20 percent to 25 percent in the world price of crude oil, and crude oil prices could fall by more than $25 dollar per barrel from its current level of $126 per barrel.* In turn, that would lower the price of gasoline between 13 percent and 17 percent, or by more than 62 cents off the expected summer regular-grade price – offering much needed relief to struggling families. “

      • dmf

        Just reinforces the idea, our congress is stupid. Just like the one senator telling the oil executives that if they didn’t cut their take home, congress would just take over the oil companies.

        We have no business suing OPEC. They will probably roll on the floor laughing like they did when Bush asked for increased drilling. They see us for what we are. Fools.

      • Jerry

        This Schumer guy was completely wrong in his figures. If you believe him you are really gullible.

        • dean

          John….World oil demand is about 86 million barrels of oil a day. Adding 1 million capacity from ANWAR, given a 1.8% annual demand growth (1994-2006) would not reduce the cost by squat. Schumer’s original math was better than his later math, if your assertions are correct.

          I think we should and will drill in ANWAR sooner or later. But we also better get serious about conservation and alternatives because ANWAR is not going to bail us out.

          Joanne…2 points. First, our nurseries tend to be on class 3 and 4 soils, which are suitable for growing crops, but are not the highest quality. Many of the grass seed fields are on former wet prairies, so are poorly drained. Second, my experience is that environmentalists are not the ones pushing corn based ethanol, though there is support for biofuels as at least a partial way to stretch out oil supplies and reduce air pollution.

          • John in Oregon

            When supply is tight small changes in supply can have large impacts on price. It takes a better Economist that I am to know how much. Expertise available to a United States Senator.

            The point above was that within the space of 6 days the same politician gave two vastly different answers for the same amount of oil.

          • Joanne Rigutto

            Points taken on the soils classes, and I appreciate the info.

            On the corn for ethanol point, I wasn’t saying that the environmentalists were pushing that particular feed stock, I think that has more to do with ADM and Monsanto’s lobbying prowess. The environmental movement has, however, been a big mover and shaker in the push for biofuels. The oil companies are positioned perfectly to take advantage of this and shift from a purely fossil fuel commodity to a ag based commodity, and they are doing that all over the world. As far as I’m aware, the USA is the biggest force behind corn for ethanol. Other countries use other feedstocks, such as Brazil using sugar cane, other countries use oil palm, jatropha, casava, and the UK has even used sheep carcasses to produce biodiesel. A lot of light lambs from Wales that couldn’t be moved because of the foot and mouth disease outbreak in Surrey, England last year went for biodiesel production, although that’s not the normal use for that animal…..

        • John in Oregon

          Did anyone notice what Schumer said above?

          On May 7th Schumer said *1 million new barrels per day* of ANWAR production would reduce the price of oil by a *penny.*


          On May 13, Schumer said *1 million additional barrels per day* of Saudi production would reduce the price of oil by *$25.*

          A Saudi barrel of oil must be worth a lot more than an ANWAR barrel of oil. Two thousand five hundred times as much in fact.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            I think they missed it John.

            My favourite reason for not drilling domestically is “it will take years to come online”

            Yeah, and if we had done it years ago, and not listened to the ninnys then we would have it now.

            There is also one last conservation step not mentioned in the list – Avoid ethanol, it results in a 3% reduction in milage. Ooops, guess you cant do that in Oregon. Ethanol – Just another example of a half baked idea that wastes your money foisted upon you by your friendly folks up in Salem.

          • dean

            The US, Canada and Europe together account for 50% of world oil demand. But most of the growth in demand is from Asia and the middle east. China alone has gone from around 4 MBD (million barrels a day) in 1990 to 8MBD now, and at curent growth rates will be at 20MBD in 2020. In other words, Chinese oil demand alone would push the world demand over 100MBD by 2020.

            And considering Chinese car ownership today is something like 3 cars per 100 people, while in the US it is 77 per 100, and you can see they have nowhere to go but up.

            If you take ALL of the big oil development projects presently coming on line, they might add 7MBD to global capacity. But not really since older fields are declining at or above the rate new fields are being brought on line. Saudi, Mexican, Russion, Norwegian, and British production rates are ll down from 2005.


            This is what the cranks call peak oil. I for one am beginning to believe them.

            ANWAR? Biofuels? A few drops in the ocean. Oy Vey is Mir.

          • John in Oregon

            3% loss of mileage with E10 is the best case based on the sheer loss of energy content.

