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      •	 COMMUTING


      •	 CAR SHARING









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      •	 PROCEDURE







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Cars are an integral part of every family. In fact it is one of the most important part of our lives as
without a car it would be very inconvenient to even commute from place to place.

The downside of this is the car with all its comforts and convenience will not run on its own. We need
to feed it with gas on a regular basis. Car fuel therefore is also a very big chunk in the household

With the rising fuel prices, it is therefore very important to find ways and means of reducing the
amount of money you spend on your car.

If you are just going to purchase your new car, you can do a thorough research before settling down
on the model and vehicle which will give you the best mileage.

If you already have a car following a few maintenance and driving tips which will help you to
considerably reduce fuel consumption.


Petrol is a liquid mixture derived from petroleum consisting of aliphatic hydrocarbons and is enhanced
with aromatic hydrocarbons. Petrol is used mainly as a fuel in engines which are of the internal
combustion type.

This fuel is commonly referred to as petrol. People in North America refer to petrol as gas which is
different from other gas fuels like liquid petroleum gas.

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There are two ways by which one can measure fuel consumption –

   1. By calculating the amount of fuel used per unit distance. The most commonly used unit is
      L/100 km. If this value is lower it means the mileage is better. You consume lesser fuel to travel
      a certain distance.

   2. By calculating the distance travelled per unit of fuel used. Km/L or miles per gallon are the
      commonly used units. In this case if the value is higher it means better fuel economy. A certain
      unit of fuel allows you to travel more distance.

You can convert miles per US gallon to L/100 km by dividing 235 by the number in question. If you
want miles per imperial gallon, you have to use 282 instead of 235.

Another way to measure fuel consumption is by measuring the amount of carbon dioxide emitted due
to combustion.

The unit of measure is CO2 per Km. Emission of CO2 per gallon is usually constant and therefore
fuel efficiency can be determined easily by measuring the carbondioxide emissions.


Here are a few tips you can follow to get the best mileage from your car –

Pointers on driving more efficiently on the roads –

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Staying within speed limits specified and if you are good at it, keeping above 60 miles per hour
whenever possible reduces gas consumption.

Anticipating travel conditions and driving smooth without too many jerks especially in the city can
definitely improve your gas mileage by at least five per cent.

Aggressive driving wastes a lot of fuel. On highways, this kind of driving with rapid acceleration and
braking lowers your fuel mileage by almost thirty three percent.

Wild acceleration without an aim is not going to help in any way. Doing this will also make you brake
abruptly in junctions and traffic jams. Learn to anticipate and keep a moderate speed so that your
drive will be much smoother. Braking just wastes a lot of energy.

Idling the vehicle engine unnecessarily when you know you have to wait for long consumes a lot of
fuel. You can avoid this by switching off the engine during long waits in signals and traffic jams.

When the engine is warmed up it consumes lesser fuel. It is therefore a good idea to combine errands
and finish your work in one trip rather than making a lot of short trips with a cold start engine.

While on a highway, you must use the overdrive gear or the cruise control option to reduce fuel

Carrying excessive weight in the trunk of the car is one of the causes of reduced fuel mileage. A
hundred pounds of weight in the car trunk can reduce your fuel mileage by at least two percent.

Similarly, if you load the roof of your car with luggage, this tends to create wind resistance thereby
increasing the strain on the engine. This results in consumption of more fuel, at least five percent

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Using the right kind of oil is another thing you have to do. Using oil of lower viscosity improves
mileage significantly. Remember not to use very thin oil for the engine. It is again a good idea to
consult the owner’s manual before deciding on the best option.


There are a few things you can organize and do before starting the car to avoid unnecessary idling –

   •	 Go through your CD collections and select what you want to play on your drive.

   •	 Put on the seat belt.

   •	 Buckle in the children safely.

   •	 If you do not have automatic windows, roll down your windows.

   •	 Clean the ice from the windows in winter before you get in

   •	 Adjust the rear view and side mirrors

   •	 Wait till everyone is inside the car.

Now you are ready to start the car and leave immediately without wasting time and most importantly
fuel on idling.

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The engine of your vehicle has to be tuned as per instructions in the owner’s manual. Doing this
actually gives you at least four percent more mileage, though this also depends on the condition of
your car and how well it has been repaired.

By fixing your oxygen sensor as a part of your maintenance, you can improve your car mileage by at
least forty percent.

Maintaining your tires by keeping them aligned and inflated to proper pressure gives you at least
three percent more mileage. Inflated tires are also safer and they last longer.

According to the US Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using
grades of motor oil recommended by the manufacture improves gas mileage to a great extent. If you
use a 10W-30 motor oil for an engine designed for 5W-20, you mileage will be lowered by at least one
to two percent.

Similarly, using a 5W-30 in an engine designed for a 5W-20 will also lower your mileage by 1-1.5

Motor oil which has the “Energy Conserving” symbol of the American Petroleum Institute contains
some additives which reduce friction thereby giving more mileage.

One very important aspect is to check your air filters regularly. A clogged air filter can reduce your
mileage to a great extent almost upto ten percent. Air filters protects the inside of the engine from
getting damaged by the impurities. Therefore, apart from saving fuel, replacing air filters regularly also
protects your engine.

Choose the Octane level for your car according to what is specified in the owner’s manual. Normally,
regular octane is recommended for most of the cars. Buying a higher octane gasoline does not help
in any way and it is only a waste of money.

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Do not be taken in by claims that promise to boost your gas mileage with the help of gas saving
devices such as the mixture enhancers, fuel line magnets, etc. Most of these claims have found to be
false by the EPA.

In fact, some of these supposed gas saving devices increase exhaust emissions or sometimes even
damage the engine of your car.


Owner’s Manual – As soon as you purchase your car, take time out to go through the owner’s manual
carefully to understand the schedule and requirements for maintenance. You can only learn about
what your vehicle needs from the manufacturer as different vehicles need different regimes to be
followed. This is the best way to keep your vehicle running clean.

Among other things, the owner’s manual tells you what type of vehicles you should go in for, how
often should you change the vehicle, how often should you check up your engine and transmission,
etc. Normally, if you do not follow their instructions on the maintenance schedule, your warranty is

In case you don’t get a manual with your vehicle purchase, make sure to ask for it from the
manufacturer or the dealer. Take the maintenance of your car very seriously and avoid any kind of a
guess work.

It is also advisable not to rely too much on the advice of friends, neighbours and family members as
each vehicle is different in its maintenance requirements.

Cars of today are pretty advanced with sophisticated engines and computer systems on board. It is
imperative therefore to make sure you entrust the maintenance and care of the vehicle to a trained
automotive professional who are adept in diagnosing the problem and have the all the means to
repair the same.

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When you entrust your car to a professional, you can be sure of a good service and also of a safe
and fuel efficient drive.

Following a maintenance schedule does not mean you do not take your car for a check up in case
of any problem or unless and until you have a breakdown. You should be informed about the various
parts in your car and how they can affect fuel efficiency as this will help in maintaining your vehicle in
peak condition.

Choosing the right Mechanic – Even though there are a host of mechanics and garages who do your
maintenance for a small price, it is recommended to always go in for trained automotive professionals
for your vehicle even though they may be more expensive.

You are in safe hands with them as they have the knowledge of the trade and the tools required to
keep your car in a fit condition for you to have an enjoyable, fuel efficient and tension free drive.

Motor Oil - Buy only the “Energy Conserving” branded motor oil for your car. Using the oil
recommended in your owner’s manual can really improve the fuel efficiency of your engine.

Maintenance is very important for proper and efficient functioning of all the mechanical parts of your
vehicle. You should follow your manufacturer’s instructions on how to check the engine, cooling and
ignition system, drive train, brakes, emission control system, etc.

Checking and changing the engine oil in intervals specified by the manufacturer is one of the most
efficient ways to maintain your car. Oil reduces the friction and reduces excess heat by lubricating the
moving parts of the engine thereby increasing fuel efficiency. This also helps in reducing emissions.

