Tag Archives: fuel

What Fuels You?

Traci asks: “What fuels you?”

I answer:

  1. In the morning, coffee.
  2. Reading email, Facebook, and Twitter.
  3. Installing new software.
  4. Experiencing laughter.
  5. Really good sushi.
  6. Sponsors and donations.
  7. Learning something new about myself.
  8. Getting new hardware / firmware.
  9. The desire to constantly forge a legacy.
  10. In the evening, the promise of tomorrow’s coffee.

So, what fuels YOU? Answer Traci via her Twitter account or her blog. Of course, she also recorded a video via her YouTube channel:

Gas Tax: Have Americans been Spoiled?

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Many of us remember when gas was 99 cents per gallon. Now, we are bemoaning the fact that most of the time, we have a hard time finding it for less than $4.00 per gallon. Do you realize, though, that the US has only 18 cents per gallon Federal tax on every gallon of gas… while many other countries charge several dollars per gallon for their gas tax. Robert Lutz is the Vice Chairman of Global Product Development with General Motors, and talks with us in this video about the gas prices today.

We were living in this fool’s paradise of cheap fool several years ago, according to Lutz. He feels that has harmed our country in many ways. It has permitted our infrastructure to go downhill, because we cannot keep it up to date. Also, our roads are in about the worst condition of anywhere in the World. This has also resulted in urban sprawl, as people realized they could live in a smaller, quieter community and afford the gas prices to drive to work in the cities. However, in Europe, the cost of gasoline is so high due to the Federal fuel taxes, people live much closer to the city in places like condos. If we keep spreading out here in the US, we’ll end up being one solid development from ‘sea to shining sea’.

Starting in about the 1970s, Mr. Lutz started talking to people in Washington about considering a Federal fuel tax increase for just these reasons. So far, our government has refused to do this. I know… you’re screaming now, and hurling obscenities. You cannot imagine having higher Federal fuel taxes. Let me remind you, though, that in Europe they pay a few dollars per gallon, just in “Federal” fuel taxes. They have good roads. They have good infrastructures.

What’s the answer? Do we raise the federal tax on fuel to improve things like our roads? We are spoiled. We gripe over $4.00 per gallon for gasoline… try having to pay twice that over in Europe…. and in some cases, three times.

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What Are You Paying for Gas?

How high do gas prices have to get before you change your own driving habits, if you haven’t already? I thought, for certain, that there would be less vehicles on the road after gas hit $4 a gallon here in the United States (at least, in the Seattle area). Seems to me that even when we see $6 a gallon, people aren’t going to travel less than they already do today. No matter where you are on the planet, gas isn’t very cheap. There’s little you can do to avoid wallet pain at the pump, though.

Can you top this?!?

It’s times like these that I’m glad I work from home (for myself, no less). I don’t have to fight traffic with regularity, and I don’t have to fill up my gas tank as frequently as others do. But have these higher fuel rates already curbed your own travel routines? I’m guessing “not.”

We can’t just sit at home, and public transportation is not always practical… so what are we supposed to do?

That’s what I’m paying now. What about you?

How Much is Gas in your Part of the World?

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Garthman03 writes: “I have worked in the Automotive industry for the better part of a decade, and am always looking for ways to save money to spend on gadgets. With gasoline being the biggest economic cruncher right now, I’ve made a list of ways to save money on gas.”

  • Avoid hard braking and accelerating (free) “Hurry up and wait” should not be a part of your normal driving lifestyle. Sure, there are times when you need to get somewhere in a hurry. But normally, you should give yourself enough time to get where you are going. So, take that time and you’ll find that you could save a whopping 20% on your fuel consumption.
  • Keep tires properly Inflated ($2 or less) I know it sounds like common sense to have the right amount of air pressure in your tires, but you would be surprised by the number of vehicles I work on that have too low or too high pressure in their tires. Make an investment of under two dollars, and buy a tire gauge. A properly inflated tire can increase fuel economy by 2-3%. A good rule is to check your tires every time you fill up, and before long trips. Be sure to check them before you’re on the road for too long, as heat caused by friction between your tires and the road causes the air to expand, and give a false reading. Also, go by the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. This can be found either in your owner’s manual, or on a tire placard in the driver’s door.
  • Unless your vehicle calls for top grade gasoline, use the cheap stuff and supplement with gas treatment ($3 or less) Many people think that the more expensive grade of gasoline yields better fuel economy. While this might be true for some vehicles, there is a much more cost efficient way to get the same effect. The cost difference between regular and premium unleaded at my local station is around forty cents. This ends up being a difference of six dollars on an average fifteen gallon tank!! Use regular unleaded gas, and buy a bottle of gas treatment. This will give you back the fuel economy, while at the same time reducing the pollution that your car gives off in exhaust, protecting the environment.
  • Change your air ($5-15) and fuel filter($25) Imagine yourself being dehydrated, tying a scarf tightly around your neck, and running one mile. Now, take the scarf off, drink all the water you can, and do it again. No doubt that the second mile will be easier that the first. You have the oxygen and fluids that you body needs to perform. The same holds true for your car’s engine. Your car needs to breathe, and cannot do so with a dirty, clogged air filter. Replacing your dirty air filter can increase your fuel economy by up to 10%. And having a clean fuel filter isn’t just saving around 5%, it can also prevent a fuel pump going out. And if you have ever had that happen, you know how painful that can be.
  • Use FIC’s (fuel injection cleaners) every time you change your oil ($5) This tip kind of ties in with air and fuel filters, but I believe is important enough to get it’s own bullet. Fuel injectors can clog up over time, causing them to not get the proper air/fuel ratio for the best fuel economy. Using FIC’s is a cheap way to keep fuel injection systems clean and running smoothly. The difference between a clogged fuel injector and a clean one can be up to 6%.

