Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cover Your Assets at the Gas Pump

I don't drive, but I do own a car, which is driven by my husband. (I plan to get my driving permit soon.)

Once I recover from my fear of driving, I plan to test a few theories about saving money at the gas pump. In the meantime, I like this release that I received yesterday from authors Kenny Joines and Ron Hollenbeck, who have written The Gas Mileage Bible

Here is the release. It's an interesting release, albeit a tad long. If you have limited time read at least the first section of quick suggestions. Come back later and read the full text:

"Protect Your Pocketbook at the Pump

"With gas prices reaching $3.00 per gallon and higher across the nation, most of us are worried about the impact on our pocketbooks.

The Gas Mileage Bible is packed with 45 easy to use actions people can take to squeeze more miles out of every gallon and pay less at the pump, whether they are traveling this summer or just tired of paying so much for gas. Among the numerous tips:

1. Keep your engine tuned and well maintained. Get a tune-up and exhaust gas analysis.

2. Keep your tires filled properly – if the tire pressure is low, you will increase your gas consumption significantly.

3. Use high quality synthetic oil in your engine.

4. Replace your factory paper air filter with a High Flow Replacement Air Filter.

5. Make sure your wheels are aligned to reduce rolling resistance.

6. Lighten your vehicle weight - Remove all unnecessary baggage and payload from your vehicle.

7. Apply synthetic bearing grease to your wheel bearings.

8. Use high quality synthetic oil in your transmission, differential and transfer case.

9. Make your vehicle more aerodynamic – take off anything that increases wind resistance like luggage racks or car top carriers. If you have a pick up truck, drive with the tailgate up (in a closed position).

10. Keep your air conditioning turned off when it is not hot.

11. Keep your fuel filter clean and replace it regularly.

12. Ensure your power steering fluid and belts are properly maintained.

13. Make sure you are using the proper coolant in your vehicle.

14. Buy the lowest octane grade of fuel recommended for your vehicle.

15. Check your gas cap and make sure it doesn’t leak air.

16. Check your spark plugs and replace them with high quality spark plugs and ignition cables.

The Gas Mileage Bible
By Kenny Joines and Ron Hollenbeck
180 pages 5.5 in by 8.5 in
trade soft cover or ebook formats
ISBN 0-7414-3059-2

[Frugal Duchess comment: stop here and come back when you have more time]

“The most important thing to do is change your attitude and choose to make a difference,” Ron Hollenbeck says. “At $3.00 a gallon, even small improvements and some changes in driving behavior can make a substantial difference very quickly.”

Hollenbeck and Joines have identified over 40 individual actions that vehicle owners and drivers can use to improve gas mileage, save money and be more earth friendly. Their “L.E.D. Method” summarizes three main categories of ideas and actions for getting better fuel economy:

L stands for Losses that you can reduce that are due to friction, wind resistance and rolling resistance. Reducing the losses allows your vehicle to travel further with each gallon of gas.

E is for Efficiency that you can improve so that you get the maximum amount of energy can out of each gallon of gas.

D is for Driver since your driving technique can result in improved gas mileage by over 30%.

All their ideas are based on sound scientific energy saving principles that anyone can use. Here is a typical case in point:

The owner of a typical SUV that gets 12 miles per gallon, drives 15,000 miles per year and costs $3.00 per gallon will spend $3,750 dollars in a year.

If the owner improves his gas efficiency by 30 percent so that his car gets 15.6 miles per gallon, then his gas cost for the year will be $2885, and can save more than $865 in gas.

Hollenbeck and Joines say that the single most important thing people can do to reduce gas consumption is actually really simple, but it’s also the hardest thing to do.

All you’ve got to do is… Drive as if you have an egg under your gas pedal.

Acceleration and fast driving burns gas faster than anything else. Instead of pushing the curve and going as fast as you can, slow down. Come up to cruising speed slowly, and coast to a stop. On the hills down, use gravity. On the hills up, don’t accelerate, just take it easy. Instead of tailgating, slow down and leave space in front of your car as a buffer to minimize sudden braking. The even pace will be more relaxing and safer. You’ll also be astounded at how much money you will save.

The EPA has data that shows that for each 5 mph over 60 mph, it is like paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas. Or, another way to look at it, for every 10% faster you go over 50 mph requires an additional 10 to 20% of fuel.

Driving at 55 miles per hour can thus save you 20 to 25 percent of your costs for gas. Drive in the right lane, except if you have to pass.

One thing is for sure, that if you go gunning around town, your mileage will drop as much as 37% and will drive your costs way, way up.

Added benefits to improving your gas mileage are increased performance, reduced maintenance, increased vehicle life, reduced emissions and greenhouse gases, and conservation of a rapidly diminishing natural resource - oil. So, according to Joines and Hollenbeck, getting better gas mileage not only helps protect your pocketbook, it is also the socially and environmentally responsible thing to do.

In a recent emissions test, a vehicle that had many of the tips in this book applied to it had reductions in hydrocarbons, which are essentially unburned fuel, and carbon monoxide emissions of over 90%. Dangerous nitrous oxide emissions were reduced to zero.

Joines and Hollenbeck also warn about fuel saving gimmicks and gadgets that don’t work. There are many fuel additives, pills, magnets and devices out there being pushed on the uneducated public. Some of these products are outright fraud, while others don’t make a big difference in your gas mileage. A recent example of this is the Texas lawsuit brought against BioPerformance, Inc., maker of fuel additives that have been shown to actually reduce your mileage. Consumers are also warned to be cautious about multilevel marketing schemes that have cropped up around these gas saving gimmicks.

The Gas Mileage Bible also identifies and analyzes the different types of automobile engine modifications you might want to consider. These include things like air intake and exhaust systems, electric cooling fans, throttle body spacers, and other more costly engine improvements that are available on the market.

For more information visit"

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