Weekly auto rail, with gas-saving tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
While buying a more fuel-efficient car might be an option for some, new and used cars that get more miles per gallon tend to be more in demand - and more expensive - when gas prices are high. If a new car isn't an option for you, implementing the following changes can help ensure that you get the most from the fuel in your gas tank:
- Keep the gas you buy in your car. When gas prices are low, stealing gas would likely be more trouble than it's worth, but when prices are high, it's not uncommon for thieves to siphon gas from vehicles, especially those with larger tanks. Adding a locking gas cap can be done for much less than the cost of a tank of gas.
- Keep your tank full. While you're looking to reduce the amount of gasoline you are using, constantly running your car with the tank close to empty can wear down your fuel pump. "The gasoline in the tank keeps the fuel pump cool. Take away the gas and the fuel pump runs hot and has a shorter life," says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of RockAuto.com. If you have an older car that has accumulated dirt and rust at the bottom of the tank, keeping a full tank can help your fuel burn cleaner.
- Keep your car in shape. Keeping your engine properly tuned improves fuel efficiency by an average of 4 percent, and repairing a major issue like a faulty oxygen sensor could improve efficiency by up to 40 percent, according the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Keep your tires inflated properly. Keeping your tires at the optimal level not only keeps you safer, but can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Your owner's manual should tell you the proper psi (pounds per square inch) levels for your vehicle.
- Drive for optimal gas mileage. How you drive can affect how much gas you use. Most cars run at peak efficiency at around 60 mph, with fuel economy decreasing sharply when traveling faster. Aggressive driving with rapid acceleration and slowing will also have a negative effect on your fuel economy.
Want to drive less when you retire? U.S. News & World Report recently looked at 10 great towns in which to do that. Here are the places:
Ann Arbor, Mich.
State College, Penn.
Did You Know
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has led to delays from Japanese automakers, with Toyota recently announcing that two new Prius vehicles will be delayed.
Q: I own a 2010 Yukon Denali (flex fuel), which has less than 1,500 miles. The service manual highly recommends the use of E85 or premium gasoline 91 octane or higher. I have spoken to people that say prolonged use of E85 can damage the engine. I would like to continue using E85, providing it won’t damage the engine. What is your opinion?
A: As long as the manual says you can use the E85 and the engine runs good, I would continue the use of the E85. When car companies design the fuel delivery system for the flex fuel, they use different parts in the fuel delivery system to accommodate the different fuels.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service