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Fuel Saving Tips

Plug it in

With winter approaching, use your block heater if you have one. If you don't consider getting one installed. They plug into your house (I have mine on a lamp timer) and heat your coolant. This gets your engine up to temperature quicker, and causes less wear from cold components wearing on each other.

posted by Powershifts on October 2, 2010

this tip works for 82% of voting Fuelly members.

Install a Cold Air Intake

If you live in a drier climate, install a cold air intake unit to save 1 to 3 miles per gallon. This replaces the OEM air box and air filter assembly. With a CAI, cooler air is drawn in from lower in the engine compartment, so the engine does not need as much gas as compared to when it sucks in hot air from under the hood. Many car makers offer these as OEM performance parts and if installed by a dealer, won't affect your warranty.

posted by slopo on October 2, 2010

this tip works for 26% of voting Fuelly members.

Remove snow from your car in the winter

Put a little more effort into clearing snow off of your car than just clearing the windows. It's added weight and drag and also very unsafe. Twelve inches of snow is equivalent to one inch of water. A one inch layer of water or ice weighs approximately five lb per square foot. So even a three or four inch layer of snow on your trunk, roof, and hood could be adding almost fifty pounds of extra weight. It is also much safer than letting it fall off on your drive. Large chunks can break off and strike other motorists and snow on your hood will just blow back onto your windshield.

posted by MeatFarley on September 28, 2010

this tip works for 96% of voting Fuelly members.

Drive between the speed limit and 5 mph under

Driving at or slightly below the speed limit in suburban areas has a number of benefits. The reason I add slightly below the limit is because unless you stare at the speedometer constantly, you can't stay exactly at the limit all the time. The 5 mph range gives you room to vary your speed a bit. The benefits? Less gas spent accelerating, less energy wasted via braking, less time spent sitting still, a more comfortable ride, easier to decide whether or not to stop on yellow and less wear on your brakes, tires, engine and drivetrain. Sadly tailgating becomes an issue when employing this driving style. It's distracting and even a bit scary sometimes when someone is following you too closely. You can adjust your mirrors so that you can't see tailgaters directly which will allow you to concentrate more on the road ahead and remain calm. ALWAYS STAY TO THE RIGHT.

posted by i90east on September 27, 2010

this tip works for 38% of voting Fuelly members.

know which tips to trust

My dad used to say "nothing succeeds like success" meaning if you want people to beleive your point of view, you better be a success in whatever you're suggesting. When you look at these tips-look at the profile of the tipster. I don't bother considering tips from anyone who gets poor mileage-what can that person teach me? Who do they think they're kidding giving tips when they get poor mileage?

posted by mtxjohn on September 21, 2010

this tip works for 95% of voting Fuelly members.

Use synthetics everywhere

It is commonly known that synthetic motor oil yeailds gains in MPG and engine life, but drivetrain losses can account for 10% lost horsepower to your wheels. Help reduce this by using synthetic transmission fluid. Be sure to consult a mechanic if you are unsure if your car can use this (IE, Hondas generally need honda ATF, but can use non-honda MTF)

posted by mtxjohn on September 21, 2010

this tip works for 59% of voting Fuelly members.

Avoid ethanol

My car requires premium-and "nonoxygenated" ie normal non-ethanol fuel gives me 6mpg better than 10% ethanol blend.

posted by mtxjohn on September 21, 2010

this tip works for 65% of voting Fuelly members.

GPS vs Speedo vs Odometer

Contrary to an earlier tip, your speedo will probably read faster than your GPS, this is because in some countries it is illegal for your speedo to read less than actual speed, but can read up to 10% faster. To allow for inaccuracies in the equipment most speedos are set to read faster so that they can never read slower than actual. Bear in mind also that the speedo doesn't have to match the odometer, and that the variances are different at different speeds. For instance, my speedo reads about 10% faster at all speeds over 40mph compared to GPS, but my odometer says i've travelled less distance than my GPS says.

posted by Mytheroo on September 14, 2010

this tip works for 68% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't brake to slow down in most traffic!

