I Want Better Gas Mileage

Tips For Better Gas Mileage

Need quality car parts... Try Breakeryard!

Much like you, I spend far too much of my life cringing at the thought of filling my gas tank. Though I can't change the prices themselves, I can (and have!) come up with ways to increase my mileage while decreasing the amount of miles I have to drive. In the articles on this site, I share a few tips and tricks that can go a long way in lessening the impact the fuel pump has on your wallet. I hope you can use the knowledge within to save at least some bit of personal sanity.

Archive for April, 2008

Posted by admin on April 30, 2008

Improving Gas Mileage

Hybrid vehicles are better equipped to save fuel. Apart from being light-weight and has an efficient fuel system, the hybrid vehicle utilizes many tricks to increase the fuel efficiency. While some of these tricks can help any type of vehicle to produce better fuel efficiency, the hybrid vehicle is best equipped to produce better Gas Mileage. To extract maximum output out of a gallon of gasoline, a hybrid vehicle can:

  • Recover the exhausting energy and re-store it in the accompanying battery – It works this way: Whenever you apply the brake pedal in your vehicle, some energy is expelled from the vehicle. A fast-moving vehicle produces more kinetic energy. When you apply the brakes, this kinetic energy is removed and heat is produced. A hybrid engine can capture this heat and store it back in the batteries to use it later. The electric motor slows the vehicle when the brakes are applied and this electric motor acts like a generator to charge the batteries while the vehicle slows down.
  • A hybrid engine does not require the gasoline engine continuously while the vehicle is in motion. It utilizes the electric motor and batteries at certain times and thus saves precious gasoline. The hybrid, for example, uses the electric power at the red light, stops the gasoline engine and saves fuel.
  • With the advent of modern computers, the structural changes of the vehicle have vastly improved. Aerodynamic designs of the vehicle produces less drag on the vehicle, called the aerodynamic drag, and enhances fuel saving. The outer body is designed in such a way that there are few objects, compared to the older vehicles, to disturb the optimum airflow, thus producing minimal aerodynamic drag on the vehicle.
  • The vehicle itself uses better alloys that are stronger and lighter in weight. This reduction in the vehicle’s weight, while preserving the strength of the vehicle, increases fuel economy. Hybrid vehicles also uses special type of tires that are stronger and inflated at higher pressure to produces less drag and better road grip and smoother ride. In this way, the low-resistance and smoother ride produces excellent gas mileage with the hybrid design enhanced by the modern technology.
  • An electric-gasoline hybrid engine has two power sources. In some vehicles, the combination is used as a parallel hybrid. The vehicle has a fuel tank that supplies gasoline to the engine, while the set of batteries supply power to the electric motor. The engine and the electric motor turn the transmission at the same time and this transmission turns the wheels.
  • In a series hybrid engine, the gasoline engine turns a generator, and the generator can either charge the batteries or power an electric motor that drives the transmission. The gasoline engine never directly gives power to the vehicle.
  • Thus, the hybrid car design utilizes two sources of power and gives us a great vehicle which is not only a safer car, but also saves our natural resources – the gasoline. This hybrid technology is the immediately available answer to the global pollution.
Posted by admin on April 23, 2008

Do You Really Need Premium Gasoline?

It’s hard to believe in today’s economy, but some people won’t put anything less than premium gasoline in their cars.  They feel that their car runs better on premium, and that it’s ultimately worth the 10 or 20 cents more than regular unleaded that it costs them.

But is it true that spending extra on gas mileage can actually be good for your car?  With gas prices at a record high, is it ever a good idea to opt for the more expensive premium? The answer is “Yes… sometimes.”

There are only a few situations where your car actually needs premium.  But in those few circumstances, it’s a must-have – using anything else can damage your engine.  On the other hand, using premium when you don’t need it won’t hurt your car – but it will hurt your budget.

To determine if your car needs premium gas, you need to know about the anti-knock index (AKI) or octane rating.  You’ve probably seen these numbers on the buttons at the gas pumps, but how many of you know what they actually mean? Regular unleaded has an AKI of 87; premium has a rating of 91 to 93.  The higher the number, the more protection the gasoline gives your car from engine knock.