Another thing the oil does is to remove metal shavings and dirt from the engine which are then
captured by the oil filter. Considering the importance of the engine oil, it is advisable not to neglect
this as you will definitely have to pay a severe penalty possibly even replace the engine.

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Most of the light duty vehicles use multigrades like 10W30 or 5W30. There are two things you have
to look for while purchasing your engine oil. One label shows the multigrade and another label is
the quality rating such as “Energy Conserving” which means the oil has been rigorously tested and
certified. If you use oil certified by “Energy Conserving”, your fuel consumption reduces by as much
as 2.7%.

Another alternative is to use re-refined oil instead of virgin oil. Additives and detergents are added
to the Engine oil which is taken to a recycling plant and rejuvenated. Impurities are also removed
thereby making this oil similar to mainstream oil products. Re-refined oil which is certified by the
Ecologo mark is as good as the motor oil.

Synthetic oil is another option and it has an advantage over the mineral oils especially under extreme
weather or performance conditions. Since this oil is manufactured and not refined from crude oil, it
can be formulated to give good flow characteristics and with resistance to viscosity breakdown. But
then, synthetic oil is more expensive than the conventional motor oil.

Oil is normally changed once in three months or in every 5000 kilometres.

Check your Tires – Even if one tire is underinflated, it reduces the life of the tire considerably and also
reduces the fuel efficiency by 4%.

During the winter season, you have to give special attention to your tires as the cold temperature
tends to reduce the air pressure. This problem is further compounded by the rolling resistance caused
by the snow and slush.

Performing a Monthly Check –
You can ward off any problem that seems to be cropping up at the initial stages by performing a
regular monthly check up.

When you do this your vehicle will be maintained which will certainly enhance your fuel efficiency by
at least fifteen percent and also the greenhouse gas emissions.

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Checking and changing the air filters regularly will make sure you are again safe from over
consumption of fuel.

If you make sure you maintain your vehicle well, you will be guaranteed of a good price when you
want to sell it.

Even if you leave the maintenance of your vehicle to professionals, you should make sure a few
things are checked every month in order to identify and solve any problems which may crop up. This
will considerably reduce your expenses on fuel.

Check your tire pressure at least once a month and look for signs of embedded objects and uneven
wear which may cause leaks. During winter it is advisable to check tire pressure everytime there is a
sharp change in temperature.

Checking for fluid leaks under the engine should be done on a regular basis. Usually you can identify
the fluid that is leaking from the colour.

If it is black it is oil, coolant has a yellow green color. Automatic transmission fluids are mostly pink
transparent liquids that have tinge of brown in them, which is a clear indication of leakage brake fluids
as well as power steering fluids. All of them are oily to touch.

Fluid levels should be checked on a regular basis like the engine oil, engine coolant, transmission
and power steering fluid, etc.

Another thing you have to check for regulary is under the hood for split or cracked spark plug wires,
cracks in radiator hoses, clamps which are loose and corrosion around the terminals of the battery.

Keep checking if the brakes are alright. You can do this yourself by driving smoothly on an empty
stretch of road and applying the brakes gradually. If you find the vehicle swerving to one side, it
means you have a problem there. One of the brake linings may be worn out or you may need to get
the brakes adjusted.

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You can also check for problems in wheel alignment in a similar manner. When you drive on a flat
even stretch of road smoothly, rest your hands lightly on the steering wheel and drive at an even
speed, the vehicle should not pull to one side.

If it does, it means the wheels are not properly aligned. You will then have to take your vehicle
immediately and get the wheel balancing done.

The fuel pump is one of the most important parts of a car. These pumps constantly pump gas into the
carburettor and are practically maintenance free.

The working of this mechanical pump is simple too. It consists of a rubber diaphragm which is in
between two halves of the housing. It is actuated by an arm.

Pusher and puller pumps –

Puller pumps are the mechanical fuel pumps which has a strong suction ability. This is how it pulls the
gasoline from the tank to the engine. The puller pump is quite close to the carburettor and therefore
they do not have to work very hard to keep pressure.

Pusher pumps push fuel down the line. Pushers are generally electric pumps. They are situated
closer to the tank and get fuel by siphoning.

There is an eccentric in the camshaft which operates the lever arm of the pump. When the diaphragm
is pushed up, the gasoline which is above is pressurized and moves out of the pump into the
carburettor through the fuel line.

As the diaphragm returns to its rest position, the one way valves prevent the return of the fuel into the
carburettor. Situation is created for the fuel to be drawn from the tank again.

A vacuum is created by the movement of the diaphragm which results in drawing of the fuel into the
chamber. This is aided by the siphon present in the fuel system.

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It is very important to keep the engine of the vehicle at its optimal operating temperature. This is taken
care of by the cooling system. If the temperature is out of range, you will face problems of more fuel
consumption; more emissions and your engine will also wear out faster.

The cooling system has to be maintained on a regular basis. You have to monitor the levels of the
coolant liquid in the cisterin known as overflow tank periodically and also inspect for loose clamps or
cracks. New vehicles have self tensioning belts. In older cars, though you will have to inspect and
adjust the belts regularly.

As the coolant degrades, you will have to keep changing it as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It
is a good idea to test the antifreeze concentration in order to protect the engine adequately during


For maximum fuel efficiency, it is imperative you should maintain your car’s ignition system on a
regular basis.

The air fuel mixture is ignited by the spark plugs in a gasoline engine. Even if one of the plugs is worn
out, some amount of fuel will remain unburned and the engine will misfire. Spark plug wires which are
damaged or worn can also cause the engine to misfire.

An engine which thus misfires can cause a lot of fuel wastage, high levels of harmful emissions and
very poor performance of the vehicle.

Since the signs of misfiring are very subtle, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions on
engine checks and spark plug and ignition wire replacement very carefully.

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Normally, spark plugs last for at least 48000 kilometres. Platinum plugs last even longer at least for
160000 kilometres.

While some manufacturers may recommend changing spark plug wires at 96000 kilometres, others
may recommend replacing them as and when required. Whatever it is, it is safest to follow the
manufacturer’s instructions as they know best.

Extra maintenance for the ignition system is required in vehicles with distributors. In such cases too,
you must make sure you get your engine tuned up on a regular basis.


Modern automobiles are designed in such a way that the exhaust emissions are treated before they
are released into the atmosphere. It is very important to service and maintain the emission control
systems according to the instructions of the manufacturer. Otherwise your vehicle could be a major
polluter of the environment.

Indications of a poorly functioning emission control system give poor acceleration or are stalling and
even when your vehicle is emitting a bluish black smoke. This definitely means your car is polluting
the atmosphere and needs to be serviced.

In most of the modern vehicles, the on board diagnostic system alerts the driver regarding emission
related problems by triggering the ‘Service Engine Soon’ or ‘Check Engine’ light.

By identifying the problem before it becomes noticeable, this system saves a lot of money you would
otherwise be spending on repairs.

When you see this warning light, you must immediately consult the owner’s manual and follow the
instructions given there. For older vehicles though, you must keep checking periodically for any kind
of a problem.

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According to a study conducted under Government of British Columbia’s Aircare program on 124
vehicles, which failed the emission test, fuel-consumption rate, has improved around 15 percent after
these vehicles were repaired and serviced.


This heating system is prevalent in European cars.

This system has a timer which helps you time the engine to start heating up two to four hours before
you go to work. When you get back the previous evening, you can set the timer for the next morning.

It is advisable to use two hours of heating for mild winters and four hours if it is really cold.

The cable which connects the mains from the timer to the car goes into a small socket in front left
of the car where the power is plugged in. The cable inside the car goes to the block heater and the
inside heating fan.

The cable which is outside the car is usually made of oil and cold resistant material. This is because
the cable will tend to get stiff and the oil which is on the ground will tend to eat through the cabling.

The heating fan is another important component of the heating system. This fan heats the inside of
the vehicle making it comfortable for the driver. This also melts the ice in the windows which saves
quite a bit of time on idling thereby saving a lot of fuel.

