23 Feb
2012

Green Driving Techniques to Save Gas, Increase Mileage – Green Oil and Lube

Posted by Norman F

Toyota prius hybrid Car

It costs a lot to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. A recent study released in early 2012 showed that the average household in San Francisco spends 39.5% of their income on housing and transportation. Those that lived in the suburbs spent even more, probably because they had to drive longer distances. People that lived in Marin County spent 56.3% on housing and transportation, while those lived in San Mateo County spent 53.3%. Finding ways to reduce our transportation costs is very important.

How to Save Money on Your Car

There is more to saving gas in your car than just driving a Hybrid PriusHow you drive is as important as what you drive.  Give your current car a mileage boost with some of these techniques. Warning, other drivers many not smile when you are in front of them. EcoDriving covers many of these ideas.

  1. Do not floor the accelerator from a stop sign
  2. Empty the car of unnecessary items to reduce weight
  3. Slow down before entering corners, don’t hit the brakes hard in the turn
  4. Keep engine RPMs low when cruising.
  5. Do not speed,  keep speeds around 60mph, do not tailgate
  6. Coast down inclines
  7. Keep your car tuned and tires maintained and inflated properly
  8. Close windows at high speeds and use the air conditioner or better yet fan ventilation
  9. Use the recommended grade of gas and oil
  10. Smoothly accelerate and brake
  11. Remove racks from your roof when not using them

Hybrid Car Mileage Tips

toyota prius hybrid car mileage tips

It is hard matching EPA estimates for any car, especially hybrids. I found some helpful Prius Mileage tips, some of which are counter intuitive.

  • Quickly accelerating to your cruising speed, is more efficient than slowly accelerating
  • Using the windows instead Air conditioning is more efficient even though drag is caused by the windows.
  • For every 1 MPH you drive above 55 MPH, you will lose almost 1 MPG. Primarily due to aerodynamic drag.
  • Try to keep your speed below 42 MPH, this will prevent the engine from running.

Replacing a vehicle with a fuel efficient model has the biggest aggregate potential reduction in green house gas emissions at 31.4 millions of metric tons of carbon a year. Even more than Weatherizing a home (21.2), buying energy efficient appliances (11.7), or carpooling (6.5).

When does a Toyota Prius lose the MPG battle?

I got blown away by a Prius doing probably 90+ on the highway. Gotta wonder if the driver understood the reason people by Prius’.

Check out this video. This entertaining video shows that a lead foot on a Toyota Prius loses the gas economy war to a high performance BMW M3 sedan even though the BMW is rated far lower in EPA gas mileage.

high gas prices

Fuel Economy.gov shows that gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you are over 60, costs you an additional quarter in gas.

Aggressive driving obviously wastes gas and can reduce your mileage by up to 33%.

I see many people going 70 mph or faster, when highways in the San Francisco Bay Area allow it. It is ironic to see a hybrid such as the Prius, speeding along at 80 mph. They could save $ by driving slower.  Of course time is money too..  Speeding has also has a social cost of more speed related crashes.  Save up to $200 a year on gas by obeying speed limits and by driving smoother!

DriveSmarterChallenge.org helps you calculate your savings.

Motorcycle or Car?

Is it being more green, riding a motorcycle instead of a car? A recent Mythbusters episode found the motorcycles were more fuel efficient and produced less carbon dioxide than cars. However, the motorcycles emitted more carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitric oxide emissions, all of which pollute the air and contribute to help problems.

Green Motor Oil and Green Car Care Products

green motor oil

Green Earth Technologies has new car care products and biodegradable Green G-OIL Motor Oil from Green Earth Technologies. It is made from American-grown renewable animal fats.

Amazon also carries products from Green Earth Technologies.

Save Gas – Drive Slower

Hybrid Car

With gas prices falling, this tip will definitely get very little attention. It is guaranteed that someday gas prices will rise again, so keep this in the back of your mind when you are at the gas pump.

