Facts and myths about how to get the most mileage out of your car

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Image:BP bensinstasjon, Nøtterøy.JPG
Another example of why high prices for oil and gas for the next while may be a good idea. These articles on how to save the most money on gas are popping up everywhere, and they would have been unthinkable five years ago. This one from the Washington Post goes over some of the methods talked about to get the most distance out of a tank of gas, and which ones are real and which are myths. My favourite is this one:

Q: Should you avoid using the air-conditioner when driving on the highway?

A: No. It is fuel-efficient to drive with your windows down if you are driving in your neighborhood at 25 miles per hour, says Diane MacEachern, author of "Beat High Gas Prices Now!" But if you're driving on the highway, "keeping your windows down creates drag on the car which slows the car down and the car uses more gasoline to gear it up to highway speeds," she says. MacEachern also recommends switching off the air conditioning, radio, lights and windshield wipers before turning off the engine, so that they don't come on automatically when you start the car. This improves the overall efficiency of the car, she says. Goss adds that this is only true for cars that are more than 25 years old.
This other one is also quite simple:
Q: Can removing excess weight from a car help?

A: Yes. "How much stuff do you haul around?" asks Pisarski. Make sure you are not carrying unnecessary weight in your trunk. Remove the golf clubs, the tennis rackets, the cycle rack, the extra pair of shoes, etc. Also, remove your roof rack. Sure, it looks cool to advertise that you like to go camping, but having it will cut into your gas mileage, say Click and Clack. But don't remove your spare -- it's there for your safety and you may need it.

In fact, it's so simple that every country in the world should organize a week-long campaign to promote this. "Get rid of stuff from your car week", where the president/prime minister talks about the subject every day, and politicians and environmental groups make their way around talk shows to go over the subject and remind everyone in the country that they should take heavy stuff out of their car. It's the easiest thing in the world to do, and a campaign like this would cost nothing. Maybe Al Gore should do this in the US.


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