Improving Vehicle Fuel Economy

By: Bob Jent

Gasoline is just one of the many petroleum products that have a major impact on the daily lives of consumers in the United States. Petroleum products are those derived from oil and natural gas that is extracted, usually through drilling, from deep within the earth. Though common products such as plastics, film, detergents, and electricity are petroleum derived products, the most significant demand for petroleum is in the form of fuel for energy in the transportation sector. With millions of fuel powered vehicles traveling the roadways as well as a high demand for air travel, gasoline and jet fuel play an important role in meeting our regular transportation and travel needs. Following are a few simple steps drivers can take to get the most out of their vehicle's use of fuel while saving a little money in the process.

-Perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. Regular tune-ups can keep your vehicle running at the optimal level of performance and give you the benefit of better fuel economy. Problems such as an obstructed air filter, uneven wheels or bent axles can increase the energy required to power your vehicle, thus affecting its fuel usage.

-Maintain conservative driving habits. The way you drive can affect the amount of fuel that is consumed by your vehicle. Start slowly from a stop, without pressing the accelerator more than about a quarter of the way down. "Revving" the engine is another way to burn fuel needlessly, and should be avoided to achieve optimal fuel efficiency. Keeping a steady pace while driving, as opposed to accelerating and decelerating frequently, will also help maximize the gas mileage you get from your vehicle.

-Do not disregard the laws of physics. Though your engine is more than capable of providing enough power to keep your vehicle driving, your vehicle is still a large heavy object that must overcome resistance in order to move. The faster you drive, the more wind resistance your vehicle must overcome to get you where you want to go. Obeying the speed limit is a good general rule to help optimize the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, while at the same time preventing you from getting a speeding citation. The air conditioner also consumes excess fuel at low speeds, though generally speaking the air conditioner is preferred over having the windows down at high speeds because of the increased wind resistance that having windows down causes.

Performing regular maintenance on your vehicle, exercising conservative and patient driving habits and decreasing the resistance that your vehicle must overcome can help maximize your vehicle's fuel efficiency and minimize the impact on your living expenses.

Mileage and Fuel
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