            Real world its likely to be worse. Somewhere between 5% and 10% depending on the vehicle.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            I know it is, I was just being conservative in my figures. Basically the long and the short of it is the crowd that is constantly chanting to raise CAFE standards, could accomplish the same thing overnight if they would also get off mandates such as the ethanol idiocy.

            Proof of idiocy in government is no where more succinctly shown than in our current watering down of gasoline with scotch, which is what the ethanol amounts to. The numbers on this one could have been run by a fifth grader with greater competency than has obviously been shown.

  • John in Oregon

    The comments here have taken to the subject of energy in general so a comment here in reference to an earlier question in another similar thread is appropriate.

    Photo Voltaic is one of those areas where I have taken a great interest. The first photo cell I had in my hand was 1968 vintage and around 3% efficient, basically a toy. I have watched as work year after year slowly brought that up to the mid 20s kinds of efficiencies. Everyone looked for it but no silver bullet break through was found, until recently.

    I wrote a short post about what it took to implement large scale wind power. The question tho was why didn’t I write about Photo Voltaic “natural power”, and that is due to two problems.

    First, Oregon straddles 45 degrees North Latitude. The average day over a full year is 12 hours day, 12 hours night. This far north during the winter months, November, December, January, February we get short days and that’s the time of year when we need power for light and heat the most.

    The variable day length problem coupled with other problems make home or office Photo Voltaic problematic. Most populations are in areas which are frequently cloudy, with limited space, shadowing problems from trees and buildings, and less than optimum sun angle. The small installations are unlikely to ever pay back the energy cost of manufacturing the panels.

    Picking a location with 300 plus days of sun for properly installed large scale power farms is possible when photo voltaic efficiencies get around 50% or higher.

    Which brings up the second problem. We need to rapidly store large amounts of power during the day. Roughly 35,400 Megawatthours each day.

    The most desirable storage technology is cryogenic super conductor ring storage. Cooled to near absolute zero, super conductor rings can store huge amounts of power quickly. Or for SG1 fans, a ZPM would be even better.

    Systems on the order of 3 600 gigajoule scale are feasible but no where near production ready. That’s about 1 000 megawatthours so somewhere between 35 to 40 of these would be needed for night power from solar sources for 25% of Oregon’s new mandated “natural” power needs.

    To give a feel for what kind of energy levels we are talking about, 1,000 megawatthours is a bit less than a 1 kiloton bomb. That’s just to give an idea how much energy is involved, I’m not saying it could explode.

    The night time power storage is the reason I didn’t used photo voltaic in my previous post.

  • John in Oregon

    Another useful comparison is:

    30,000 Gallons of gasoline = 1 megawatt hour
    (100% efficient conversion)

  • steve

    dude, this is retarded. clean air filter does not save gas. turning off the ac does not save gas. windows down does not use more gas. waxing your car does not save gas. I know that all sound good and may make your car look better and run a little better but they are all urban myths.

    • Anonymous

      @steve: try and wrap your mind around this. if you’re doing 90mph on the highway and put your car in neutral, how fast will it slow down compared to starting at 20mph? there’s this little thing i don’t think you understand called drag. when your windows are down drag is increased. if there’s mud caked all over your car drag is increased. while there is probably no difference between a clean unwaxed car and a waxed one, there is definitely a benefit to keeping your car clean especially if you do a lot of highway driving.

      now, do you know how an air conditioner works? it is essentially an engine-driven air compressor. air compressors do work. power is required to do work. power comes from the engine. if you can’t figure out the rest, well… that’s pretty sad. as for the clean air filter, again, if there is more resistance to airflow the engine has to work harder to pull air through. although the benefit to keeping a clean filter is likely outweighed by the cost of changing it every 10,000 miles.

    • chris

      try and wrap your mind around this. if you’re doing 90mph on the highway and put your car in neutral, how fast will it slow down compared to starting at 20mph? there’s this little thing i don’t think you understand called drag. when your windows are down drag is increased. if there’s mud caked all over your car drag is increased. while there is probably no difference between a clean unwaxed car and a waxed one, there is definitely a benefit to keeping your car clean especially if you do a lot of highway driving.

      now, do you know how an air conditioner works? it is essentially an engine-driven air compressor. air compressors do work. power is required to do work. power comes from the engine. if you can’t figure out the rest, well… that’s pretty sad. as for the clean air filter, again, if there is more resistance to airflow the engine has to work harder to pull air through. although the benefit to keeping a clean filter is likely outweighed by the cost of changing it every 10,000 miles.

  • steve

    dude, this is retarded. clean air filter does not save gas. turning off the ac does not save gas. windows down does not use more gas. waxing your car does not save gas. I know thay all sound good and may make your car look better and run a little better but they are all urban myths.