The block heater thus saves you a lot of gas and helps with the mileage as we can see. The engine
understandably uses lesser fuel when warm and the heater fitted inside the car keeps the car warm
thereby decreasing the idling time saving on the fuel.

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One more important component of your vehicle which has to be inspected annually is the air system.
This system involves the air filter which filters the air passing to the engine and removes dirt and dust
harmful to the engine. If your air filter is dirty your fuel consumption is reduced drastically. You must
regularly replace the air filter according to the instructions in the owner’s manual.

There is another filter through which the fuel passes. This filter is located between the tank and the
engine. This filter has to be also checked regularly. It is a good idea to go through the owner’s manual
thoroughly on how to inspect the fuel system including the tank, cap and the fuel lines.

If you have a fuel system which is leaking, it is very dangerous and it also increases fuel consumption
tremendously. It also gives evaporative emissions when fuel is released into the atmosphere.


Tires are the most important part of any vehicle as this is the link between the vehicle and the road.
Maintaining correct tire pressure is very important to reduce rolling resistance which is one of the key
factors for improving fuel efficiency.

Poorly maintained tires have more rolling resistance which results in premature wearing out of the
treads when the tires are under inflated. This in turn increases fuel consumption.

You should make sure you measure the tire pressure when the tires are cold at least once a month
and on days when temperature drops drastically. Tires should also be checked for uneven wear which
could be due to improper wheel alignment, under inflation or over inflation.

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Tire rotation twice a year or every 10000 kilometres prolongs the life of the vehicle and also improves
fuel economy. Schedule for rotation of tires should be determined based on what is recommended in
the owner’s manual.

During the winter season tire pressure needs special attention as it drops about 1 psi for every five
degrees drop in temperature. Tires lose pressure also due to permeability.

Tires thus have to be inspected on a regular basis in order to improve fuel efficiency and reduce
harmful emissions.

Tire inspection should include –

Measuring tire pressure at least once in a month when they are cold. Usually the manufacturer’s
recommended pressure for the front and rear tires is specified on a plate or a sticker attached on the
edge of the driver’s door, the door post , the glove compartment or the fuel tank door. The pressure
specified on the tire itself is usually the maximum pressure that can be applied and need not be the
same as the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

If you do not find any specifications of tire pressure in the car, you can refer to the owner’s manual
or consult your dealer. Also make sure to check pressure of the spare tire. You will definitely need it

Tires have to be also checked for imbedded stones, glass and other foreign object that could damage
the tread and cause leakage.

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Tire pressure has to be measured when they are cold which means the vehicle has to be in a
stationary position for at least three hours or has not been driven for more than two kilometres.

If your tire is under inflated you have to return it to the proper inflation as early as possible.

If the recommended pressure for your car is 35 psi and if three tires in your car is at a correct
pressure and only one is at 28 psi, then this tire is obviously 7 psi inflated and this will result in four
percent excess fuel consumption.

If you have to drive a long distance to the air pump i.e. if you have to drive around 8 kilometres and
more, all the tires will warm up. The three correct ones will then rise to 37 psi and the under inflated
tire would then be at 30 psi. The tire is still 7 psi under inflated.

You should then inflate the lower pressure tire to 37 psi as it is no longer cold and warm tire gains
pressure. You must not do anything with the remaining three tires.

For more convenience, it will be more sensible to purchase your own tire pressure gauge as the ones
in the air pumps are sometimes inaccurate or even missing.

There is a difference between different tires. Tires which are bias belted are stiffer. The radial tires
have a higher rolling resistance which puts more pressure on the engine. This fact also makes it very
important to refer to your owner’s manual to decide on the pressure for your tire.

In order to get the best out of your tires, you should take professional help while choosing them. A tire
professional will guide you in choosing tires with low rolling resistance and a long tread life.

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The alignment of the wheels must be necessarily checked once a year. Tires which are not aligned
properly will tend to drag instead of rolling smoothly thereby increasing fuel consumption and
reducing the life of the tire. This will also cause a lot of problems regarding handing of the vehicle
while driving.

Balancing the wheels along with alignment is also very important. A pounding or a shaking in the
steering wheel is an indication of imbalanced wheels. This pounding results in shortening the life of
the other suspension components.

This will also produce uneven wear and tear of the tires increasing fuel consumption considerably.
In fact, tires which are not balanced exhibit “cupping” which a wear pattern is looking like a series of
bald spots.


Just like how you should make sure your car goes smooth, you must also make sure it stops when
you want it to. When you have brakes which squeal, grind, pulls the vehicle to one side or are soft, it
means your brakes are dragging.

This means the shoe or the brake pad is not getting released from the drum or the disc. If you do not
look into this immediately, these shoes and pads wear to the point where they start damaging the
other components thereby increasing your repair costs. This is also a strain on the engine.

Brakes which start dragging increases fuel consumption to a great extent due to the strain on the
engine and also reduce the life span and effectiveness of the brake.

In order to avoid all these complications, it is advisable to follow the instructions from the owner’s
manual regarding maintenance of the brake like regular inspections and checking the brake fluid.

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Apart from grinding and squealing noises, other indications of brake trouble include brake fade which
is loss of effectiveness of braking due to excess heat in the brakes, pulling of vehicle to one side or a
soft or pulsating brake pedal.



Once you realise the importance of saving on your fuel, there are a lot of ways to consciously reduce
fuel consumption.

One of the most important means is to plan all your car trips. For example, if you have a couple of
things you need to do, you should combine your trip to cover all your errands. It makes sense not to
make single trips and waste fuel.

This is because making several short trips from a cold start uses almost twice as much fuel as a
longer trip which is multipurpose covering the same distance when the engine is warmed up.

A little bit of conscious planning you can save a lot of fuel by avoiding retracing your route and
reducing the distance travelled. Apart from fuel saving this will also reduce wear and tear of your


Another idea is to adjust your work hours if possible to avoid travelling in peak rush hours thereby
saving fuel. The time spent by you sitting in the traffic will be less and you will also save on the fuel.

If you have more than one car, try using the one which gives more gas mileage more often. If
permitted by your employer, you could even consider telecommuting.

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Another idea that could help is to go in for car pools and ride in share programs. Taking turns thus
with other commuters can bring down your fuel costs to almost half and also reduce the wear and
tear of your car.

In fact a lot of urban areas encourage this kind of shared programs by allowing to use special High
Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to handle vehicles with multiple passengers.

Using the public transportation available in your area is also a good option. You can get more
information on the public transport available in your state from this link – American Public Transit
Transportation Association.


While travelling long distance it is convenient to load your luggage in the roof rack or carrier on top of
your car, especially in smaller cars. But you should remember that doing this will definitely reduce the
fuel efficiency of your car by at least five percent.

If you try and reduce the luggage you place on top of the car and try to fit it into the trunk of your car,
you can reduce the aerodynamic drag and improve the fuel efficiency.

You can do this by consciously avoiding unnecessary items especially the ones which are heavy too.

For example, during summer, people who want to enjoy paddling through nature or a ride on the bike
waste a lot of fuel in the process carrying all this on the roof or the trunk of the car.

One thing you can do is taking them off the roof or trunk and hitch the racks off the vehicle to reduce
the wind resistance and also save on the fuel. Though it may be a little bit of an extra effort on your
part, you can consider this as a warm up for your hitch and ride.

It is also not necessary to leave kayaks or bikes on the roof of the vehicle. By removing them when
not in use, you will be helping save a lot of fuel thereby helping also in conservation of energy in

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There is no reason why one should own a car full time when you can drive it part time and
consequently do not have the temptation to keep taking your car out. This concept has ushered in the
revolutionary car sharing scheme which has been a hit in Europe for many years now.

With phenomenal rise in car ownership and fuel costs recently in the US, a lot of consumers and
entrepreneurs are thinking outside the traditional and are opting for the car sharing scheme which is
much more economical and convenient.

Opting for this scheme not only saves the price of the car but also the insurance bills, repair bills,
taxes, etc. Two major companies in the US offering this scheme are the Flexcar and Zipcar. According
to them this concept is really picking up of late.

