Glad you all like the list. If there's a better one, I'm all for putting it up. This one, however, I don't think is better. I put a high priority on convenience. I surely don't do everything on the list, but did want to try to at least mention everything worth mentioning and perhaps a few not worth mentioning, and try to rank them. Pumping up tires is easy, that's why it's at the top. Changing oil isn't too big a deal, and that's why it's near the top. Throwing out seats, however, is a definite sacrifice. I thought about things like walking instead of driving, but wanted to take it as a given that you had to drive (for whatever reason), and so this should be about how to get more FE, and not be about how to avoid having to drive.
spinningmarkviii: Sure would be nice if we had a lab full of scientists with time and money to carefully test out gas saving ideas and ferret out all the details of under what conditions a change saves gas or doesn't save gas, or has undesirable side effects like being too dangerous, or wearing out or damaging tires, engines, trannies, or causing excessive pollution, and so on. Of course we don't have such resources, but we can and do test out ideas as best we can.
Certainly the car industry hasn't made FE a priority, nor has the buying public, or perhaps there would be more research and less uncertainty. Maybe we'd have cars that automatically shut down when stopped and automatically and efficiently restart when the driver presses the gas pedal, automatics that are as FE as manuals so we wouldn't have to bother with clutch pedals and gear shifts, smart alternators that charge only when efficient to do so, and so on. And maybe we wouldn't have anti-FE marketing fluff like those worthless fins and spoilers that some people think makes a car look cooler, hood ornaments, or vinyl tops (meaning, a vinyl layer on top of metal), or just plain bad aerodynamics for the sake of looks. We do a lot of things manually that we shouldn't have to do manually. It's a pain. But you should do it if you want to get those extra miles per gallon.
Luckily, FE and performance often go together, so we can borrow a lot from the performance aftermarket.
Yes, toll roads should be freed. I've seen the horrendous backups tolling causes on the Dallas North Tollway. Even though most people have "toll tags", enough have to stop and pay cash that during rush hour they block up all the lanes anyway and force all those with toll tags to wait along with them. Also, a lot of people will spend the extra time and gas it costs to use the free service road rather than pay a toll. Toll collection further spoils the usefulness because a lot of trips that would make sense on a free road don't on a toll road. For instance, it's seldom worth getting on to skip just one light-- some tolling is so awkwardly set up you might have to stop and pay to get on, and stop and pay again to get off.
I prefer increasing the gas tax to imposing tolls with all their overhead an inefficiencies. I also prefer the gas tax from an incentive point of view. A Hummer pays the same toll as a Metro. No incentive there to use more FE transportation. I DON'T like it that every time I pay a toll, I'm in effect subsidizing someone else's extravagance. Those with lighter vehicles should pay a lower toll than those with heavier vehicles.
Don't you know why golf balls have dimples? Those dimples reduce drag. The same concept works on cars or anything else being pushed through air. I have seen dimples used on an electric car. Do you think they would have put those dimples on if they didn't help or didn't know whether they helped?
yes but you drive a car that has been getting 20mpg and the difference saved between getting a car that gets 40mpg will be closer to a savings of over $650 a year. 40mpg cars are not too hard to come across for less than $2500. also gas will not be costing less than $3 for much longer. its not even available here for less than $2.70
i would love to see the statistics on that, but before that, i would love to see how it could make sense in your mind.
In my mind I believe I can get 30 mpg in my current car without much more money spent. Going diesel currently will cost me 20 cents more per gallon(may change once summer hits), any gasoline car that gets above 30 I would be afraid to drive. Unless it was a much newer vehicle in which case it would cost more and offset my gas savings. Gas going to 5 dollars a gallon will more than likely change my decision, but for now I will put my money in the bank .
I was looking at the cost of a vehicle that I would feel safe in, namely a larger diesel car. ie. an older mercedes. In which case it would not apply to everyone, most people I have observed don't mind driving a small car but it scares me.