    • Roble

      I don’t know where you get your “urban Myths”, but not running A/C, and keeping your windows closed at highway speeds DOES save gas mileage. A clogged air filter also causes a richer fuel mixture to be used – in turn causing more gas to be consumed….

      • whiskey delta

        A dirty air filter does not cause a rich mixture; the engine’s electronic managment will see to that. It will reduce air flow and engine efficiency, hence affecting fuel economy.

  • Anonymous

    About number 5, they tested this theory on Myth Busters and they found driving with the windows down to be dramatically more efficient than driving with AC on.

    • Anonymous

      I was going to post the Mythbusters result, but then saw your post.

  • anoy.

    You have pointed out some valid points; however your solutions are pretty far-fetched. Americans don’t want to drive a race car; take out your back seats, carbon fiber, lighter wheels…. Come on, is this an informative post about how to go faster or get better fuel mileage? I would bet a carbon fiber hood, trunk, and some light wheels would cost more than someone would spend on fuel in a whole year! I’ve read multiple posts on this exact topic and I’d have to say this is probably the most uneducated view. Wax your car for less drag? How about we all draft each other NASCAR like on the highway?

    • Anonymous

      subcomputations attainably wireless,gated applicability,snotty deputy – Tons of interesdting stuff!!!

  • Hugo Chavez

    With the exception of tire pressure and possibly cruise control, all the rest are urban legends. You’ll burn more gas following this advice than if you ignored it. Nice move asshat.

  • Dave

    N0# 8 and No#10 is absolutely false.

    Keeping a clean waxed car to improve aerodynamic will have little to no improvement on gas mileage. It will probably cost you more on your time and money to wash and wax the car.

    Cruise Control being more precise then an human foot is false. Cruise Control is basically useless in local or traffic highways. The only time to use it is a flowing high speed highway. And on those, there are plenty of ups and downs, and the cruise control will give sudden gas to accommodate for those hills that causes worst gas mileage than the human foot.

    Lastly, there are risks to No#1. Although it saves gas turn off the gas when idle. But in the long term, your car will have a higher risk for mechanical problems due to more frequent start-up and shut-down. So, the boat rocks both sides on that one.

  • Nick

    You missed the biggest one: Accelerate gradually!

    This can save up to 30% of your fuel. More than all the other “tips” on this list combined.

    • d

      Nick is right on here.
      Think about how far you push your gas pedal when you’re accelerating, and how far you have it pushed when you’re holding the speed limit. There’s a big difference.

      I laugh at people every day as I drive through town. I take off slowly to conserve fuel causing most people to get extremely upset and pass me wide-open-throttle. It never fails – Mr. Rage wasted a big mouthful of fuel and he’s waiting at the next light long before I get there, and I’m right behind him when it turns green. 80% of the time, I can drive to work without ever making a complete stop and winding my engine above 2k rpm. Granted, I do not live in a large metropolis.

      Try it, folks. It’s very effective, and it will make your vehicle last much longer.

  • Crack

    i like these tips i’ll bookmark this on my google tool bar favorites to remind me of these.

  • Rich Ee

    I have been saying for years, *BAN Drive Thrus!!!!!*
    Talk about a waste of gas. People sitting in drive thru lines idling away while I park, WALK and pick up my coffee and still get leave the scene before the person in the drive thru has even ordered.
    How about driving *SLOWER!!!!*
    I drive the speed limit and people pass me like I am standing still. I know my real time fuel consumption monitor states my mileage goes up close to 10mpg by driving 55 instead of 70.
    It is absolutely ridiculous the attitude of some Americans regarding gas. I will not be surprised when we go to world war over this.

  • ROFL

    loled at #8, these are cars, not jets.

    • Jerry

      These all add up, though, and are a part of better mileage.
      Number 8 is correct. Why do you think the maritime industry spends millions of dollars keeping hulls clean? Friction.
      Anything you do to reduce friction helps, albeit not that much in the waxing and cleaning idea, but certainly some, so why not do it?

  • PB

    You might look into what Consumer Reports and the folks at Edmonds.com have to say in this article:
    https://money.cnn.com/2008/05/12/autos/ways_to_not_save_gas/index.htm?postversion=2008051515. They essentially toss out the A/C and air filter arguments. And while the over-inflated tires work, they’re also dangerous.