Car sharing is actually avoiding all the complications of paying for insurance, maintenance and fuel
costs all the time and pay for the vehicle only when you are behind the wheels.

This is convenient and saves a lot of time, energy and most importantly money. According to some of
the users of this scheme, they even save upto $3000 per month opting for this scheme.

Car sharing is different from car renting in some ways. While in car renting you are required to pay for
the whole day even though you use the car only for a few hours, in car sharing it is not so. You need
to pay only for the time you use the car by the hour.

One more convenient thing about car sharing is that you can book online. Companies after verifying
your background and profile and approving of the same deliver the car to wherever you are. Even the
invoicing and payments are done online.

While most of the car rental companies accumulate at public points like airports, stations, etc the car
sharing companies come to your neighbourhood for your benefit.

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If you are going to be using the services of the car share companies, they even have the option of an
annual membership. This enables you to have a long term understanding with the company.

Using this service is very simple. All you have to do is to log on to the company’s website and click on
your home profile.

A screen will then pop up offering you a choice of vehicles which are closest to you and you can
choose any one of them.

When you reach your vehicle, you will have to wave your radio frequency ID card to unlock the
vehicle. You will retrieve the keys from under the steering column, start the car and exit the parking

After completing your work, all you have to do is return the car to the same spot, exit and lock the
vehicle. This immediately stops your billing.

On an average all car share companies charge about $8.50 per hour.

Few other advantages of car sharing include the convenience of not paying for the fuel as all these
companies have a fleet fueling card. Regarding the insurance, you do not have to pay for that too as
you are automatically covered by the company’s policy.

If the vehicle breaks down it is the company’s responsibility to send you a tow truck and replace the
vehicle for you.

Considering all these aspects, the car sharing system is catching up really fast in the US and very
soon this will be a wave all over the world considering the rising cost of fuel.

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Selecting a new car is the most important fuel economy decision for you to make.

This decision is made tougher by the fact that fuel consumption varies widely from one car to the
other. No matter whether you are purchasing a new or a used car, the decision you make today will
either cost you or save you money for years to come.

The first thing that you need to decide is how big a car you need. It is advisable to go in for a car
which is just the right size for your needs. Unnecessarily going in for a big car will make you spend
more on the fuel as the size of the car needs a bigger engine and a bigger engine means more fuel

If you are purchasing a new car, make sure to check the EnerGuide label for the fuel consumption
rating. This label is affixed in almost all new cars. You can also refer to fuel consumption ratings in the
Fuel Consumption Guide available for free.

These guides will give you details of award winners in each model of cars like two seaters, station
wagons, compact, sub compact, mid sized and large cars, pick up trucks, vans, special purpose
vehicles, etc.

The transmission that you choose also has an effect on the fuel consumption and the cost of the
vehicle. Generally, manual transmission is more fuel efficient that the automatic one if you shift
properly. If you go in for automatic, it is better you go in for more gears.

Though it is more convenient to drive an All Wheel Drive as well as a Four Wheel Drive to offer the
convenience of braking and superior traction under slippery conditions, this will add strain to the

The friction and weight of the additional parts tends to increase fuel consumption by around five to ten
percent as compared to two wheel drive vehicles. You must carefully decide on this depending on the
size of the vehicle you actually need.

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Larger engines tend to consume more fuel than smaller engines under normal circumstances.
It is better to choose the smallest engine that is required by you for long term benefits on fuel

Extra options in your car like power windows, seats and mirrors tend to increase fuel consumption by
adding weight and increasing the aerodynamic drag. They thus draw extra power from the engine.

If you can do without these small conveniences, you can avoid fuel penalty on a long term basis.

Another thing that draws a lot of fuel is the use of air conditioners. Using air conditioners in a hot
climate especially in the city can consume at least 20 percent more fuel. You could consider replacing
the air conditioner with ventilation systems and other options like tinted glasses and sunroof.

Choose a car which has the cruise control option as this saves you a lot of fuel especially on
highways. This is due to the fact that this option enables you to maintain a constant speed and avoid
inadvertent speeding.

You should also do a research on the fuel options. You can choose then from a variety of options
like fuel efficient diesel vehicle, vehicles which run on propane or natural gas producing lesser
greenhouse gas emissions, ethanol fuel blends, etc.

Hybrid vehicles which use a combination of an internal combustion engine and high power batteries is
also becoming a popular option especially in North America.

Here is a list of a few cars released in 2007 which give a good mileage according to tests conducted
by the Environmental Protection Agency –

   1. HONDA FIT – This car which was launched in the year 2007 by Honda gives about 27 to 28
      in the city and around 33 to 34 on the highway. This is a compact car with an engine of Horse
      Power 109.

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   2. PONTIAC VIBE – This car which was launched in 2007 has the feature of a tire pressure
      monitoring system. A product of Toyota and General Motors, this car gives about 25 in the city
      and around 32 on the highway. Engine horsepower is around 126.

   3. TOYOTA YARIS - Released in the year 2007 this car is a product of Toyota. This is also a
      compact car which is a low expense model. This car gives a mileage of 29 in the city and
      around 36 on highways. Engine horsepower is 106.

   4. HYUNDAI ELANTRA – This product of Hyundai is a midsized car with an electronic stability
      system. Mileage is about 24 to 25 in the city and around 33 on highways.

   5. FORD ESCAPE - The year 2007 saw the release of another vehicle with a good gas mileage
      in the SUV segment –the Ford Escape. This SUV has been designed in collaboration with
      Mazda. The 2008 model of the Ford Escape Hybrid has been awarded for being the most fuel
      efficient Sports Utility Vehicle.

       The front wheel drive version of this vehicle gives about 31 in city and 29 on
       highways. The four wheel version gives 28 in the city and 27 on highways.

   6. Another version of the Escape called “The Mariner” gives almost the same mileage. There are
      a few other sports utility vehicles which give really good mileage like the Mercury Hybrid SUV,
      Lexus RX 400h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Saturn Vue Hybrid, etc.

Here are a few pointers on what you should research on before picking up your car –

Visit the site to get an idea about mileage and emission ratings of cars.

Remember that smaller the engine, the better the fuel economy. Instead of contemplating on the V6
or V8 engine, try to go in for a four cylinder engine. The purchase price will also be lower and you will
save fuel money in the long run.

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If you are considering economizing on your fuel, you should choose the manual transmission as
opposed to the automatic one. This will also reduce the initial cost considerably and you will get long
term fuel benefit.

A host of hybrid vehicles which are available in the market can be looked into. These provide fuel
economy too.

Going in for a diesel car is a good fuel saving option. Diesel cars these days are so smooth and
efficient that you cannot tell the difference.

Electric cars though not for travelling on highway is a good option for city driving. A lot of research is
being done and electric cars will soon be on highways too.

It is a good idea to plan well ahead if you are going in for hybrid cars. You may most probably have to
place an order with the dealer and wait for the car.

Even if the waiting list is long, it is a good idea to get on the list. Do a thorough research on prices of
various models and decide on the one that suits you.

Deciding on the budget is very important since hybrids are in demand and expensive.

If you want to consider alternatives to hybrids, you may want to look into other fuel efficient cars. The
prices of these cars will be affordable and you will be saving quite a lot on these.

Alternately you can still wait for the market to cool off and the prices of the hybrid cars to come down
which it eventually will before purchasing the same.

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Before purchasing the car, be sure you go for the test drive with a trusted salesman or mechanic.
Clear all your doubts before closing the sale.

Last but not the least, you can browse around the used car market before settling for a new car as
there are a variety of good cars available there too which are fuel efficient.

Getting the right car suited to your needs is therefore all about monitoring the market carefully, being
realistic about what you need and finding the right dealer.


Due to the fact that manufacturers of trucks give priority to the utility features like cargo space, towing
capacity, payload, etc the overall fuel efficiency is not given much importance.

Choosing the truck model suiting to your needs which also has fuel efficiency and low emissions can
be quite a task.