My take on the window weight is that a small motor would not need as many gears and bars to make a window go up as something that is mounted in a door panel, hence not weighing as much. But my main point is that it was stated as a fact and I believe it is still out for jury.
I thought I had seen a site on google talking about it but cannot locate it now.
It's been a while since I have gotten to discuss things like this on a forum, nice to have some other people to chime in with!
Excuse me for nitpicking, my defenses go up when someone comes in and claims superiority yet seems to offer nothing more. I appreciate and welcome any new information you can bring me and I will glean it willingly.
Well, first of all I would like to say "welcome". You seem to have a lot of knowledge, and I think you would have a lot to offer this forum. So I really hope you stick around and participate, vs having some of us scare you off.
However, you really need to learn the difference between "having a good B.S. detector", and "having a closed mind". While it's good to be skeptical of some ideas that don't (on the surface) make sense (i.e. having a mind so "open" that it's essentially "empty" isn't a good thing), you really should try to "keep an open mind" until the evidence pro or con has come in (and been reviewed). Because a mind that is too closed to new ideas, really isn't a good thing either.
And on that front, I really feel we need to pick apart your opinion on the following (all related) topics you brought up (as the evidence really is "on our side" with these mods. which you listed as "retarded", "horrible", etc):
Originally Posted by Spinningmarkviii
2) Solar cells for your battery, this will not decrease alternator load by any reasonable amount and is generally a retarded idea. The costs GREATLY outweighs the savings if there are any at all because of the weight you added and the cost of this mod. Genuinely horrible idea.
3) Get rid of your alternator completely and charge your battery. Horrible idea again. Not going to explain it, wouldn't work, blah blah blah.
4) Limit power use. Obviously not thought this one out . First, you overestimate the alternator load this causes. Enjoy your radio. The cooler air form driving at night will likely net you better mpg that the load caused by using your headlights... seriously think this out.
All of these mods are based upon the fact that virtually all electric power in a car ultimately comes from the alternator (the battery just stores up and buffers that power). And since the alternator is an electromechanical generator (that turns physical motion energy into electrical energy), it has to follow the physical laws that govern all electromechanical generators. And included in those physical laws, is the fact that you don't get something for nothing (you just get to turn one form of energy, i.e. mechanical motion, into another form of energy, i.e. electrical power), and the more electricity you need/get out, the more mechanical energy (which in a car translates to mechanical drag on the engine) you have to put in. So lowering electrical loads on the alternator (either by conserving electrical power in the car, or finding a different source of electrical power that can offset some or all of the power from the car's alternator) has to translate into lower mechanical drag (by the alternator) on the engine (the physical laws of nature don't allow any other outcome to be the case)!
So if you look at this critically, there really shouldn't be any doubt that lowering electrical usage and/or providing some other (non-alternator) source of electrical power, should translate to better gas mileage (because that will lower the mechanical drag the alternator puts on the engine, and due to that lower engine drag from the alternator, require the engine to use less gas to do the other work it is designed to do).
The only real question remaining, is how big is the benefit, and is it "worth it" (i.e. "cost effective") to go after that benefit. And that's where "doing the math", along with some easy practical (scientific) experiments, can really help to clarify things. And while the results are mixed as to it being "worth it" (it depends a lot on the details of how you are modifying things, how much electrical usage your vehicle is using, and even the current "price of gas"), these mod are clearly not "stupid" (something of an "engineering challenge" yes, but not "stupid"). Consider some of the facts already known (and shown) by various gassavers members:
1) It doesn't take much logic/reasoning to realize that the best possible fuel economy help you could hope to get by electrical mods (unless you convert more of your vehicle over to electrical power, and thereby lower the other drags on the gas engine even more) would be gotten if/when you eliminate 100% of your alternator's drag on the engine. Eliminating 100% if the alternator drag is the theoretical "best case" for these mods (if you were to manage to get 100% of the possible benefit from these mods). So it's helpful to know how big the gain could be. Thankfully there are two different ways to arrive at that "theoretical best case" number, that are easy enough for a talented "do it yourselfer" to do.
