Saturday, August 18, 2007

For the Road Warriors

Here's some good info for our road warriors out there traversing back and forth across Loudoun County's roadways. From the government's, we have tips on improving your gas mileage and more.

According to the Web site, you can improve your miles per gallon by:
  • Driving more efficiently - For instance, aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by five percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money. Also, observe the speed limit. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each five mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.20 per gallon for gas. And avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle's weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
  • Keeping your car in tip top shape - Keep your engine properly tuned, and replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car's air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine. And you can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every one psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
  • Plan and combine trips when possible - Combining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Trip planning ensures that traveling is done when the engine is warmed-up and efficient.
  • Choose a more fuel efficient vehicle - The difference between a car that gets 20 MPG and one that gets 30 MPG amounts to $744 per year (assuming 15,000 miles of driving annually and a fuel cost of $2.97). That's $3,720 extra in fuel costs over five years!

If you're looking to get a more fuel efficient vehicle, check out the "find a car" page which allows you to compare models by year, as well as search by make of vehicle, by MPG and even find the best and worst MPG list.

For many of us driving is a necessity. So let's do what we can to get better gas mileage and contribute to easing our traffic woes as well.

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