There are a variety of models of full size trucks available in various combinations. Features are also
of a wide variety like the automatic and manual transmissions, four wheel and rear drive, 6 to 8
cylinders, etc.

All this makes it difficult to choose the kind of truck as each one of them affect the mileage in their
own way. There are a few things though which will be helpful in determining the truck that you can
buy –

The four wheel drive will consume more fuel than the rear wheel drive. This can be one helpful tip.

According to the federal gas mileage estimates for the year 2007, the six and eight cylinder versions
of the Chevrolet Silverado is rated the highest among the rear wheel drive trucks.

The bottom line though is that mileage actually depends more on how you drive the truck. Following
the regular driving tips can also save you a lot of fuel.

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The commercial airline industry is huge. Fuel costs are an important factor in running these airlines.

The United States commercial airline industry alone uses about 15 billion gallons of fuel annually.
When such a big amount of fuel is involved, even a small saving per unit can make a huge difference
to the airline.

Fuel economy in airlines is thus a very important factor. One thing airlines could take care of is
keeping the pilots informed about the dynamic fuel consumption rates i.e. the ground speed per unit
of fuel measurement. This will enable them to consciously adjust the flight conditions helping to save
fuel even while staying within parameters.

Having an apparatus which measures fuel efficiency in the aircraft will be a good idea. If this can be
done a lot of fuel can be saved every year thereby protecting our depleting resources.

With the steep rise in petrol prices, it is very important to choose a vehicle which gives a good
mileage. If you are planning a trip which is different and entertaining, then you can go in for the
recreation vehicle.

This is a pull able motorized vehicle used for transportation and also as temporary living quarters.
These vehicles can be booked online or you can even find them with the recreation dealers.

Being big and heavy, the RVs give lesser mileage but are a very convenient option for short trips with
family and friends.

Make sure you check the tire pressure with the help of the RV pressure regulator before you leave to
ensure better mileage.

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If you plan your trip in good weather conditions, you can avoid using the air conditioner or you can
limit the usage thereby saving on your fuel. Keeping your luggage light can also help in saving fuel as
more the weight in your car, more the fuel consumption.

Make sure you choose good roads to travel by. You can save a lot of fuel there. Making sure you
check the RV completely with your mechanic before embarking on the trip is a good idea.



A trailer attached to a truck is called a Motorhome. The inside of the trailer is like a caravan with
rooms resembling our home though more compact. The trailer also has all the equipments,
conveniences and appliances just as at home.

Being big in size, it naturally consumes more fuel than the normal big vehicles. Though it may look
unaffordable for a vacation, hiring a motorhome for a family vacation can be consciously made
economical and of course more enjoyable.

Motorhomes on an average give about 8 miles per gallon. It is not very expensive considering the
other comforts and benefits provided by the motorhome. There are a few things you can do to ensure
a better mileage from the motorhome –

Make sure the motorhome is in a good condition by testing the chassis on a dynamometer. Another
thing to be checked is the fuel to air ratio and the tire pressure.

Driver must be very efficient in handling this vehicle. He must be able to drive smooth and slow
with few starts and stops to ensure maximum mileage. Overspeeding tends to increase the fuel
consumption due to the air resistance and increase in weight of the vehicle.

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The first thing you have to decide is how important it is to carry on this operation and whether it is
worth the money.

If the tillage is going to be carried out in order o make the surface dry, dark and warm for seed
germination, you can achieve the same by mounting row cleaners in the planter. This will also warm
the soil surface after planting.

If you require a darker surface before planter operation, a better option would be the strip tillage. This
results in a reduction in the tilled area.

Deep tillage requires about 1.5 gal/ac of diesel fuel whereas the secondary shallow tillage requires
an extra gallon. With the risk of erosion of soil and loss of nutrients, tillage cost then outweighs the

There are a lot of things you can do to save fuel while using the tractor –

Keeping a current maintenance schedule, proper ballasting, tire inflation and selecting a fuel saving
gear and throttle are a few hints.

A current maintenance schedule as recommended in the owner’s manual improves fuel economy
drastically. Regular replacement of air filters helps in reducing fuel consumption.

Tractor operators should also check the total weight of the tractor and the front and rear axle
ballasting. If the ballasting is alright, it transfers the power efficiently to the drawbar thereby avoiding
wastage of energy.

The tire inflation pressure must be monitored periodically and adjusted according to the load carried.
Under or over inflation causes more fuel to be consumed.

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Shifting to a higher gear and reducing engine throttle reduces fuel consumption. This can be done for
lighter drawbar loads like spraying, lighter tillage, moving equipment, etc.

The energy saving could be really significant when conservation practices are good. The equipment
needless to say has to be carefully and properly maintained. Energy saving is a very important part of
crop production.


There are various alternatives when you have to choose the fuel option. You can consider them and
choose the one suited to you after a thorough research.

Alternate Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) are those which operate on alternate fuels like ethanol, methanol,
natural compressed gas, electricity, liquefied petroleum gas, and some others substances that have
been chosen by the DOE.

One advantage of using alternate fuels is it reduces exhaust emissions and harmful pollutants. All
alternate fuel vehicles are required by the FTC to have labels giving information about the car’s
approximate range of cruising and other information.

One important thing you have to find out is the mileage of these alternate fuel vehicles. They don’t
normally give as much as the gasoline powered vehicles.

There is another interesting option for people looking to buy a fuel efficient car. That is the Hybrid
Electric Vehicles which combines the benefit of gasoline engines and electric motors. One advantage
is this can be configured to give us maximum fuel economy and increased power.

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More information on Alternate Fuel Vehicles can be had from the DOE’s toll free National Alternate
Fuels Hotline or their website at


The Ecoenergy for Personal Vehicles Program gives consumers a lot of information on fuel
consumption and other decision making tools like vehicle labels, guides and information, etc to
encourage them to go in for more fuel efficient buying, maintenance practices and driving.


The “Be Tire Smart” campaign is another campaign which reaches out and educates the consumers
and motorists on how to improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle and maintenance tips to prolong
the life of the vehicle.

Doing this saves a lot of energy and also reduces harmful
emissions which contribute to changes in the climate.

A lot of campaigns like this creates awareness and provides
Information and educational materials like fact sheets, background documents, brochures, etc.

There are also a lot of events like tire inflation and maintenance clinics details of which can be had
from the websites.

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The Automotive X Prize (AXP) was an interesting multi million dollar competition which was held
recently. A total of thirty teams entered this competition. The final of this is to be held in the year 2009.

The competition involves creating a car from scratch. Participants had to design, build and race
a production capable vehicle which is as efficient as a 100 mpg gasoline engine, emits lesser
greenhouse gases and is affordable and desirable. All thirty participants exhibited their own unique
and interesting vision of cars of the future.

Most of the teams comprised of a band of individuals who came forward to show the world what a car
should be or even what a car company should be like.

Here are some details about five different models of Alternate Fuel Cars –

Zero Pollution Motors - Shiva Vencat’s car with the compressed-air four-door, five-passenger “air car”
is one of the major contenders in this competition. The engine runs on compressed air.

The air canisters are heated by propane, ethanol or gasoline due to which the vehicle should achieve
an increased range. Zero according to its CEO is at present testing a prototype. The car is expected
to sell at $13000 and will have a 500 mile range and speed of 96 mph.

Another feature of this car is that it will run clean on the hope that in due course filling stations and
even homes will have solar compressors which can fill the tanks.

Desert Fuel – Designed by Brian McCoy and his team the desert fuel is a biodiesel electric hybrid
which uses solar panels, regenerative braking and a small stirling engine all on a beat up 1980 VW
Rabbit. They have managed to make this vehicle as efficient as possible.

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This vehicle is mainly powered by a bio diesel engine which is the source of energy supply to the
battery banks and electric motors. They predict this car to have a 250 mile range and a speed of 100
mph with a cost of $26000.

Society for Sustainable Mobility –

This is one of the open sourced non profit organization which welcomes concepts and ideas from
everyone. The entry of this society is called “The Kernal” which is a hybrid SUV which resembles a
Toyota Highlander and performs like a Porsche Cayenne.