  • Hyperdriving

    There are many ways to save gas. Hypermiling and Hyperdriving techniques are among the many. Check out https://hyperdriving.com

    • Ewen

      Hypermileage is good ONLY if it is done safely. Most of what I’ve heard and read people do for hypermileage probably isn’t the safest thing to do publically.

      #1 is incorrect. Start-ups require upto 6 TIMES the energy used at idle. Most North American major cities now are starting to have a mandiate that if you’re idling for more than THREE minutes, to shut the engine off, primarily for smog (NOx) emission reasons.

      #4 is also incorrect. Stick to the manufacturer specs. There’s a reason why they’re there. Unless you happen to be a tire engineer. Your tire temperature and pressure will vary slightly during operation anyways, and the manufacturer specifications already take that into account. So, unless you want to indulge yourself on solving the Coulomb friction-1st law of thermo equations; it’s best to leave that to the experts and engineers.

      #6 is partially incorrect. Reducing the unnecessary weight is partially true. Keep a first aid-kit, blankets, some canned food, a candle, a can opener, or other pocket/utility knife. It is part of the emergency survival kit — unless you’re suicidal; then remove it. (Get some help while you’re at it. Changing to lighter weight wheels would only marginally make a difference, and not significantly enough even if you add the compounding effect. Moreover, it will probably degrade your vehicle ride and handling characteristics given that the suspension geometry and kinematics are engineered with the OEM wheels and tires in mind. Altering that sacrifices the safety of yourself and that of other drivers on the road. So, if you want to be responsible for any accidents you may cause because of your criminally negligent behavior, by all means, leave your wheels and tires alone. (Unless you know how to re-engineer your vehicle to accommodate the change.)

      #7 Gasoline weighs approximately 7.5 pounds per gallon (~760 kg/m^3). A 15 gallon tank would approximately weight about 112.5 pounds. So unless you weigh less than your gas tank, chances are; if you want to save weight – don’t bother driving. Otherwise, filling only half your tank means you would be saving 60 pounds out of a 3000+ pound-car (unless you drive a supercar, which can be as little as 2200 pounds, which at that point; you’re probably not too worried about the weight of your fuel tank). You’d be saving less than 2% of your vehicle weight.

      #10 Cruise control typically gets 2-3% WORSE fuel economy than if you were to manually hold your speed. Of course, doing so as precisely as your cruise control does takes a LOT of practice, but one thing that you can do that your vehicle’s cruise control can’t is to take advantage of momentum so that if you’re going downhill (knowing that you will be going uphill very shortly), you can allow your car to exceed the cruise speed and will naturally slow back down when you go uphill. If you don’t have the greatest control of the gas pedal or you tend to have a lead foot — use the cruise control.

  • Troy

    3. Install a real-time fuel consumption meter

    Sounds like a good idea, but I have never seen one. Can someone suggest a make or model? Google doesn’t seem to turn anything up.

    • Jerry


  • Anonymous

    Haha nice advice on investing in oil companies because they are sure going to do well in the future, NAAAT. Alternative fuels, like solar and wind power are playing a HUGE roll in future power technology, go do some research. in 10 or 20 years wind power will power over 20% of the US. I’m sure the wars that will insue over oil will be great for those companies as well. thanks for the advice it was great!

  • Anonymous

    I think this list is significantly flawed. I own a car from 1999 which is rated for 30mpg. I get 60-80mpg regularly with no modifications to the vehicle.
    Idling is not bad. Priming the engine is. Turning an engine on uses a lot of fuel to get started.
    Leave your tires just at the recommended amount. Over inflating them reduces traction. Reduced traction means you can’t take corners well, which means you have to use your brakes, and accelerate again. Take turns as fast as your car will let you, without skidding. Skidding reduces tire life and safety (if you don’t know how to handle it)
    Waxing your car will do almost nothing. The drag created by dirt on the surface of your car is minimal. You’re better off attaching a a plank of wood to the front of the car to make the front more of a point.
    Use cruise control if you want to stay a constant speed. If your speed can fluctuate (minimal traffic), change your speed for the given terrain. Uphill, maintain speed. As is done in bicycle racing, it is better to output energy uphill and lose minimal speed, than to use energy and go as fast as possible downhill. If speed doubles, drag quadruples, meaning you have to output at least 4 times more power, to double your speed. So output power uphill fighting gravity, rather than downhill fighting air.
    Maintain an average speed. Most people have an average speed of around 30mph between city and highway driving. Go 40mph in 35mph zones since cars are typically more efficient at 40 (your mileage may vary, pun intended; try to get a low RPM in the next possible gear if you’re driving an automatic).

    There are much better ways to improve efficiency than this list suggests.