“With these tips, you are able to save up to 44% or more!! At $3.00 per gallon average, and driving 15,000 miles a year… that’s over $800 a year in savings! If you follow my tips and spend about $50 during the year on preventative maintenance… you could end up with an extra $750 a year! Think of all the gadgets you could buy!”

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Energy Efficient Cars: What you Don't Know

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Bad Bad Leroy Dan had to call me to interrupt a video I was trying to do on saving energy. You know I had to record it when he started saying that our Government is not allowing us to save energy. There are six cars built in America that get more than 35 miles per gallon… but Americans are not allowed to buy them. They are all exported right out of the country.

One of the keys to restarting the American economy is staring us in the face. While our future hinges on the rapid adoption of fuel-efficient vehicles, our government stands in the way of a rapid free market solution. 35 MPG can be an immediate reality, with one domestic manufacturer, if the United States government would only allow it to happen. Our elected representatives need to be aware of the facts and make the appropriate decisions.

All-in-all, a dozen Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep diesel-engined models are currently available outside of the United States, but are not sold domestically. Here’s the eye-opener … half of those models currently achieve 35 miles per gallon combined. That’s 35 MPG … right now. And what’s even more crazy? All of these 35 MPG cars and SUVs are built in North American plants by North American workers … American citizens cannot buy and drive the fuel-efficient cars they build.

Because these vehicles use Diesel fuel, they don’t pass the Emissions standards. Therefore, even though Americans make these vehicles and could really benefit from the mileage these get… we can’t buy them.

What if the federal government temporarily rolled back the emissions requirements for one or two years, to allow the sale of these fuel-sipping vehicles while Chrysler and its partners complete the engineering necessary to meet the current regulations?

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How to Save Gas without Gas Savings

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We all cringe when we pull up to the gas pumps these days. Unfortunately, our griping won’t lower the prices at the pump. Here are some tips sent in by a reader to help you conserve gasoline, and hopefully save you some money.

  • Drive at the speed limit. Not only are speed limits designed to save lives and keep people from driving recklessly, but are factored into saving gas mileage. Driving at 55mph instead of 70mph on the freeway can save a lot of gas. The faster you go, the higher your engine’s RPM’s will raise, causing the engine to work harder. The harder the engine has to work, the less gas mileage you will see.
  • Remove any and all unnecessary items from the trunk or interior of your car. That golf bag in the trunk – while it may be convenient to just leave it there, is adding extra weight to your car. The heavier your car is, the more the engine must work to drive it, resulting in less gas mileage. Also, make sure nothing is changing the car’s aerodynamic design such as empty crate boxes strapped to the roof.
  • Roll your windows up on the highway. Sure you may think that turning on your A/C while driving down the highway will lower your fuel economy, but the drop in aerodynamics due to your windows being rolled down is far greater. When your windows are down, air passing over the sides of the car flows into the passenger compartment and produces drag – thus lowering your gas mileage.
  • Leave unneeded people at home. It may be nice to have a companion riding along with you, but this person is nothing more then a 160lb object added to your car’s weight. The more people you travel with in your car, the heavier it becomes, once again lowering your fuel mileage.
  • Last but not least, do not stop and go quickly at stop lights. A smooth acceleration is key to maintaining your gas mileage. Do not jerk between lanes to pass people. Passing causes your car to down shift into overdrive, effectively dumping a large amount of fuel into the motor for an instant boost in power. Doing this often can produce dramatic loss in fuel economy in a short amount of time. Having a vehicle that gets 6MPG, I have learned to ease on the accelerator when leaving stop signs or lights. When done right, you can see a fluctuation of at least 1-2MPG.
  • Bonus Tip!! Having your car serviced on a regular basis, changing your oil when the manufacturer recommends and having your fuel injectors cleaned at a tuneup can add to your gas mileage in the long run. Clogged or damaged fuel injectors on a fuel injected car can lower your horsepower as well as your fuel economy! I always feel that my truck runs better after a fresh oil change – and noticed a significant increase in gas mileage after my last tuneup.

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