See our post Green Driving Techniques to Save Gas, Increase Mileage

Tri Flow Soy Lube – Green Lube or Eco Friendly Lubricant

Tri Flow soy lube lubricant

As good sign of the green wave is Tri Flow Soy Lube for lubricating bikes and other moving parts. This Green Lube is natural soy oil based so it is rapidly biodegradable. Less petroleum products = more eco friendly. 90% will biodegrade in less than 28 days according to them. It does contain PTFE Teflon though.

Car Roof Racks Reducing Car Mileage

car with ski rack

The cost of gas is starting to go up again. Car Racks significantly reduce car mileage. It is amazing how many people drive around with ski or bike racks permanently attached to their car. 99% of the time, these car racks are empty. Why not just remove them and install when they are needed.

car with ski rack and storage box

No doubt convenience is the main reason. Car racks interfere with aerodynamics. We can hear a distinct noise whenever a rack is on our vehicle. A site did a test and measured 12% less miles per gallon with an empty rack and 27% less mileage with a bike on the rack. Placing a rack on the back of the car reduces mileage far less, so consider a hitch mounted ski or bike rack.

Buying a New Rack

Newer racks are responding by becoming more aerodynamic. Yakima has the wind tunnel tested Whispbar that is more aero and more quiet.

Green Sports car – New Ford Mustang V6

Read an article the other day about a surprisingly fuel efficient 305 horsepower 2011 Ford Mustang V6 Pony car, that gets an amazing 31 miles per gallon on the highway. Review

Some of the innovations include:

  • The new Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system which eliminates the drag of an engine-operated hydraulic power steering pump
  • Six-speed transmissions that allow lower cruising revs without sacrificing off-the-line performance
  • Aerodynamic improvements such as a new front fascia, tire spats on the rear wheels, modified underbody shields, a taller air dam and an added rear decklid seal

Hopefully all this technology will trickle down to regular cars were mileage improvements will be even higher due to smaller engines.

Garmin nuvi GPS ecoRoute Fuel Saving Routing

New tools to extend car mileage. Garmin has a new EcoRoute HD cable that plugs into your cards onboard diagnostics port (OBD II) and communicated via Bluetooth to their GPS navigation units. Fuel flow, in take, oil pressure, throttle position, etc are send to the GPS for analysis and display. This data is used by their ecoRoute software. ecoRoute HD will be compatible with many current and future nüvi models, including 1260, 1370, 1390, 1490 and 1690.

Garmin has free ecoRoute software for some of their nuvi GPS navigation devices that adds a “less fuel” option as a routing preference. When selected, the Garmin nüvi GPS will determine if more fuel efficient routes exist based upon road speed data and vehicle acceleration data for a given route.

It is compatible with Garmin nuvi 205, 705, 1200, and 1300 series of GPS’s. Amazon has most of these models on sale.

Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator

Toyota Prius Hybrid

Edmunds.com has a new Gas-Guzzler Trade-In Calculator that helps you figure out the pay back period and fuel saving associated with trading in a vehicle for a new more fuel efficient one.

A major problem with ditching a gas guzzling SUV is one of calculating how much you will save in gas and then figuring out how long it take to pay for the new more fuel efficient car. It may take years to just break even.

Considering a Prius would probably cost more than $21,647, the pay back time is even longer especially if gas prices fall. Consider regular high mileage compacts such as the Honda Fit.

Also consider a recent (2 or 3 year old) vintage fuel efficient pre-owned car. The biggest cost in owning a car is depreciation at almost 50%, followed by fuel costs at near 20%.

Natural gas Honda Civic

Honda is offering a $3000 debit card for compressed natural gas to buyers of its Honda Civic. The card can be used at any Clean Energy Fuels station. This promo ends at the end of 2012. This vehicle costs $26,305 and gets 31 mpg of equivalent fuel. A gallon of compressed natural gas costs roughly $2. Natural gas is produced within the United States, keeping money within our country and not sending it to the Middle East.

Posted on February 23rd, 2012
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6 Responses to “Green Driving Techniques to Save Gas, Increase Mileage – Green Oil and Lube”

  1. Jeff Says:

    These are good tips. One other thing I would like to add. We recently became a one car household. It is amazing how much money you can save if you can get rid of one car. It is really working well for us, and we have significantly reduced our carbon footprint too.

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