    • Anonymous

      Over inflation leads to skidding? Yes, but not if you are driving with saftey and efficency in mind. The diffrence in traction of a few psi is not going to be noticed unless you are a race car driver, and reguraly go to limits of traction

  • Lori

    Excellent tips, thank you. I had never considered a half a tank of gas! We use Enginall as well and it has helped considerably. Now get 23 instead of 20! That’s pretty significant. Have a safe holiday weekend!

  • Steven

    “Remember, they don’t want you to get good mileage.”

    Really? The car manufacturer wants us to get bad mileage? This contradicts every credible report I’ve ever heard. Furthermore, it isn’t even logical. Why would the manufacturer want poor mileage? In a competitive state with rising gas prices, manufacturers are fighting to get higher mileage. Look at the Prius for example. That is a car dedicated to higher mileage. Neither manufacturers nor tire producers profit from more trips to the gas tank, so that sentence is highly unlikely.

  • r

    i think 6 and 7 only apply when your are accelerating. mass of this magnitude is irrelevant driving when at a (any) constant speed. Also, half a tank of gas probably weighs more like 70 lbs (a gallon of water is like, 8.5 pounds or something).

    I can increase my mileage by about 5mpg if I inflate my tires to the max on the sidewall, not rec’d by car manufacturer. car manufacturer probably rec’s based on tire spring constant at Xpsi for ride.

  • Anonymous

    I put dimples in my car, like the ones on a golf ball, and i get over 300 mpgs – in the city.


    WOW. Complete idiot. Go take some automotive schooling because you don’t know shit. Completely bullshit tips.

  • free2rhymeinme

    I think this article is so stupid and wrong

  • mumu

    Number 1 is wrong for a start, so I didn’t read further. You use more fuel each time you atart the car than by leaving it running a wee while.

  • David

    One thing I notice is never addressed in any of these forums is the requirements for city traffic systems. Many lights in Beaverton essentially force you to press harder on the accelerator, unless you want to wait at the light for yet another cycle (0 mpg). That and I don’t know how many times I’ve been at certain lights where a protected turn is enabled when there is no one there, causing any cars (including myself) waiting at the perpendicular street to have to wait through yet another light cycle…

    A person can only do so much, but the system in place certainly does not encourage any good driving habits to help. As they say, time is money as well and i don’t feel like waiting at lights for an additional 5 minutes per trip since my time is more valuable than the pennies spent on the little extra gas.

  • Stefano

    I’m sorry, but this is, apart from the obvious, complete rubbish. you don’t use the cruise control, you don’t want to turn off the engine, wax your car? Uh, what about keeping the windows down, what about don’t use heated seats and windows, and all of the other gadgets, except from the radio which uses a very little amount of power. And the most common mistake that ruins fuel economy, not looking ahead while driving, using the breaks as little as safely possible. Some minutes of research would’ve helped.

  • Blake

    As a mechanical engineer #8 is about as ridiculous as they come. Its insulting to anyone who knows anything about aerodynamics

    • Jerry

      If you understand surface dynamics you will know that a pitted, dirty surface induces drag, which then results in more effort being expended to keep the vehicle in motion.

      Because skin friction is an interaction between a solid and a gas, the magnitude of the skin friction depends on the properties of both the solid and the gas. For the solid, a smooth, waxed surface produces less skin friction than a roughened surface.

      Admittedly, the transition between laminar and turbulent flow comes into play here, and the overall effectiveness of the clean and waxed surface vs. one that is dirty and pocked may not be readily apparent to the physics tyro.

      It would certainly become an issue for people who travel most at high rates of velocity and for long distances. The overall cumulative effect of the smooth surface would then certainly contribute to some better mileage, albeit perhaps not enough to justify the time and expense of a detail shop, but certainly enough for the do-it-your-selfer who simply wants to maximize his or her mileage.

      All items discussed above are cumulative and none in isolation really make a significant difference. However, combined and executed properly, all will contribute to better mileage in some way.

      Vive le écoulement d’air!

      • Ben

        Aerodynamics is complicated. in some cases have a non smooth surface will reduce drag (golf ball) and some times the opposite is true (Airplanes). Its times like this I wish my grandfather was still around (aeronautical engineer). I would ask him, and he would say “I dont know”. And it would have some authority behind it.

      • car cheap insurance teenager

        seek drinking stupendous heart:howls Bette browbeating?- Tons of interesdting stuff!!!

  • Thomas

    Air filter change every 10,000 miles? You must be driving down dirt roads every day or be a air filter sales rep.

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