Monday, October 27, 2008

What?! a post with more than 20 words?

Well, here is some stuff. I had to give this as a speech, so I figured I'd post it. (mostly because I'm lazy and I didn't want to create a post this long from scratch)

If you saw a quarter on the ground would you pick it up? What about a dollar? What about 20 dollars? What If I told you that you could save around $60 or much more per year? The high cost of gas affects anyone who drives. The distance I can drive on each gallon of gas directly effects how much money I will be paying at the pump next time I fill up. For example, if I am able to drive 25 miles on one gallon of gas, my cost for those 30 miles is divided into the cost of the gallon, so if I pay four dollars for that gallon, I will be paying about sixteen cents per mile. Saving money at the pump is important to me, and I hope to show how to save a little extra money on gas.

With most cars getting around 25 miles per gallon, and trucks getting about 12 to 17 almost everyone feels pain every time they fill up at the pump. With this kind of agony, some turn to gadgets promising more miles for less money, while others, look to old tips and tricks to improve mileage. Many products are on the market, to increase gas mileage and improve performance. Some spin air, some inject water, and a few are dropped into the gas tank. With so many products, which, if any, will get me more mileage? We’ll look at the claims of one of the most predominate products out on the shelves of many stores, and examine the best ways of gaining fuel mileage.

Most devices that claim to help increase gas mileage are very similar, so for the sake of time we’ll only pick on one of them. The Tornado is a device made of stainless steel with thin metal blades. Versions are sold for both carbureted and fuel-injected engines. Most of the fuels saving devices currently for sale are like this one. The Tornado is basically a fin that goes into the air intake hose between the air filter and intake manifold. This has the effect of spinning the air and making the fuel mix more completely with the air resulting in a claimed 30% increase in fuel mileage and horsepower. Effectively, this means that if the vehicle is getting 10 miles per gallon before, then after the device is installed the vehicle will instantly be getting 13 miles per gallon.

Many of the fuel saving devices have problems in backing up their claims. For example, there is a flaw in the theory for the tornado; there is no fuel in the intake manifold. Fuel is injected into the cylinder at the intake valve; this simply means that any air that the tornado “spins” won’t carry all the way into the cylinder where the fuel would have a chance to mix with the air. Other products claim huge increases in the effectiveness of an engine’s ability for burning fuel. According to Wikipedia, the gasoline engine is 99% efficient, if this is true, then how the products can retrieve more than 1% is quite strange. That’s like saying “I can make a gallon of gas out of thin air!” it simply can’t happen.

So which of the fuel saving devices work? Consumer reports magazine tells us: “We installed the tornado in a Ford Ranger pickup truck and a Volkswagen New Beetle. We ran our standard acceleration and fuel economy tests with and without the Tornado installed. The Ranger saw no improvement in acceleration, while the New Beetle saw slightly worse performance. Neither vehicle showed an improvement in fuel economy.” Consumer reports magazine tests many of these fuel saving devices and says that it’s just better to stay away. “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” The Tornado and others like it rely on perception. You do something to improve your vehicle and you 'feel' the improvement. Nothing has actually improved; you just believe it has. It's the same feeling you get after an oil change, nothing has changed. It just feels better. Less than 3% of the devices actually increase mileage, so consumer reports suggests to stay away from them.

So what does work? Here are some simple steps that can be done to increase fuel mileage.

  • Check your tire pressure; Tires and low tire pressure can attribute up to about three percent loss in fuel mileage.
  • Keep your engine tuned; a poorly tuned or poorly running engine can use more than twice as much gas as a well tuned engine!
  • Trim excess weight: every 100 lbs of extra stuff that is carried around attributes to about a one percent loss in gas mileage.
  • Consolidate trips; Think “do I really need this right now? Or can it wait till tomorrow?”
  • Avoid quick acceleration; quickly accelerating after being stopped can use about three percent more gas than accelerating to the same speed slower.
  • If going faster than forty miles per hour roll up the windows and use the A/C; this one might sound odd, but the drag created by open windows uses more gas than using the air conditioner.
  • Shut the engine off if you are going to idle for more than a minute or so; this simple practice can help reduce pollution, and save you money.

These simple steps can easily get you up to 3 more miles per gallon. If you drive an average of 12000 miles, (that is the statistical average) and based on a fuel cost of $3.00 that's a total savings of more than $150.00. Just think about this next time you go to fill up.

1 comment:

Mr. Worm said...

SWEET, man! You, unlike the speech class I was in, actually have interesting speeches :-)