More than around 140 people from all over the world are working on this project now and the
prototype is expected to be ready by 2009.

Features include an on board generator for powering batteries. Fuel used will be bio diesel or diesel.
The vehicle will have a 300 mile range and should sell for $30000.

Apart from this, there are a host of other entries some even designed by college students.

While it may look incomprehensible that a group of college students and a few open source designers
can actually design cars of the future that may just be the future of the auto industry.

This is a company dedicated to developing alternative fuel vehicles. This young company has
developed three models of low speed electric cars which are in use in college campuses.

They are however scheduled to release a highway speed electric passenger car in late 2008 which
will be powered by lithium-ion batteries.

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Rubin, CEO of Miles Automotive warns people of the environmental disaster that we are facing by
being addicted to carbon emission producing gasoline.

There are a few other companies too which are into extensive research on electric powered and
hybrid cars and in a few years Alternative Fuel Vehicles may just be the thing that is going to save our
planet earth.


There is one big question mark as to whether the lithium ion battery is safe. Though these batteries
are lighter and they store more electricity than the nickel metal hybrids making them an ideal
candidate for weight restricted electric cars, the traditional lithium ion batteries used in laptops and
small tools are found to generate heat as they charge and discharge and this may be a potential fire
danger issue.

When questioned about this, Rubin CEO of Miles Automotive is confident that the battery they will
be using in their car will be of a different chemical composition and will not generate heat at all. Their
cars will be absolutely safe.


This is a system used to enhance gas mileage which is based on a Hydrogen Gas Generator on
board. This is still in the development stage. The company which is developing this model claims
around 95% efficiency on their prototypes and around 75% efficiency on their production model.

Their hydrogen generator is supposed to produce an Alternative Fuel Gas that is a mixture of 1.5 to 2
Litres of hydrogen gas and oxygen gas and is also known as Brown’s gas, every one minute at 20 to
30 amperes.

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According to the inventors of this system, this is expected to increase the mileage by at least 15 to 25
percent on vehicles. If used along with the driving tips provided in their manual, this system can even
reduce their fuel consumption by as much as 50 percent.


When hydrogen combined with other electrolyzed gases (Brown’s Gas) is introduced into the
engine, it will accelerate the spread of flame during combustion. This results in more vaporized fuel
combusting during the initial power stroke.

Manufacturers claim to have researched and documented the addition of Hydrogen in an internal
combustion engine including a diesel engine.

In the next step, the fuel heating system adjusts the temperature of the fuel in such a way that it
allows more injected fuel to vaporize as it prepares for combustion. This reduces the need for fuel by
the engine and also reduces the exhaust emissions considerably.

Dynamometer tests which have been conducted have shown an 18 to 31 % increase in mileage with
just the equipment. Road tests carried out following the driving tips given in the operator’s manual
have shown a remarkable 50 to 100 percent increase in mileage.

The amount of fuel injected into the engine is cut back as the engines which are fitted with electronic
fuel injection and computers on board adjust automatically. The icing on the cake is if you go in for the
electronic control circuit which will help the computer in making maximum adjustments efficiently.

Engines fitted with a carburettor are enhanced. This is done by adjusting the carburettor in such a
way that it compensates for the hydrogen and heated fuel.

Last but not the least, this system comes with an operator’s manual with driving tips and maintenance
instructions to give your vehicle optimum mileage. There is also the installation manual which
includes the plans and installation instructions for the vaporization system.

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The package includes components and accessories like the Model 20 Hydrogen Generator, hose,
wiring kit, fuel heater, mounting bracket, XCEL PLUS engine treatment, electronic control circuit, etc.


A lot of auto makers in the U.S and the government have been pushing towards an ethanol solution
to the ever increasing energy problem. A lot of tests have been conducted pitting ethanol against

The composition called E-85 which is 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline is being researched
widely to determine its cost effectiveness, efficiency and eco friendliness. Research is also being
done on unforeseen problems with this renewable fuel.

The fuel was tested in a drive between San Diego and Las Vegas and a minor difference was noticed
regarding fuel efficiency and green house emissions.

Though ethanol is being promoted as a popular alternate fuel, there has been a lot of concern
recently about the “negative energy source” which means we require more energy to produce this
compound than what we receive from it.

Doubts have also cropped up about the actual benefits of E85 environmentally speaking. Though the
price of E85 will tend to come down with increase in production, it is not clear as to whether the fall in
price will be enough to offset reduced fuel economy.

While there is no doubt about the financial independence the farmers will receive with ethanol
production, it is a fact that ethanol can only be a part of the solution and not the solution in itself.

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It is widely believed that a small amount of acetone which is readily available added to the fuel
improves the ability of the fuel to vaporize completely thereby reducing surface tension which inhibits
the vaporization of fuel droplets.

Acetone (CH2COCH2) can be bought from any of the hardware, auto part or even a drug store all
over the world. It is not very expensive too.

Adding a few drops of this in the fuel tank aids in vaporization of the gasoline or diesel thereby
increasing the engine longevity, performance, reducing hydrocarbon emissions and most importantly
increases fuel efficiency.


Acetone is a colourless liquid with a sweet odor. It is also very volatile. It sometimes also occurs
naturally and is the least toxic solvent in the industry.

Acetone is a part of lubricating oil, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, varnishes and lacquers, paints,
chloroform, etc.

In water, acetone volatizes or biodegrades before absorbing to sediments also called
bioaccumulating. Acetone readily biodegrades in soil.

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Complete vaporization does not happen in most of the vehicles of today. A bit of a residual fuel
remains as liquid in the hot chamber. For complete combustion, the fuel must vaporize completely.

One of the obstacles for complete vaporization is the surface tension. The energy created from
surface tension forces the gasoline to reach very high temperatures before vaporizing.

Acetone has the property of reducing surface tension considerably. Fuel molecules which are quite
sluggish which is their natural frequency are instigated by acetone to become more volatile and break
surface tension which naturally results in a more complete vaporization.

Advantages of more vaporization are less wastage of fuel and therefore an increase in gas mileage
from the increased thermal efficiency.

With the help of acetone, gasoline starts behaving like the ideal automotive fuel Propane. Degree of
improvement in mileage will depend on how much fuel you are already wasting. On an average you
will definitely gain around 15 to 35 percent more by using acetone.


Acetone should be added in very tiny amounts like maybe one part per 5000 or even one part per
3000. This entirely depends on your vehicle.

You can add just a few drops for about ten gallons of fuel which is approximately about 0.0003% to

The above figure show mileage gain when a little bit of acetone is added to the fuel. Curves A, B and
C are the effect on three different cars using different types of fuels. There is a difference in the way
different engines respond to use of acetone.

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D curve is for the diesel fuel. If you add too much acetone, you will tend to decrease the mileage as
more acetone will increase the octane level in the fuel. Acetone being a light molecule will lean the

Locate the best gasoline and add a bit of acetone to about ten gallons of the fuel. When you find your
mileage improving, you can stop adding acetone for the next two tanks.

You will find the mileage dropping again much to your amazement. A ten gallon tank of diesel may
require around one to two ounces of acetone.

Acetone is available in a lot of drug stores, hardware shops, auto stores, etc. it usually comes in
a sixteen ounce plastic bottles or in one gallon containers. Acetone purchased in containers from
hardware stores is usually pure and OK to use though it is better to go in for cans labelled hundred
percent pure. You should not use paint thinner or anything unknown in your gas.


Note the number of gallons of fuel you have filled up and decide on the amount of acetone to be
added, whether it should be less or more. Not all gasolines are same. Some of them work better than
others with acetone. Acetone just aids in vaporization and does not change combustion properties or
settings in your car. Acetone also does not affect the engine parts.

