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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Frugal Doings: Cutting Trips to the Pumps

As I continue my efforts to have better stewardship over my belonging, I am looking for ways to be more frugal and environmentally aware.

We travel a lot.  So it was only logical that I needed to learn about ways to make our car more efficient.  Good for us, good for the environment.


The thing most people look at first is how to cut down the trips to the gas pump.  I am tired of funding obscenely rich dudes fifth vacation home.  Some adjustments are being made around here.

First, living out here in The Sticks means driving to town is 45 minute round trip.  Not making a list and bundling trips is just dumb.  We have a dry erase board on the fridge just for noting where we need to go on our next trip to town.  Not only does it save gas money, it saves a lot of time too!

We have taken all the excess stuff out of the back of the truck.  Why haul the weight around – burning fuel – if you’re not going to use it?  Likewise, roof racks, bug and wind deflectors and the like can eat into your gas mileage.  


Replace your gas cap every few years.  When they get loose, fuel will start vaporizing and you lose it into the air.  Also, it will mess up the intake to your engine, causing a hit to your gas mileage and it can damage engine sensors too.

It is fairly well known to keep tires inflated properly.  More resistance, less fuel efficiency.  On a similar note, a dirty car is actually drops your gas mileage too.  (But to save water, when you wash your car use a bucket for the washing.  Only use a hose to dampen and rinse.)  Keeping the car clean also protects your finish and under carriage. 

How you fill up makes a difference too.  Several sites I looked at spoke against ethanol fuels.  They said that ethanol doesn’t provide the same energy power and therefore it takes more to burn.  It is getting pretty hard to find gas without ethanol added, so this is a hard tip to follow.


Fill up when you are at a half tank.  There will be less vapors produced that can leak out thru that old gas cap.  And when the crud on the bottom gets dredged up it can really do a job on your fuel pump.  And it adds to bad emissions. 

One site stated you shouldn’t “squeeze the trigger to the fastest setting – pumping at a higher velocity results in more of your gas becoming vapor, which the pump is designed to suck back into the underground tank. Pumping at a lower velocity means you’ll get more gas for your money and less fuel will escape into the air.”

Also, don’t top off.  That messes up even more sensors.  And sensors are expensive to replace. 

When you are sitting for a while, cut off the engine.  After all, at that time you are getting zero miles to the gallon!  While driving, keep the RPMs low to save fuel.  An example is when you are on cruise and head up a hill.  Many cars will have the RPMs shoot up as it kicks in for more gas.  Recognize your car’s traits and tap off the cruise til you top the hill.  It’s better for your engine too.

Not turning on the AC until it’s really needed saves a lot of petro.  Roll down the windows and/or use the vent as long as you can.

Finally, using the right grade of oil will increase fuel efficiency as will keeping the air filter clean. 



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