One approach is to just "do the math". The conversion factors between mechanical power (i.e. horse power used) and electrical power (i.e. watts used) are well known (just look them up in a good physics book). So the "cost" of that electrical power in the car should be "easily" calculated by simply converting the watts used (in the car) into mechanical "horse power" drag on the engine, and then further subtract out any conversion (efficiency) losses, and any storage (battery) losses from the number you previously arrived at, to get a rough idea of how much engine HP it takes to get the electricity you are using. The resulting number should be pretty close to "the real cost" of what your electrical power is costing you in lowered fuel economy (i.e. more gas used).
And the other way to arrive at this number is even easier. Just "run the experiment", and test how much less fuel is used when the alternator isn't hooked up. While it may not be practical to fully disconnect the alternator for long periods of time (unless some other source of electrical power replaces it), it's very easy/practical to disconnect the alternator for shorter periods of time, and just use the battery to supply the needed electrical power during the test. So this is a very easy test to run, if you have good instrumentation to measure fuel usage during the test.
And guess what? Some gassavers members have done just that (either "run the numbers" or "did the experiment", or both), and "the best case" numbers (if/when you could eliminate all alternator drag) seemed to come in somewhere in the 5% - 20% range, depending upon the exact makeup of the car, including how much electricity was previously being used in that vehicle. i.e. Fully disconnecting the alternator resulted in 5% - 20% (around 10% was common with a lot of vehicles) better "gas mileage" than the normal situation in a car. And while there are other things you can do to save even more gas, that tells us that there is still great potential to get better fuel economy with these mods.
2) Mechanical load (on the mechanical power source) of electrical generators (and remember, a car's "alternator" is such a "generator") is known (again laws of physics, not to mention many easy/practical tests can demonstrate this fact) to be proportional to the electrical "load" on the generator.
The main truth that fact tells us, is that even if/when we can't totally eliminate the power load on the alternator, lowering the load has to give us a proportional portion of our total "best case" benefit! And this also gives us a good way to calculate/estimate how much benefit we get, based upon the percentage of total "best case" electrical improvement we make. So we not only get partial benefit for achieving some percentage electrical improvement (either by lowering the electrical loads, or providing some other electrical power source to handle some of the load that the alternator previously was), we even have an easy valid way to calculate about how much benefit to expect from any given electrical change!
So at this point, the mods all come down to "running the numbers", and seeing in which cases it is cheaper (i.e. more "cost effective") to lower electrical usage and/or provide an alternate source of electrical power, than it is to just do the "normal thing" and let the alternator provide that electricity (which ultimately is paid for by using more gas for the engine to compensate for the additional electrical drag).
And that's where it is more of a YMMV thing. While not every approach that various gassvers members have tried ultimately was "cost effective" (some actually cost noticeably more than just getting that electricity from the alternator, by using a little gas in the engine), that doesn't make the idea "stupid". Rather, what it means is that we have an "engineering challenge" to produce (or save) the electricity by a means that is "cheaper" than the alternator produces that same power (by means of gas used by the engine). And there are several potential ways to do that, that are far from "stupid" (and have the potential to be very "cost effective"). And this "engineering challenge" (to be "cost effective" in producing and/or saving electrical power) becomes even more easy to meet, as the cost of electrical power from the alternator goes up (and as the price of gas goes up, the costs of electrical power from the alternator go up a proportional amount with the gas price increase)! For example:
A) If you have batteries that can meet all your vehicle's electrical needs for a day (or more), than you could totally disconnect the alternator (i.e. 100% of the theoretical benefit) and simply have some way (such as plugging the batteries into a charger when you are at home) to charge those batteries back up. The "costs" of this approach are the electricity to charge the batteries up (you have to pay the power company something for the watts of power you use at your house) along with purchase price (and "wear and tear") on the batteries used. Some gasavers members have "run the numbers" and discovered that this doesn't make economic sense with normal car "starter batteries" (due to how costly the "wear and tear" on such batteries would be, when used this way), but it can (at least in theory) be "cost effective" if the right "deep cycle" battery pack and charging circuits were to be used instead. Obviously, there is a real $$$ cost for "higher tech" batteries and charging circuits, but some combinations of battery technologies do show clearcut positive gains (over the expected life of the batteries), using this approach (which is hardly surprising, as this is just a smaller version of the electrical challenges faced by designers of pure electrical cars, and we know that such challenges can be overcome with the proper engineering)!
