Car Care Council Article used by permission © Car Care Council
Fuel Saving Tips
147 Million Gallons of Wasted Gas? It's a Drop in the Bucket.
Loose gas caps, under inflated tires, faulty thermostats, worn spark plugs, malfunctioning engine controls, poor wheel alignment and the list goes on. These are among the conditions that daily cost consumers millions of dollars in wasted fuel.
"Something as innocuous as an improperly tightened gas cap, for example, or one that's missing or defective, might seem a minor factor," said Rich White of the Car Care Council. "But consider that 17 percent of the vehicles on U.S. highways have either misused or missing gas caps, causing 147,000,000 gallons of gas per year to vaporize into the atmosphere (source: Service Tech Magazine, September 2000).
"To the maxim 'waste not, want not,' we need to add 'be car care aware,' because most drivers are unaware of the economic consequences of neglected maintenance."
White said the nearly 150 million gallons of gas out of the filler cap are literally a drop in the bucket of waste.
"Among the six worst offenders are under inflated tires and incorrect wheel alignment, conditions which increase rolling resistance. Like driving with the parking brake not fully released, it can cost a mile or two per gallon on a car that normally delivers 20 miles per gallon. "Among other gas guzzlers," said White, "are dirty oil, a mile per gallon; a slipping automatic transmission, another mile per gallon and as much as two mpg for a cooling system thermostat that causes the engine to run too cold.
"Finally, there could be a malfunction of one or more components in the fuel, ignition or emission control systems, especially critical in cold weather driving. The fuel penalty for just one misfiring spark plug is two or three miles per gallon.
"Combining all of these discrepancies into one vehicle, the cost of wasted fuel easily could exceed recent increases in pump prices," said White. "It's what being car care aware is all about."
Fuel Savings Tips as Gas Prices Soar
Record Gas Prices Make it Perfect Time to "Be Car Care Aware"
With gas prices exceeding two dollars a gallon in many parts of the country, the Car Care Council is offering gas-saving maintenance and driving tips that really work.
"Millions of dollars worth of gasoline is wasted every day by motorists, because simple and inexpensive vehicle maintenance is neglected," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "Loose or missing gas caps, under-inflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy."
The Car Care Council offers these fuel-saving tips:
Vehicle gas caps – About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
Under inflated tires – When tires aren't inflated properly it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per gallon.
Worn spark plugs – A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
Dirty air filters – An air filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture – too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents a gallon.
Fuel-saving driving tips include:
Don't be an aggressive driver – Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.
Avoid excessive idling – Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
Observe the speed limit – Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mph driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.
Some of the above statistics were gathered from a U.S. Department of Energy Web site, www.fueleconomy.gov.