April 3, 2011

Economizing and Fuel

By Debra Carney
Driver License Supervisor
Office of Driver Services
Davenport, Iowa

NEWS FOR YOU….from the Iowa Department of Transportation

Fuel prices seem to rise daily. They are expected to reach $4 per gallon within the next few months, with oil industry watchers saying prices could reach $5 per gallon in 2012.

How you drive has a definite effect on the amount of fuel that your car burns. Did you know that you can increase your gas savings by as much as 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent around town by simply driving at a steady pace? Fast accelerations dump fuel into the engine, but since the fuel is not completely burned gas mileage goes down. Just increasing your speed from 50 to 70 mph increases fuel consumption by 30 percent.

Here are a few additional fuel consumption tips:
• Avoid excessive idling. Idling more than one minute uses more gas than it takes to restart the engine.
• Don’t warm up your car for long periods of time. Your engine will warm up faster by accelerating gently as soon as the oil pressure is up.
• Don’t rev up your motor before shutting off your engine. Doing this only dumps gasoline into the cylinder walls and washes away the protective oil film.
• Don’t use your air conditioner as much. When running your air conditioner you lose about 9 percent fuel efficiency and up to 20 percent during stop and go driving.
• Remove unnecessary weight from your car. An extra 100 lbs. can decrease fuel economy by more than 1 to 2 percent.
• Keep your tires properly inflated. Driving on underinflated tires can lower fuel economy by an average of 3.75 percent.
• Use the recommended grade of motor oil. You can improve your gas mileage by one to two percent by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.
• Keep your engine properly tuned. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. Fixing serious maintenance problems, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

It’s simple. If you reduce gas consumption, you save money and conserve energy. Start reducing and conserving today!