With gas prices soaring world wide, I figured it was time to share a bit of the knowledge of fuel efficiency that I’ve gained in the last couple of years at school. I hope you find something here that helps you save a bit of money.
Maintaining the correct air pressure in your tires can increase your gas mileage greatly. If your tires are 4 psi under the target pressure, your efficiency can drop by 3%. It will drop even more if you have a wider than normal tire. Your tires also lose over 1 psi per month depending on the age and condition of the tire, so checking the pressure regularly is a necessity.
Idling your car happens, if you are at a traffic light or behind someone turning then you’re going to have to idle. But if you know you are going to idle for more than 30 seconds, it is better to shut off your car and restart it. Modern cars are very efficient at starting, and it makes sense to shut off your engine if you aren’t going to be using it. Also, on cold mornings it is better for your gas mileage and engine to only idle for 20-30 seconds before driving easy until temperature is reached. The 20 or so seconds allows oil pressure to build. On older cars it was necessary to idle till temperature was reached, but with modern oils and fuel systems, this is no longer the case.
If you’re going down a long hill, it is sometimes possible to switch to neutral. This will work for you two ways, your car won’t be propelling itself, and you won’t be tempted to push the gas because you’ll be focusing on traffic around you.
Using the manufacturer’s recommended oil can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 5%. Normally a synthetic oil is recommended, but if not it’s best to go with the equivalent synthetic. Synthetic oils have lower viscosity and better lubrication properties than natural oils, your car will run much better with a synthetic under the hood.
Keeping your gas tank above 1/4 full means your fuel pump won’t have to work too hard to get the fuel from the tank to your rails. So you’ll be saving on power through the alternator. In addition, not filling your car serves two purposes: Firstly, you aren’t lugging a whole lot of weight around, and secondly you don’t risk over filling your tank and losing a lot of gas to vapor.
Changing your air filter makes your car more economical, if you drive on dusty roads or around sand you should change the filter more than the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Using cruise control will reduce your fuel consumption and increase your gas mileage.
You don’t have to fill the tank at the gas pump
Make sure you use your cruise control
If you are on the highway and don’t have to worry about traffic, it is much easier on your car to go 3 km/hr above and below your set point than you trying to get the speed right. Especially if you are on an undulating road where your speed might vary quite a bit.
Engine tuning isn’t what it used to be, since fuel injection and direct injection have come around there isn’t that much the mechanic can do to improve your fuel efficiency. They can however clean or change spark plugs, replace O2 sensors, change air filters, fuel filters, and oil. All of these things can improve your gas mileage significantly if you have been having issues in any of these areas.
Keeping to the speed limit on the highway or slightly below reduces the amount of aerodynamic drag on your car. Rolling resistance is linear with speed, so it is a factor at lower speeds where drag isn’t.
But aerodynamic drag is a proportional to the square of speed, this means if you are going 120 km/h vs. 100 km/h you can use 10-15% more fuel than if you go a little slower. This can be a major source of fuel efficiency problems.
It’s a simple one for the last point, avoid stop and go rush hour traffic. This traffic is a nightmare for your gas mileage, and can cause you to burn a lot more than you need to. If it’s possible it’s best to go before the rush hour, this has the added benefit that you will miss any rush hour accidents that might happen, and you’ll save money while you’re at it.
I hope these tips keep your wallet full, and your car happy.
Bumper to bumper traffic can ruin your gas mileage
Over the past several years, since Mac OS X 10.3 came out, there has been a great debate as to whether macs need to be defragged or not. Well I’m here to say that they do… Sort of.
Let me start by giving a little background, recently I spent a whole weekend trying to install XP on my Mac. Only to find that despite the fact that I have 13 GB free, I didn’t have a solid block of 13 GB free, which XP needed to install.
You see, Macs will automatically defragment files up to 20MB in size, given that you have enough space on your HD free. This works great if you are dealing with spreadsheets, and photos. But I have a bunch of videos and movies on my harddrive which are well over 20MB. Defragmentation is simply moving parts of files that are fragmented around until all the parts of a file are together. As your computer gets older, and the hard drive gets more filled, files are more likely to be fragmented when you create a new one.
