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Autos: Fuel Efficiency

Autos Fuel Efficiency

Put the brakes on fuel inefficiency.

Using fuel more efficiently reduces our dependence on oil, saves money and reduces climate change.

According to the EPA, the vehicles we drive release more than 1.7 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year! Each gallon of gasoline we burn creates 20 pounds of CO2 and equates to about 6 to 9 tons of CO2 each year for a typical vehicle. These emissions also contribute to global climate change.

  • Use the Recommended Grade of Motor Oil.
    You can improve your gas mileage by 1–2% by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
  • Keep Tires Properly Inflated.
    You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3% for every 1 PSI drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
  • Keep Your Engine Properly Tuned.
    Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4%, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%.
  • Drive Sensibly.
    Aggressive driving (like speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas and is risky. It can reduce your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving also is safer for you and others on the road, so you may save more than gas money.
  • Observe the Speed Limit.
    While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 MPH. You can assume that each 5 MPH you drive over 60 MPH is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas.
  • Use Cruise Control.
    Using cruise control on stretches of flat highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas. Cruise control will not be as efficient when used in areas will hilly terrain.
  • Combine Errands Into One Trip.
    Save time and money! Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.
  • Choose a More Efficient Vehicle.
    The cost savings between a car that gets 20 MPG and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $963 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $3.85).
  • Source: U.S. Department of Energy | Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
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