I've seen a lot of people on highways or moderate traffic get behind someone driving slower than they are and brake in order to avoid a collision. It's unnecessary to do so, as simply letting off the gas before you get too close will slow you down as well. Braking and then accelerating to match a new speed is a waste of engine power. In a manual transmission, downshift to slow down slightly more rapidly (unless that downshift brings you to >3000 RPM, then it's a grey area), then shift back in the needed gear once you've gotten near your new speed.

posted by playbass06 on September 11, 2010

this tip works for 95% of voting Fuelly members.

Where you circulate the air counts

Many people know that the common defroster settings of windshield and floor/windshield automatically turns on the A/C which of course decreases economy. However, depending on the vehicle, having all of the air come out of the bottom of the dash with the floor setting also activates the A/C. Your owners many indicate this (it does in the Ford manuals I've read over time). If it doesn't mention this, you can test yourself. At night, with the car running and the A/C button off (if equipped), have your lights on with the air coming out of the front panels, then switch to the floor setting. If the A/C comes on your RPM's should drop and should lights dim for a moment within about 10-30 seconds after switching. You may have been paying for years a helpful service you did not want...

posted by boilermaker2 on September 11, 2010

this tip works for 43% of voting Fuelly members.

A little weight in the bed helps

The rear end of pick-up trucks is light so there is not much down force over the drive wheels. I have gotten some of the best mileage with weight in the truck on the highway. This does not work in stop and go traffic but on the highway it helps out. A few hundred pounds is sufficient. There are people who will argue that extra weight kills mileage but they are unfamiliar with the concept of proper weight distribution.

posted by Highwaylizard on September 7, 2010

this tip works for 25% of voting Fuelly members.

Keep the car level

When you fill up at gas stations with a tilted surface, you will either put in more or less than you would at a gas station with a flat surface. The more or less in the tank might alter your results when tracking mpg.

posted by wjf on September 6, 2010

this tip works for 58% of voting Fuelly members.

Another way to record data at the pump

My cheapo pay-as-you-go cell phone doesn't have a camera. While it does have a "notes" function, it doesn't have a QWERTY keyboard. However, it DOES have a voice recorder, and I've used it to note data at the pump if the receipt printer is out of paper (about one out of every 12-15 fill-ups, it seems). When I get home, I play back the voice recording, and enter it into Fuelly -- simple!

posted by jprestonian on September 4, 2010

this tip works for 85% of voting Fuelly members.

Don't fill your tank.

Even though you need to fill up for this site to work properly, you should only do it when necessary (long trips, etc). Hauling around a full tank of fuel is wasting fuel. Everyone has different needs and requirements but keeping your fuel levels reasonably lower can save significant weight which equals better mpg. A half tank is roughly 100 lbs lighter than a full tank, it's helpful.

posted by Pro4x on September 2, 2010

this tip works for 14% of voting Fuelly members.

fuel additives

use a fuel additive. i use lucas fuel treatment and have noticed a marked difference. it keeps my injectors clean, preserves gas, and burns more effeciently. just a few dollars for the bottle and it gives me approximately 35 miles more per tank.

posted by joedonbob on August 28, 2010

this tip works for 16% of voting Fuelly members.

Get an EZ Pass!

or whatever that electronic toll-collection device is called in your area. I live in the mid-Atlantic area of the east coast of the United States, and my EZ Pass works in all the surrounding states. In anything but very light traffic on the highways, it saves me time and gas, and some aggravation too, every time I come to tollbooths. I do not have to worry about carrying small bills and coins, and I have a record of all tolls paid, since for me they are a deductible expense.

posted by sexgun on August 23, 2010

this tip works for 89% of voting Fuelly members.

