Monday, May 12, 2008

Free advice!

Let’s revisit some basic driving techniques for getting the best MPG from the ever-more expensive gasoline you buy.

1. Take advantage of gravity by using every hill you crest, whenever practical, to shift into neutral and coast. This assumes, of course, you have a manual transmission--it might work with an automatic, but I’m not sure.

2. Drive no faster than 60 on the highway, at least for trips of less than an hour. I know the road gets monotonous when tooling along at 60 for hours on end, but for relatively short commutes, it really helps mileage.

3. Try to keep your vehicle moving, even if it’s only a couple miles an hour, rather than coming to a complete stop at red lights. This takes a bit of practice, and it’s not always doable, but it is worth your time.

4. Slightly over inflate your tires. I keep my tires inflated to three pounds over the recommended pressure, and I check them every two weeks, although weekly wouldn’t be overkill, especially in cold weather.

5. Accelerate at a moderate pace. If you have a tachometer (I do not), I have heard it should not rise above 2000 RPM when you accelerate to get the best mileage.

6. Get a tune-up. I’ll have to admit this is one I need to do ASAP. I bought some high-performance spark plugs to be installed when I do get the tune-up; we’ll see if they were worth the extra cost.

7. Use synthetic oil, which is supposed to make for slipperier engine-part surfaces and, hence, less internal resistance. According to experts, this will translate into better mileage. I haven’t tried this one yet.

8. Change your air filter regularly. I did notice a tiny bump up in mileage when I changed my air filter.

That’s about all I can think of. If you have anything constructive to add to this list, please post it in the comments section.

Take care.

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