That is where my issue lay, my old MacBook has been running since 2007, through various operating systems and has had KB free on it at times, but more or less it’s always been running close to full. This wasn’t a big issue, sometimes photoshop wouldn’t work if the was not enough virtual memory free, and sometimes it would get bogged down and really slow. But I’d just delete some old files and move on. No big deal.
Now I’m a fairly die hard Mac guy, and you might be wondering why I wanted XP on my computer at all. Well I had to install Solid Works to make some CAD models for a school project, and sadly they don’t make Solid Works for Mac. So i’m sucking up my Mac pride and partitioning my hard drive.
Which brings me to my first issue. I couldn’t partition my hard drive. First I went the obviously Mac route, which was my first mistake, I tried to install XP on an external. (Mostly because I wanted to use it.. But I didn’t want windows inside my computer… shudder… ) So I spent Friday trying everything I could think of to get XP on there, before a quick google search told me that it is impossible to run windows on an external… Disappointing Microsoft… Very disappointing.
This brings me to my Saturday’s work, which was then trying to make a non-destructive partition on my MacBook’s HD and installing XP. So I opened boot camp, and read the instructions, well some of them. It said I should back everything up, so I did… It took a while. Then around late o’clock I threw in my XP cd and clicked start installation… When an error popped up saying that it could not partition the HD and some crap about reinstalling OS X. Now I’m not the biggest fan of reinstalling my whole computer from an image. Especially since when I previously tried to make a .iso of my hard drive, it said it was too big. So I stewed for a bit before finally deciding to sleep on the issue, it was late o’clock after all.
Which brings us to Sunday… Oh Sunday. After spending most of my day working on a lab report, a thought popped into my head… What if there isn’t enough continuous space left on my hard drive to make a partition and I need to defragment the hard drive. Back to Google I went to find some fragmentation software. This was when I stumbled upon
Coriolis System’s ‘idefrag’ which seemed to be a decent piece of code that would do what I was looking for. So I downloaded the trial and fired it up.
And boy, was I surprised at what I saw: 3,724 fragmented files. And the layout of the disk had more holes in it than an old sponge… Crap… The trial version of idefrag doesn’t allow you to actually defragment your hard drive, fair enough I guess. So for the low price of $30, I got a license for idefrag.
After several iterations of the defragmentation process, it can take a little time to get rid of spaces when you don’t have a tonne of room on your hard drive, I was up a running. XP installed without a hitch and I was off to the races running Solidworks and pulling my hair out at XP’s quirks :P.
If you’ve been to my site before, or if you look at the menu on the right, you’ll have seen the Eco-friendly logo. You might be wondering what this means. Well in short it means that from when the article I am typing is saved, to when your computer asks for it and it is sent to you, and when anyone else asks for it, all the energy used is sustainable. Which means it has no environmental impact. This is accomplished by my web host, FatCow, purchasing wind energy credits to offset their power usage at the end of each month.
Purchasing wind energy credits isn’t the perfect solution to the global climate change crisis, I know. But by purchasing those credits, FatCow is allowing the people who run those wind turbines to stay in business. It is the next best thing to running your own wind turbine in your own back yard, only you don’t need to worry about flying a kite out back.
Since FatCow practices sustainable web hosting, it has created a new market for itself inside the broad spectrum of different web hosts. However, I’m addition to powering all of its operations sustainably, FatCow also offers some nice benefits to its customers that are a refreshing change when compared to some of the bigger names in web hosting.
In addition to offsetting the power it uses to bring you all of the interesting and informative websites that it delivers, FatCow also supplies its clients with Unlimited Disk Space, Unlimited Bandwidth, and free domain registration just to name a few. But all of these features mean nothing if there is no support from the web host, that is why Farcow has 24 hour live chat and phone support incase there is an issue with your website. However, they guarantee 99.9% uptime… So the chances of that are very low.