B) Conserving power is often cheaper than the effort to produce more power (even for homes connected to the power grid, and electricity generation in a car is considerably more costly, in terms of costs per killowatt of power, than the cost of home "electrical grid" power). And it's also true that (traditionally) users of car electrical power have been much more poorly designed (in terms of electrical energy efficiency) than many appliances in your home. For both of these reasons (higher cost per watt to get the power, and overall lower electrical energy efficiency of those consumers of the power), it stands to reason the "power conservation" on a car can be one cheap way to lower the electrical drag on the engine. This is one key reason why converting power hungry car (incandescent) lights over to energy effecient LEDs, can have an extra benefit of better gas mileage (in addition to their more pure color output, and the fact that they almost never burn out). And converting lights to LEDs is just the most obvious place to "conserve electrical power" in your car. And again, the more (percentage wise) that you lower your car's electrical load, the closer you will come to that ideal of disconnecting your alternator entirely.
C) And yet another way to lower the load on the alternator, is to offset some (or all) of the power produced by the alternator with an alternate source of electricity generation (that doesn't ultimately come from drag on the engine). And guess what? Solar power is essentially "free", once you buy (and install) the solar cells. And we all know that solar power can make cost effective sense (long term, over the expected life of the solar cells) even with a power grid connected house. And since the cost of electricity (from the traditional "alternator" approach) in a car is considerably higher than the cost of most "electrical grid" power, it stands to reason that the benefits in a car should actually be HIGHER (i.e. faster "pay back time") than in a house! About the only things to watch out for with solar are the extra weight and aerodynamic drag of the solar cells. But with quality solar cells the weight "cost" is pretty minimal (for example, you can easily get a panel rated for 20watts that weighs only 6lbs). And your "aerodynamic drag" cost depends entirely upon how you mount those cells (mount those cells correctly, and you won't increase the car's aerodynamic drag at all)! So solar is (surprising as it sounds) a potentially very viable (and cost effective) electrical power source to add to a car!
And has been pointed out in other forum threads, those aren't the only potential sources of power savings (and therefore gas savings) that you can do. But the main point is that once you realize that electrical power does cost some gas (i.e. is NOT free), you then have the tools to look for other means to meet that electrical need, and evaluate the "cost effectiveness" of those alternate approaches!
Your description of the solar cell mod as "retarded" is actually pretty funny. As it turned out, I think I was the first person who proposed the idea on this forum (I guess that would make me "the head retarded one"?). And while I haven't yet personally purchased a solar panel for my car (although I plan to do so shortly, as I think I've now found which solar panel is a decent size for fitting in my car, produces enough power to be somewhat worthwhile, and doesn't cost a total "arm and a leg"), I have done other "electrical power saving" changes (including converting many of my car lights over to LEDs) with good results. And as far as me being "retarded", well...
As it turns out I'm far from "retarded". In fact, my intelligence is surprisingly high (it's been tested as being above the 98th percentile, if you were wondering). And while I'm not an electrical engineer by trade (I work with computers for a living), I none-the-less learned enough about electrical engineering in high school and college to have a real clue as to how such things work.
So just because the auto-industry has traditionally ignored the real "cost" of electrical power in a car (my guess would be because they have "always done things that way", so stopped looking at alternatives to that design), doesn't mean that there isn't a real "cost" that electrical engineering can prove is there. And using non-conventional means (such as solar cells) to lower the fuel cost of that electricity (especially now that gas prices are raising so much) can be worthwhile to do.