Engine knock is more accurately called “pre-ignition.” It takes place when the gasoline in the cylinder ignites on its own before the spark plug ignites it.  The sound of it is unmistakable – something like marbles being shaken in a tin can. Knocking will eventually cause damage to the engine, since it’s essentially an explosion of the fuel and air mixing together and pushing downward on the piston.  Premium gas helps prevent this damage because it’s less volatile and burns more slowly than unleaded, and it takes more heat before it starts the ignition process.

So how do you know if your car needs the more expensive premium brand? Here’s how to find out:

1) If your car makes a knocking sound when you press down on the gas pedal, you might try experimenting with premium.  If the knocking disappears, then you know that you need premium. If your car has a lot of miles on it and the engine has a considerable amount of carbon deposits, it’s more likely to require premium gas.

2) Many times, your car’s owner’s manual will settle the question for you. If it says that you must use premium, then that’s what you’ll have to use. However, if it leaves the option to you, or does not specify, you’ll have to figure out on your own whether to try a higher octane gas.

3) If your only reason for using premium is to keep your engine clean, think again.  The higher octane of premium fuel, in and of itself, will not keep your engine any cleaner – despite what the oil companies want you to think. They frequently advertise that their gasoline is designed to clean fuel injectors, restore engine power, and offer other benefits.  However, there is little evidence that fuel additives do much in the way of cleaning your engine – there’s just not enough of the cleaner in there to make that much of a difference.

So the bottom line is, with gas prices so high, now’s not the time to experiment with higher cost fuels.  Save yourself a little extra money and stick with unleaded unless you know that your car needs something a little better.

Posted by admin on April 16, 2008

E85 Ethanol Vehicles

With the gasoline crossing the $100 per barrel and the dependence on the Gulf for the nations fuel needs, a need for restructure in the conventional gasoline engine was imminent.

President Bush and Detroit’s automobile manufacturers are positive on using E85 ethanol fuel. According to the sources, E85 ethanol fuel will put the United States on the road to fuel economy and energy independence.

These days, there is increase in the models that can run on this E85 ethanol fuel. These include cars, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks. The leader is General Motors with a dozen E85 ethanol capable vehicle models. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan are following General Motors and are producing better models having the E85 ethanol capable engines. In 2007, 27 different models are E85 ethanol-capable. That’s triple the number available in the year 2000, and 7 more models than from the year 2006.

Regardless of make, model, or engine all these vehicles can still run on conventional gasoline or the E85-ethanol blend with no modification and no difference in performance. This flexibility has given the vehicles a new nickname, the flex-fuel vehicles. E85 ethanol fuel costs approximately the same per gallon as conventional 87-octane gasoline. Also, there are no extra charges for E85-ethanol capability. But, the benefits of using E85 ethanol are nullified at present by reduced fuel economy and a scarcity of E85 ethanol fueling stations. At present, these E85 ethanol-capable vehicles mostly comprises of only trucks and SUVs, although there are a few rental shops who are starting to convert their automobiles.

Ethanol is derived from plant material, corn mostly. E85 is a blend of combustible motor-vehicle fuel containing 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent conventional unleaded gasoline. Ethanol is touted as a renewable energy source that has the potential to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, especially fuel imported from the Gulf where the United States has very little political control to keep the prices down for long. Also, since the raw materials for E85 ethanol capable fuel come mostly from U.S. farms and are distilled in U.S. refineries, the fuel is completely national in origin, saving precious foreign exchange, and gives 100 percent control of its production in the US hands. This also reduces the present-time stress on the United State’s trade balance and reduces the tax dollar.

American automobile manufacturers have adopted the E85 ethanol under the comprehensive energy conservation and independence plan. Already having built several million E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles over the last decade, GM, Ford, and the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep group say they plan to put a combined total of 2 million more on the road each year, starting in 2007. Their top executives have lobbied for increased government support of ethanol production. And the companies fund campaigns to promote the use of E85 ethanol and the installation of more E85 ethanol pumps at gas stations.

With several million E85 ethanol flex-fuel vehicles built over the last decade, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, and the Jeep group are now planning to produce more than 2 million E85 ethanol capable vehicles each year, starting in 2007. There are plans for more E85 ethanol pumps at the existing and proposed gas stations all over the country.

It is now to be seen how the automobile companies are going to overcome the known and unknown harmful air pollution effects of E85 ethanol, and how a sustained growth of the ethanol rich crop is produced. But, to credit the technological advances and the need to find a suitable energy source, these limitations will be overcome over the next few years.