Tips for Getting Better Gas Mileage

Save money and energy with these no-cost tips to improve your car's gas mileage.

| November/December 1990

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    To increase your fuel efficiency, avoid the times of day when traffic is heaviest and find alternate routes to avoid stop-and-go traffic.
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    Another way to improve your gas mileage is to pump your tires to the maximum recommended pressure, so that the car has less rolling resistance.

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We thought it would be timely to update the energy-saving tips from the gas crunch of the 1970s. Of course, many of these are simply timeless, commonsense approaches to fuel efficiency.

The automobiles of the 1980s and '90s get better gas mileage and produce fewer toxic emissions than their predecessors did. This is due mostly to the federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) gas mileage standards, which require that each carmaker's overall mileage reach a certain level (currently 27.5 miles per gallon). Car manufacturers have met these standards by producing smaller, lighter automobiles and by switching to computer-controlled carburetors and fuel injection.

I still hear rumors of people working on carburetors that will make a 15-mpg car get 30 or 40 mpg. These rumors have been around for 50 years, and they are just a dream. You can take any carburetor and modify each circuit until it runs very lean (that is, uses less gasoline), and it might double the gas mileage—but the car will have very little power, it won't start on cold mornings and it may not run at all in high altitudes. It will burn the valves, run hot and cold, maybe even burn holes in the pistons. You cannot beat computerized fuel injection, which reads the exhaust gas and changes the injection to keep the mixture just right—many times each second.

Nowadays, a good way of getting better gas mileage is simply to buy a newer car. Some subcompacts are getting more than 50 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg around the city. Even large cars with 200-HP engines are getting 26 mpg on the highway at 70 mph, using tuned-port fuel injection. That's pretty good for a two-ton vehicle.

Hundreds of gas-mileage gadgets have been made and sold, and hundreds more will no doubt crop up over the next few months. Some of them actually improved mileage on older cars by making the mixture leaner, but newer computer-controlled cars are already as lean as the engine will run. If the gadgets that get so much publicity actually worked, car manufacturers would install them—because they're under pressure to keep their mileage up.

Here are 10 "no cost" ways to save money on gasoline. Before you can measure their effectiveness, test what kind of mileage your car gets in normal driving situations over a period of several weeks.

12/28/2007 10:07:18 PM

looking for plans to build a guel fogger

3/22/2007 11:42:19 PM Dare to post this and allow readers to learn the truth. It is not that you leading people the wrong way, you simply do not know the truth. I have read over 200 patents and made 4 over 7 years old. my 1998 chevy [prizm] "corrola" if you want to know what engine is in it. Went from 23 highway to 45 highway and I have a lead foot.I accelerate just the same. I made a fuel fogger for it for 20 bucks. I also use acetone in all my vehicles and have done so for my family and friends. So for the record "to those that study real research and not listen to oil spoke persons" The high gas milage cars were around in the 50's. Thank you and do not believe me, learn yourself.


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