There are some stores which sell acetone in cans made of metal. This is safe and you can keep it
indoors. It is also safe to wear rubber gloves while handling acetone

As most of these cans have a flat top it is difficult to pour the chemical from it causing a lot of

                                                                                                 Page 45
One option is to use the graduated cylinders which have markings on them. As there are
measurements marked on them, it will be easier for you to measure the exact amount of acetone


There is an increase in the engine power, longevity of the engine and in the performance of the
engine apart from increase in mileage. This is because acetone vaporizes most of the fluid and
therefore there is less amount of fuel which goes past the rings thereby keeping the engine oil and
the rings in a good condition.

A little bit of acetone goes a long way in stopping black smoke in diesel fuel at full throttle. The
exhaust soot reduces to a great extent and the running of the vehicle is much smoother.

Hydrocarbon emissions are also reduced to a great extent sometimes even up to 60 percent. Even if
you add more acetone by mistake, though your mileage gain goes down it nevertheless reduces the
hydrocarbon emissions considerably. This is due to the fact that acetone in its pure form is a clean
burning fuel and it burns in air with a pretty blue and smokeless flame.

One more advantage of acetone is that it greatly reduces the formation of water ice crystals in
cold weather. Normally when this happens the fuel filter is damaged. Acetone prevents this from
happening. Nevertheless, you will have to change the fuel filter every year in order to protect the

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There are a few precautionary measures you have to take with usage of acetone –

Acetone being the key ingredient in a paint remover has to be kept away from painted surfaces like
the paint in your car under the opening of the gas tank.

Another thing is acetone is known to deteriorate plastic which is not of very good quality. Though all
the components used in the car should be of high quality, you can never be too sure. Make sure of
the quality of the components in your car before using acetone.

Another precaution you have to take is not to let your skin contact acetone directly. Acetone is known
to damage skin and even clothing. Inhaling its odour is also not advisable. You have to especially
keep children away from all kinds of dangerous chemicals.

Just like gas, acetone is highly flammable. Therefore make sure it doesn’t come into contact with
flame or spark.

It is advisable to store acetone outside and not inside the house. The place where you store acetone
should be properly ventilated. You must also make sure the container in which you store acetone is of
good quality and will not deteriorate.

Last but not the least, read all the directions carefully before using this chemical for your vehicle.

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Certainly not....alcohol is found to be corrosive to the engine parts. Many people try adding alcohol to
the fuel tank in a bid to improve gas mileage. But this does not work. Alcohol does not reduce mileage
in any way and it is harmful to the engine parts.

Surface tension is increased by alcohol thereby producing an opposite effect. Alcohol also attracts
water which acts like a fire extinguisher. Therefore this hurts the mileage.

In below zero weather, a combination of water and alcohol forms icy particles which are abrasive and
tend to damage the clog injectors and the fuel pumps.

A lot of cars understandably have had a breakdown due to usage of alcohol in the fuel. Acetone is a
more sensible substitute.


In ideal conditions like a constant velocity and a constant grade in a vacuum with frictionless wheels,
a car could travel at any speed and still will not consume much energy beyond what is needed. With
regenerative braking, this energy can be recovered.

Real world conditions are far from ideal. There are innumerable ways in which energy is lost –

   •	 Efficiency of the engine – this varies with the various types of engine, the automobile mass and
      the engine speed.

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   •	 The Aerodynamic Drag – this is the force which increases by the square of the car’s speed.

   •	 The rolling friction

   •	 Braking

   •	 Loss in transmission – manual transmissions are 94% efficient whereas the automatic
      transmissions are as low as 70%


Terrapass, as you can see on their website is a company from whom you can purchase a pass which
will offset the amount of CO2 your car generates making your daily travels carbon neutral.

After entering the terrapass site, you have to type in the make, model, year and annual mileage of
your vehicle and find out the carbondioxide output. The methods used by terrapass to arrive at the
figure is by using the methods set up by the Kyoto Protocol which is again the international treaty of
1999. This treaty seeks to reduce greenhouse emissions down to five percent worldwide by the year

You can take advantage of their offer to buy a pass which will offset the amount of co2 generated by
your car. This is how it is done –

The money that you pay to purchase the pass is used to buy carbon credits from biomass generation
facilities which manufactures electricity from cow manure and from also buy credits from wind farms.

These companies which are earth friendly make use of that money to subsidize prices in turn allowing
them to sell the electricity to municipalities for a cheaper price than the other conventional companies.

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These funds are also used to expand their operations thereby generating more carbon free electricity.
So, if you are a member of terrapass, you are ensured that the same amount of carbon dioxide you
emit from your car tailpipe is prevented from entering the atmosphere from another source.

All these offsets of the company are verified by a third party and therefore there is no doubt our
money is actually used for a good cause.


There are numerous ways in which fuel economy can be boosted while manufacturing the vehicle.

They are –

   •	 By reducing the weight of the vehicle using light materials like fibreglass, plastic, aluminium,
      strong steel, carbon fibre, etc instead of the traditional steel and iron.

   •	 The exterior of the vehicle can be designed in such a way that it reduces the aerodynamic drag
      to the maximum.

   •	 Low viscosity lubricants like transmission fluid, engine oil, axle fluid, etc can reduce fuel

   •	 Automatic transmission vehicles can be fitted with locking torque converters which will reduce
      power losses and slip in the converter.

   •	 Enhancing a down sized engine with the electric drive system and battery

   •	 Auto engine shut off on stopping the vehicle

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   •	 Regenerative braking system which recaptures wasted energy while braking.

   •	 Optimized combustion strategies like stratified charge combustion, lean burn combustion,
      HCCI combustion, Variable Valve timing, Super charging or twin charging, etc.


The amount of money we spend on precious fuel which is the only one which can keep us mobile
forces us to look for other alternatives. Though one cannot avoid depending on fuels, we can always
shift to a better alternative.

When you fill up gas on you SUV and watch a person fill up his two wheeler, you should start some
serious thinking.

The alternative definitely exists in two wheels. It is commonsense the average fuel consumption in a
motorcycle is much lesser than an average car. Motorcycles needless to mention are a hundred times
more fuel efficient than an SUV.

An average scooter can outplay the most fuel efficient car in the mpg category. An 80 cc four stroke
scooter can get around 85-90 mpg. They can still go in an average of 45 mph. Motorcycles between
250 cc and 1200 cc can even achieve around 45 to 70 mph.

The reason for all this is their intrinsic aerodynamic design as well as lighter weight helping with the
mileage figures. Needless to mention, motorcycles are a whole lot more fun to use than the cars.

Cruisers that have engine displacements that are equal to or greater than some other cars are the
least economical option among the motorcycles. Then most of the people go in for the average of just
over thirty miles to the gallon.

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There are a lot of companies which are into research looking for the most efficient and affordable
alternative for vehicle fuel.

Companies even claim to be developing a water running car. This is how they do it –


According to them it is!!! This technology is called the Water4Gas and is supposed to be one of the
most practical free energy devices which is extremely simple, effective and innovative.

Devices which use a little electricity from the car’s battery separates water into a gas called HHo (2
Hydrogen + 1 Oxygen). This gas is also called Brown’s Gas or Hydroxy. This gas burns very well
producing a lot of energy.

The end product surprisingly is water. A magazine called the Mobile says HHO provides the atomic
power of Hydrogen and yet maintains the chemical stability of water.

HHO gas is therefore tested and proved to be three times more effective than gasoline. This is one of
the trends to boost performance and MPG which is growing very fast.

Maybe the time has come for this technology to start implementing and growing. Seeing the way the
gasoline prices are going up day by day, this is possible in the near future.

The water4gas technology is supposedly cost effective and an immediate solution to the pollution
and energy crisis. This technology provides a solution you can install in your vehicle without engine

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This technology is just in the starting stages and may take years to be implemented but if it does go
forward and takes a shape, nothing could be greater news for people.

Extensive road tests conducted across USA, Canada, Europe and Australia and even in Asia with the
Water4Gas technology, there are a few results which have been documented –

   •	 You can double your mileage or even more than double your mileage. According to the tests,
      they have achieved a 50 percent increase in a 350 V8 Van, 56% on a Ford Truck and 107% on
      a Toyota Car.