different types of fuel

there are many different types of fuel. and not all are the same. vehicles are design to run on certain types. the type of fuels that are the most trouble with vehicles today are those that are quote on quote bio. e-10 fuel for gas. it breaks down rapidly. e standing for ethanol and 10 for the percent. here in jersey thats all you get. it breaks down rapidly due to the fact its from a plant of some kind. plants do carry water, bateria, and whatever else there is to sustain life. if you go through gas often the chances are there wont be a problem. but if your tank last awhile, breakdown of the fuel happens. wich robs performance and fuel economy. especially in older vehicles. they do make additive to help it. startron is a great product and stabil does make a version. is blue in color. and ment to use while driving. older boat people know this if they have fiberglass tanks. cause it actually delaminates the tank and start to grow a fungus like goo in the fuel lines. i use about an half ounce to an ounce a week in my truck unless im gonna drive it til empty on a single trip. in my motorcycles wich are carbed, i use ounce every fill up. and it is extremely noticable in those vehicles. these are the only additives i recomend. now for diesel. ultra low sulfur fuels and bio. no matter what you perfer, bio will be in all fuels by 1 percent unless buying bio. bio does break down really fast. here where im in the north east, bio should be only 5 percent. winters are tough and it does freeze fast. extreme breakdowns wich makes me tons of money. as diesels owners know winter is tough no matter what. there are plenty of diesel additive companies out there. please only buy to true good stuff. buying some cheap additive isnt good. its a witches brew you have no idea whats in it. in warm weather just an additve will do, but in the winter. only buy an additive that it soul purpose is to take care of a certain issue. there is so much going on in a modern diesel engine unless you know how it actually works you will cause extreme and expensive damage. remember, just drive safely.

posted by njsurferlarry on August 15, 2010

this tip works for 8% of voting Fuelly members.

Traffic stop and go

For Auto Transmissions: When in heavy traffic, when the line moves just a little bit, don't press the accelerator. The engine will pull you along slowly. It's generally enough to keep up with the slow moving traffic.

posted by projekt6 on August 15, 2010

this tip works for 96% of voting Fuelly members.

just drive

just operate your car safely. tips on driving is nice but for the most part, just pay attention to the road. tips on driving. hot summer days, highway and ac is fine. highway and windows open. better off with ac on. tire pressure. no less than vehicle manufactured pressure and up to what the tire manufacturing says. over that can cause drivability problems like steering and braking. proper maintence. cheap quick lubes no good. full servicing wich would cost more good idea. tail gate up. steady cruising always beats stop and go. hyper miling really doesnt help. especially going on to a highway. you make it dangerous for yourself, the vehicle already driving and who ever is behind you. that penny saved doesnt equal a life on the road. your mpg is always gonna vary. its impossible to create the same driving habits all the time. there is just too much going on to do so. the weather such as hot to cold, dry air to humid, wind and no wind. and much more. plus by trying to drive slow not allowing parts like your catalytic converter got hot to clean exhaust can eventually clog and cause poor mileage and earlier breakdowns that cost alot so all that was saved will be lost anyways. so all in all, just drive and record what you are getting and use it as a guideline to watch what you spend and how much you consume. just drive and be safe. you arent the only one on the road.

posted by njsurferlarry on August 15, 2010

this tip works for 8% of voting Fuelly members.

Use manual shift mode on long trips

If you have a manual shift option on your automatic transmission, use it to keep your car in top gear when in the hills. I was able to keep the engine from downshifting on hills in cruise by manually selecting the top gear. In my case its 6th gear. Once I got in 6th gear on the highway the crusie never kicked down to 5th on the hills. I put it back in drive for a while and noticed that every steep hill would cause the transmission to downshift to 5th and jump the RPMs up. Seeing someone elses tip on cruise control often causing the engine to downshift on hills gave me the idea. Remember this works on all manuals and automatics with the +/- manual shift options on your gear selector. Some car makers call it tiptronic, steptronic, DSG, sport shift etc...basically if you can manually shift your automatic transmission into your top gear you can try this. It was worth 1 mpg on the rental car after 200 miles on the cars fuel gauge. Hope this helps.

posted by mexglx on August 4, 2010

this tip works for 15% of voting Fuelly members.

Drive the flow of trafic...

If found that driving ~65 MPH, oddly does NOT get me the highest fuel economy, in heavy traffic. When I drive at a more higher speed of 75-80 MPH, I get better fuel economy (this is slower than the average flow of traffic)??? I assume, this is like following a semi-truck. Since the average block of traffic, is going 75-85 MPH, I'm sorta drafting, I suspect...

posted by ICantDriveFiftyFive on August 1, 2010

this tip works for 15% of voting Fuelly members.

Adjustable motorcycle screen

If you have a motorcycle with a height adjustable screen try to use the in the lowest position. The lower the screen, the better the gas mileage

posted by JQL on July 31, 2010

this tip works for 36% of voting Fuelly members.

