The whole world is spinning on a wobble due to the concern over gas and oil prices. Years ago, the USA put speed limits on highways and initiated the ‘Drive 55’ slogan to encourage people to slow down and save gas.
Thinking back, this is an excellent idea. We even feel that it should be taken further. It is hard to gauge and we have been googling for the proper answer but if you save gas by slowing down to 55mph, how much slower can you go to save even more? What we need to do is to determine the minimum speed which will save us the most fuel and go on that. Leave the house at the same time, leave work and school at the same time, but drive at the slowest economical speed for your vehicle.
If businesses slow down or schools start late, blame the fed. They raised the prices with their fakakta policies, let them deal with the slow down that results. Do you really want to get to work on time?
Another way to accomplish this comes to mind. Driving home from Atlantic City yesterday, and cutting through the pine barrens, we saw what looked like an armadillo crossing the road ahead. Speeding up to catch a glance, we saw a rabid raccoon. It’s tail was straight and pointy at the end, not like a raccoon, though it was still striped. It was staggering down the double-yellow and it’s fur was matted. It looked almost sweaty.
There was no traffic at that instant but a large grid was approaching and, in the rearview mirror, we saw three lanes of traffic come to a complete halt due to one rabid mammal. Perhaps we should collect all rabid animals and loose them on the highways, saving bullets and time. It was a disturbing sight, as we have always liked raccoons since reading the great Sterling North books, like Rascal and Raccoons Are The Smartest People. We do not advocate any action against raccoons, per se’.
Even more disturbing is the thought of all those mosquitos in the pine barrens, which are famous for their ferocity in bloodsucking. It makes us wonder if bugs can transmit rabies, if we should take the cats in for boosters even though they do not go outside (the chance of a rabid bat getting in the house are pretty low but bats DO get in, as we have seen in other houses).
Maybe if we took a rabid badger and threw it on the floor of the Congress and bolted the doors with all our Gongressmen locked inside with a domestic oil policy to sign, perhaps it would work in the opposite way and speed up the signing. Rabid animals may come in handy, afterall.
Until we can work out a logical way to achieve this end, let’s just all consider going slower. Here are some recent tips on saving gas, thanks to the AAA:
Take a load off
Aerodynamics can become quite significant at highway speeds. Carrying luggage on the roof of your car or towing equipment can be costly.
“Any time you do something like that, your fuel economy is going to tank,” AAA’s Hyde said.
When ski season ends, take the rack off your car, said Mike Quincy, automotive specialist with Consumer Reports. “Racks produce a lot more aerodynamic drag, so your car has to work harder to slip through the air,” he explained.
He added that drivers should remove any unnecessary weight from their trunks. Weight is the biggest pitfall when it comes to maximizing a car’s fuel efficiency, Quincy said.
“The more weight the car has to move, the harder the engine has to work. If you are carrying around stacks of National Geographic magazines, take them to the recycling center,” he said. “All that extra weight is costing you miles per gallon. There’s stuff that you don’t need in your car; you keep meaning to drop it off.”
When gas prices spike, products claiming to boost fuel efficiency pop up. Avoid them, experts said.
“All of these shady entrepreneurs come out and try to sell you these gizmos to add to your car to add fuel economy,” Quincy said. “But if there was a magic bullet, then the car companies would use them. When gas prices go up, people prey on greed and fear. Don’t fall prey.”
Plan your trips
To save on gas, try to run all of your errands in one trip and avoid backtracking.
“If you take four trips with a cold engine, that takes more gas than when you try to do it all at once with a warm engine,” Hyde said.
Drivers can also plan to use gas stations with cheaper prices. AAA provides a free fuel-price finder.
Turn on the air conditioning
Drivers with modern cars that recirculate cooled air shouldn’t be afraid to run the air conditioning.
“When you roll down the windows, you start messing with the aerodynamics of the vehicle,” Hyde said. “When you open those windows, you are not going to get maximum fuel efficiency because it creates new drag.”
Further, Quincy said open windows can mean trouble for drivers.
“You are increasing the turbulence in the car. The whole cabin is very noisy, and that makes you more fatigued,” Quincy said. “Run the air conditioner because it will make the driver happier, more comfortable and more alert, and that will make for a safer driver.”
Popular gas-saving advice calls for drivers to mind the speed limit, use cruise control and avoid too much idling, according to Edmunds.com. Further, careful drivers should also make sure to get their engine tuned, check their air filters and use the right motor oil.
Properly inflated tires will somewhat improve fuel economy, and this maintenance is easily accomplished. Quincy recommended checking tires at least once a month.
“Underinflated tires compromise your car’s handling and braking, and they also wear faster,” Quincy said. “If your tires are underinflated, there’s a lot more rolling resistance, and the car will have to work harder to roll down the road.”