27 February 2008

The Top 10 Fuel Economy Leaders - How do You Compare?


I was cruising Digg today and ran across an article with this top ten list.

2008 Model Year Overall Fuel Economy Leaders

10. Honda Fit (manual) 28/34
9. Toyota Corolla (manual) 28/37
8. Ford/Mercury/Mazda Escape/Mariner/Tribute Hybrid 4WD 29/27
7. Toyota Yaris (automatic) 29/35
6. Toyota Yaris (manual) 29/36
5. Toyota Camry Hybrid 33/34
4. Ford/Mercury Escape/Mariner Hybrid FWD 34/30
3. Nissan Altima Hybrid 35/33
2. Honda Civic Hybrid 40/45
1. Toyota Prius (hybrid-electric) 48/45

Here is a link to my Gas Log at www.gassavers.org , I shall summarize as well. Let the comparisons between the best and brightest of 2008 take on conscientiously driven old blue from 1989!

Over the last 5144 miles I have averaged 34.43 mpg, with my last (best) tank providing me with 40.30 mpg. Which I would say puts me in the top 10. With my best tank, also my most recent mind you - mods are cumulative in effect, getting me up to 3rd. Frankly I find that pathetic. In 19 years really no appreciable improvement. If the stock market gave returns equal to gains in fuel economy no one would invest.

There are many things you can do to increase your gas mileage, buying a current hybrid wouldn't make my Top 10 List. The Aptera is a different story, it and other super aerodynamic cars provide increases one can't get by driving more conservatively.



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25 February 2008

Slower Is Better

That's what she said!
Sorry... You must admit though, The Office is hilarious. The other day I was driving the speed limit on my way to work, I'm really on the fringe of society here, and I started to think about my feelings on traffic and driving in general. As a former speeder I really find driving slower to be less stressful.

When I say speeder I'm not referring to the ten-over-going-with-the-flow variety. I owned an Audi A6 with the 2.7L Bi-Turbo engine, what a machine! At the time it turned my stomach into a tight knot and delivered the adrenaline boost I craved, it made me feel alive. Probably had something to do with my closer proximity to death, but I got from point A to B in record times. Fuel mileage was atrocious. I sold that car to free up money to buy a house in June or July so I enjoyed the summer weather and commuted on a motorcycle. Until early December.

It is really cold in the morning on a motorcycle in December. So I purchased a 1989 Acura Integra for $850. A real spring chicken with 227,000 miles. Another fine craigslist purchase! It was love at first morning. I was completely enamored by the windshield and the heater. Around the same time I became fascinated with a subject known as hypermiling , now I don't drive as crazy as the king - but I did start looking for ways to improve my mileage.

I did a tune up to get the car running well, then I found the first modification - myself. Slow down, way down. I average around 55 mph on the highway. This correlates directly with the time my friends began to think I was weird, but slowing down did improve my mileage. More than that, it improved my commute. It didn't seem to take any longer and I felt relaxed. No longer pissed at "that guy" in the fast lane, or watching the radar detector, looking for cops, checking mirrors, constantly changing lanes often - nope, now I just cruise along at a calm pace, avoiding the brakes, and relaxing my way home.

It may take you some time to shake the hurry-up mentality, but if you give it a couple days I'll bet you feel much more relaxed when you arrive at your destination. What have you got to lose? Forty seconds on the way to the supermarket?

Mileage Lust - The Aptera

Look at those curves! Wow. That spaceship looks sleek and aerodynamics play a huge role in fuel efficiency. When I first saw the Aptera I knew I wanted one - then I saw the price was under $30,000. Wow again. The mileage this thing can attain is simply ridiculous, I'm talking over 300 miles per gallon on shorter trips! That's one way to improve your mileage in a hurry. Sadly only California residents can reserve an Aptera currently, otherwise I may have tossed $500 on the refundable deposit. Check out the videos to the left to see the Aptera in action.

24 February 2008

3 Baby Steps to Improving Your Gas Mileage


So you want better fuel mileage?! Here are three easy things to do.

1. Inflate your tires up to the max pressure listed on the tire sidewall. 44 PSI is fairly common, I run mine at fifty. Depending on your car you will notice a stiffer ride. On the upside performance is increased, and if you live in Oregon, you are less likely to hydroplane. For those who fear an explosion of rubber and steel belts,
read up.

2. Drive Slower - I know everyone hates that one. You don't need to lower your speed to 50 MPH, just try driving 5 MPH slower that you normally would. On the highway speed has a huge impact on drag and thus, your mileage. Especially if your vehicle is a giant wind trap.

3. Keep your vehicle current on maintenance. All of it. Oil change, air filter, alignment, spark plugs, oxygen sensor(s), all of these can have a huge impact on your efficiency. I changed out my oxygen sensor recently and saw my economy jump about 3 mpg. With gas prices moving up and up, the part will be paid for in savings.

That should get you on the way to improving your mpg! I did these three first when I decided to care about fuel economy. Now I'm having fun looking for more ways to save on my monthly fuel costs. Try them out for a week or two and let me know if you see any improvement in your mileage!

The Quest for Mileage


There are many reasons to try and improve one's fuel economy. They range from the simple; gas is expensive, to noble; Save the Planet! There are plenty that fall in between: it's a challenge, it can be fun, and using less fuel reduces our dependency on oil. I enjoy the challenge the most, especially seeing the results of my improvement in new MPG records and higher averages. Improving your mileage can be incredibly simple if you are willing to make some changes you can easily exceed the EPA sticker for your vehicle. I hope you will start your own quest of increasing your mileage - or just stop by and see how mine is going.