Wide variation in fuel prices in France

Watch out for a wide variation in fuel prices in France, motorway service stations can be 30 cents a litre more! Use to check fuel prices in your area, it is a government website with all the fuel prices on it. There is often a much cheaper garage a couple of km away. Supermarkets, Esso and Elf are usually the cheapest in my area (06 Alpes Maritimes).

posted by smnbldwn on July 31, 2010

this tip works for 67% of voting Fuelly members.

You may have 2 AC units.

Do you have rear climate control in your minivan or SUV? If so, you may have a second AC unit or booster in your vehicle. Some only control the fan but others have a second air conditioning unit for the rear. When you use the separate rear one, it KILLS your fuel economy. See if it makes a difference for you, you'll know right away. To get around this, we sometimes just use the main AC, but boost up the fan and direct it to the rear.

posted by gory on July 22, 2010

this tip works for 51% of voting Fuelly members.

Keep it locked up

If your driving an automatic on the highway and you get to a hill, when you hear/see the engine RPM's go up but dont feel anything, it's not your imagination. whats happening is the link to the transmission from the engine went from a hard link to a fluid link. if you drive to prevent this you will get a better MPG because only 90$ of your engines power is used when in fluid couple mode. do things like slowly accelerate towards the hills so it stays locked longer

posted by Shimrra on July 21, 2010

this tip works for 36% of voting Fuelly members.

Vent or A/C?

If it's not too terribly hot, consider using the VENT setting on your A/C controls instead of using the A/C itself. You still get fresh air comming in and of course, no A/C = better gas usage.

posted by SEG388 on July 21, 2010

this tip works for 100% of voting Fuelly members.

Air Filter

Keep her clean! It does more than you think. Higher flow filters help too. Consider using one.

posted by SEG388 on July 21, 2010

this tip works for 75% of voting Fuelly members.

Switch off A/C when climbing a hill/flyover

Switching off the car aircon while climbing a hill or a flyover reduces that much load on the engine and thereby also improving the car fuel economy.

posted by dhruvashar on July 20, 2010

this tip works for 60% of voting Fuelly members.

Fuelly fill up list

There have been several tips recently about keeping track of your fill ups and all are good. I'm a low tech type of person and use a piece of notebook paper. I list from left to right my odometer (trip) reading, # of gallons, price per gallon, date of fill up, mpg (for my own records to watch for trends) and brand of gasoline. Then when I get to a computer I can just type in the data in order from the sheet into my fill up form and I'm good to go. A small checkmark next to the line lets me know that this has been uploaded so as not to duplicate entries. 1 sheet of paper used front and back folded to fit in my shirt pocket is good for about 40 fill ups before it is too worn out, then I file it and start a new sheet.

posted by bates on July 19, 2010

this tip works for 90% of voting Fuelly members.

Micromanaging your gears

If you have an automatic with a manual feature (such as some newer Mazdas, Hondas, and other vehicles may have) then you can micromanage your gears for better fuel efficiency. The most important thing to figure out is at what RPMs the vehicle starts to get more power out of it. I found on my wife's Mazda 3, its at about 2.8k RPMs, which at 60 mph it actually was cruising at 2.25k RPMs in 5th gear, which meant that it was fuel inefficient climbing even slight hills and in a headwind. Switching to 4th gear, even at 60 mph, brought the RPMs to 3k (halfway to redline), and with it the power to fuel efficiently climb even slight hills or to cruise in a headwind. In fact, in my wife's car, with a slight amount of headwind, 4th gear and 5th gear use the same amount of fuel to cruise at 55mph even though 4th gear uses more RPMs. The catch is, with a light load, such as with a tail wind, down hill, or coasting up to a stop, 5th gear is almost always the most fuel efficient gear since it is the most like neutral; even at low speeds like 35 mph. Note that leaving it in drive it'll often stay in 5th gear even when the car seems to just inhale gas before finally getting some power. As it turns out, the most efficient speed for 5th gear on my wife's mazda 3 is a whopping 73-75 mph, more than most speed limits in the area. Also, when using a car with a manual mode, always let it automatically downshift for you when slowing down unless you anticipate accelerating before you come to a stop. It won't hurt anything.

posted by FBX on July 18, 2010

this tip works for 38% of voting Fuelly members.