And really, anyone who thinks pursuing such gains is "retarded", is actually saying more about themselves, than the people facing those engineering challenges. As to me, I just laughed off your "retarded" remark, and shook my head. After all, science and engineering are on our side with this issue...
9) (Automatic transmissions) Shift into neutral and rolling up to stop lights. CAUTION: Shifting into neutral at high speeds (and low speeds) for any distance can be very bad as in automatic transmissions a drum inside will no longer receive lubrication and can explode causing VERY costly and time consuming repairs. Although it is fine at like 10-15 mph for a few feet, or while at a stop light. Do NOT do this at a substantial speed. I know this from drag racing experience where people have blown up their transmissions by shifting into neutral after a pass.
Okay... mechanics rookie here!! Help please... I know little to nothing about the inner workings of a car. LOL.
On my drive home, there is a substanial hill which I usually coast off of. The speed on this road is 55, and it's a two lane road. Usually the traffic is minimal so I can speed up to 55, shift into Neutral and let it coast. I get up to 70 or so, but I need the extra speed. My car is an automatic but it coasts really well. I let it coast for nearly a mile or so, since the latter half of the coast is 25 mph, so as you can see, the speed loss works perfectly into me maintaining the speed limit all throughout the coast. I think this helps greatly with FE, but is this something I should stop doing? I never shift it back into D once I let it coast.
Anyone with knowledge on this? It would be appreciated!
I've been doing it for a long time. He's flat out wrong. The instances he's citing are with drag racing cars with transmissions build for racing and engines that are designed to go past 50k rpms. If you drop into neutral with your engine going at 50000 rpms and your car going 150 mph, yeah, things will get ****ed up, but not at normal driving and engine speeds. Even shifting back into D is fine if you give it a rev match. The only issue is that if the engine is off, the tranny doesn't get lubricated, but there is more than enough oil left in the gears IMO to be able to handle EOC'ing for the mile or so that you do it. I EOC every time I get into my car and have almost 130k miles on my transmission.
Well I drag race a lot and I have seen stupid people blow their trans by shifting into N at the end of the run. The difference is the engine is off so the oil quits pumping in the trans. So obviously going 150mph in N with the engine off means death to the trans. If the engine is running then you can run in N all day long with no issues. I have actually done that towing an automatic I let the engine idle with the trans in N so I could tow the car with a tow dolly at full speeds on the highway. I towed it for 6 hours to get it home on the highway with the engine idling the whole time. The car went well past 100k miles after that and is still running after I got rid of it cause I see it on the road every once in a while.
I possibly will also be taking the alternator off my car this summer and going to solar panels Anyone serious about getting the absolute best mileage possible is going to remove their alternator and supplement their charging with solar panels, The assumption that it is not beneficial is silly. The only thing is it is pretty expensive so from a strictly economic perspective it isn't worth it. This summer my car will be long past being economic after everyone sees what I am going to do to it.
All of the gas saving idea at this forum are *your results may vary!* What works for one, may or may not work for another. Many of the concepts these people are bold and adventurous new ways to get better FE. You defiantly need to "think outside of the box" for some if these ideas. This forum explores and discusses them, like no other.
IE warm air intake VS cold air. It helps FE on some, others it decreases FE, according to testing by the members here. (IMO if the engine was tuned for warm that would help, but not easy to do) Anyway, I have owned 8 different cars and trucks in the last 4 years. They are different.
Originally Posted by Spinningmarkviii
You people are ridiculous attempting to pick apart everything I have just said. Many of the things you are assuming are just wrong or you pick apart them even though you don't know the answer yourself.
If you do not like my info, you don't have to use it. I was just posting it for the general good of people here. I have taken the ideas I want to take such as air dam blocking and wheel well covers and will try them.
Man, no offence, can't you see, you are being hypercritical? You started this thread picking apart the "Best to Worst List."
Also If YOU didn't like the info on the stickies, you don't have to use it....... and so on.
85 Chevrolet. 30 MPG or bust!