   •	 Absolutely no green house emissions which damage health. When it is burned the Brown’s
      Gas gets converted to water and no harmful chemicals are being emitted from this system.

  •	 Enhances the engine power and performance.

  •	 Prevents carbon build up and also removes the existing carbon deposits

  •	 Reduces engine temperature

  •	 Quieter, calmer and smoother gear shifts and engine.

  •	 Longer life expectancy of the engine parts like valves, rings, bearings and pistons.

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   •	 Elimination of harmful exhaust emission polluting the environment contributing to global

   •	 Reduces our economical dependability on petroleum.

   •	 Prevents global warming by reducing the engine temperatures

   •	 Fuel actually benefits the atmosphere by adding oxygen and water to the environment.


Fuel prices are skyrocketing and burning a hole in many a pocket. Household budgets go
haywire making it difficult for people to balance and manage their expenses.

Global warming is a major concern and so are the depleting oil resources. The more fuel we
consume the sooner the oil resources will be exhausted resulting in further price rise.

It can be for personal reasons or a wider concern for the environment, there is no doubt
something has to be done to save the natural resources. There are a lot of methods being
researched on how to save on usage of oil based fuels – in automotives or in households.

It is advisable though, in all your eagerness not to waste time and money on dubious
assurances and fuel saving products which are not very effective.

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Though we have listed a few details about some fuel saving devices in this book, this is just for
your information. It is strongly advisable not to get carried away by all these claims of miracle
fuel saving devices.

Over the years, a lot of people who have tried out these miracle methods have only ended up
losing a lot of money.

Contrary to their claim, some of these devices even create more harmful emissions harming the

Most of these devices talk about saving at least 15% fuel for you. They also claim they reduce
emissions, improve performance, etc. The icing on the cake is all this comes cheap.

Though all these may have been tested as they claim, it is doubtful if they are done on reliable
test data.

Fuel consumption and enhanced performance test, etc are usually done on older model cars
and do not suit the more advanced modern cars.


The EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency is initiated by the Government of United
States. This agency is responsible for the conservation of natural resources like air and water,
land and protection of human health.

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The EPA also has a research facility which finds out ways and means to improve gas mileage
by inventing new methods and devices. This also helps in effective conservation of natural

In this regards, the EPA has set up rules and regulations to be followed by the auto
manufacturers to enable the cars to give a better mileage. The old system of testing gas
mileage has been replaced by far more advanced and improved methods by the EPA.

EPA has issued guidelines in public interest for people to check their vehicle’s mileage –

Not to believe all official estimates blindly.

Use the help of consumer reports to research performance of vehicles.

Chat with people owning the same model car as you online to find out other inputs regarding
performance of that particular model.

To discuss in detail with mechanics and people who know a lot about cars to find out if your car
is performing as it should.

The EPA has introduced a lot of new test methods for the year 2008 to correctly determine the
fuel effectiveness of vehicles. These tests combine with the current cycles of city and highways
to determine the fuel effectiveness of the vehicles.

A ten minute loop of high speed/quick acceleration covers eight miles and averages 48 mph
and reaches a top speed of 80 mph. included in this are four stops and brisk acceleration which
maximizes at a rate of 8.46 mph per second. Engine is supposed to begin warm and test is
conducted without using the air conditioner.

Then there is the test with air conditioning where the ambient temperature is raised to 95
degrees. This test lasts for about 9.9 minutes and the 3.6 mile loop averages 22 mph and
maximizes at a rate of 54.8 mph.

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      This test has five stops and idling occurs nineteen percent of the time and acceleration of 5.1
      mph per second. This test also begins with a warm engine.


Hypermillers are those who drive both hybrid cars and regular cars. They go to great lengths to get
as much as they can from each gasoline gallon. They try to surpass EPA’s estimated fuel economy

Hypermiller is a term which has its origin in the online communities called clean MPGs. This
community is dedicated to lowering greenhouse emissions and reducing gas mileage.

Historically, the practice of hypermilling runs back to World War II gas rationing. Techniques used now
in hypermilling have even been published in the reader’s digest as far back as in the 1970s when they
published a guide for consumers to save on the fuel.

Hypermillers with all their dedication today rely on modern technology to achieve astounding results
on fuel conservation.

One thing we have to remember though is that not all their techniques are safe and the best idea for
mechanical longevity of your car. Some of them we can say are also irresponsible and dangerous
though their pursuit towards a solution for energy crisis is commendable,


The time of traveling as well as the distance traveled by both short as well as long routes is
determined by the gas mileage charts. Excel format tables do help a lot determining this which
includes tables for every state of the country with half million times as well as distances. The cities to
be included in charts are determined on the basis of population.

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The mileage charts include in them:

    1. Gas mileage MPG tracker:
   The gas mileage MPG tracker acts as a set of instructions or programs which helps
tracking and determines the gas usage and mileage. The total miles traveled and tracking of gas
mileage according to it is also done through it. The MOPG used by vehicle and car and its fill up is
also recorded by it. Highway MPG is also determined.

   2. Mile charter:
   All kinds of mileage table’s as well as charts are calculated by it with the help of MS map point.
   Tables are also calculated to serve customers as well as the merchant. The atlas for roads is
   also created through it. The traveling time, with the distance covered and the cost estimated is
   determined in the spreadsheets of excel.

   3. ZIP code distance wizard:
    The ZIP code determines the specific area within a nearest proximity is located. You just need
   to specify the zip code, expanse in miles and within seconds and you are provided with ZIP cods
   within the radius.

   4. Car logbook:
   The use of vehicles in business sector is determined by this applet .the applet do supports multiple
   drivers and vehicles at the point if time.

   5. a point in time:
   It is the user interface sheet. It is quite easy to use and people find fun using it. Quite economical
   to individuals as well as some company or organization.

   6. Universal tracking system for palm OS:
   It is said to be a versatile tracking tool. Tracking any kind of value that can be measured like
   weights, money, time, calories, expenses mileage and much more is possible through it. Value
   conversions, preparing charts as well as reports transferring data to computer is also done with
   the help of universal tracking system.

   7. Quick Mile:
    The quickmile is also said to be the palm pilot software tracking the miles of business for the
   reduction of tax payments, and also checks the car maintenance in routine. It is a two way tool
   and also can be said as a desktop software helping report printing and transferring the information
   to excel spreadsheets.

   8. Air travel toolkit:
    The tools required by the passengers traveling by air and travel agents. It also includes an airline
   ticket tutorial, which is unique in its own. The tutorial is generally created by professionals working
   in airlines.

With all these extravagant features provided for both the customers as well as dealers, the gas
mileage charts are gaining importance to track the records automatically without any kind of
overwhelming tensions on them providing an excellent solution to maintain everything in perspective.

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As we have seen it is high time we did something about saving on fuel in order to save the earth.
Consciously reducing the gas mileage plays an important role. It is the duty of every citizen of the
world to contribute towards this.

The first step – keeping track of your gas mileage, how much you are spending towards it and how
you can save on it. You can calculate the mileage of your car by writing down the amount of gas you
put in at every fill up. Erasing the odometer immediately after you fill gas is a good idea as this will
keep track of the distance you travel with the filled gas.

The second step involves maintaining your car with a lot of care and keeps it at its functioning best.
This will definitely ensure you get the best mileage. Good car care goes a long way in saving fuel for

The third step is to drive in such a way that will help in saving fuel. Keeping your speed slow and
steady gives you a better gas mileage according to the National Institute of Highway Safety.

Remember not to overload the car. Unnecessary and extra items in the trunk and roof of the car are a
sure shot way to consume more fuel.

Keep the tires inflated at the right pressure as this goes a long way in saving fuel for you. You can
even purchase a tire pressure gauge to monitor every fill up.

Turn off the air conditioning whenever not required. If you are driving in the city with a lot of stops and
use the air conditioning too, your fuel consumption will go very high.

Alternate transportation like riding the local bus, car pooling, walking, riding a motorcycle whenever
possible are ways to minimize use of car and subsequently fuel.

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