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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Great Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage & Save Gas

- Drive within the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph reduces your fuel economy by 7% and is like paying and additional $0.20 per gallon of gas.

- Stop aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking waste gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and by 5% in the city. You can improve your gas mileage by anticipating traffic conditions and driving smoothly. Around town, accelerate slowly after every stop sign and stop light. On the highway, go easy on the accelerator and try to maintain a constant speed.

- Warm up your car by driving it, not idling. Once your vehicle is running, the best way to warm it up is to drive it. With modern, computer-controlled engines you only need to warm it up for 30 seconds before driving away. Any more simply wastes fuel and increases emissions. Just make sure to drive it gently for the first few minutes until the car reaches its peak operating temperature.

- Avoid stop and go traffic by using alternative routes or traveling during less congested times.

- Don't try to increase your speed when you're climbing up a hill. This will cause your gas mileage to drop drastically. Just maintain a nice constant speed.

- Use overdrive and cruise control when appropriate. Overdrive saves gas and reduces engine wear by reducing the engine’s speed. Cruise control maintains a constant driving speed and also helps to save gas.

- Avoid idling whenever possible. It wastes fuel, costs you money, and pollutes the air. Idling for longer than 30 seconds uses more fuel than starting up your engine. If you have to wait longer than a minute, shut the engine off.

- Combine errands. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

- If possible, take advantage of carpooling and ride-sharing programs. This can help cut your fuel costs in half and reduce wear and tear on your vehicle.

- Fill up your car in the morning when it's cooler and the gasoline at the station is denser. Since gas pumps measure volumes of gas and not densities, you'll get more fuel for your money.

- Use the fuel octane level recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. Most vehicles on the road use regular gas. Typically, using a higher octane gas offers no benefits. Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money.

- Tighten your gas cap. According to the Car Care Council, each year 147 million gallons of gas evaporates into the air due to loose, missing or damaged gas caps. So make sure to tighten your gas cap after filling up your tank and replace any missing or damaged caps.

- Check your tire pressure regularly (at least once a month). You can improve your gas mileage by around 3% by keeping your tires properly inflated. In addition, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.

- Keep your engine tuned. Keeping your engine tuned according to the owner’s manual can help increase your gas mileage by an average of 4% percent depending on the condition of the vehicle.

- One of the easiest ways to increase your gas mileage is to check and replace air filters regularly. When the air filter becomes clogged, the engine has to work harder and your gas mileage drops. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10%.

- Use the type of motor oil recommended by your car's manufacturer. Using the wrong oil can reduce your gas mileage by up to 2%. Also, look for oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the label. This type of oil contains friction-reducing additives that can improve fuel economy.

- If you live in an area with freezing winter temperatures, using an engine block heater during the winter can improve fuel mileage by up to 10%. Use an automatic timer to turn on the block heater two hours before you plan to start your vehicle.

- Remove excess weight from the trunk or cab. An extra 100 pounds can reduce your fuel economy by about 2%.

- Avoid packing items on top of your car. A loaded roof rack or carrier crate creates wind resistance that can reduce your fuel economy by up to 5%.

- Make sure that your oxygen sensor (O2 sensor) is working properly. Many vehicles have a light that comes on when the O2 sensor needs servicing or replacement. A faulty O2 sensor can dramatically reduce your gas mileage. If your fuel economy suddenly drops, this may be the reason.

How do I measure my fuel economy?

One of the most important things to remember when measuring your fuel economy is to completely fill your tank each time you go to the gas station. Partial fill-ups will produce inaccurate results. We recommend that you fill your gas tank until the first click of the pump and stop. Then continue filling up until you get three more clicks and stop. This will ensure that the amount of fuel is fairly constant on each fill-up.

When finished, write down the date and how many miles you have on your odometer. There is no need to record how many gallons you purchased on your first fill-up. Drive your vehicle until you have about a quarter tank left and do your second fill-up. Follow the same procedure as the first time and record the date and odometer reading, but this time record the number of gallons required to fill the tank. Now you are ready to calculate your fuel economy.

Simply take the second odometer reading, subtract the first odometer reading and divide the result by the number of gallons. For example:

1st reading = 10,000 miles

2nd reading = 10,336 miles

Number of gallons = 16

Fuel economy = (10,336 – 10,000) /16 = 21.0 mpg
Continue this procedure for a few weeks to determine your average MPG.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ says 10% on gas can be saved. I will see because I am buying these plugs for my car. I figure it will take me about 3 months to get my money back in savings.


Note: If the "Check Engine" light is on, then the problem must be fixed before the LSG Halo Plugs are fitted.

Stage 1
Before installation make sure you have the correct type of spark plugs for the engine being serviced.

Stage 2
Disconnect both battery wires. This will reset the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and adjust the spark ignition timing to match that of the Halo Spark Plug. If you have an older vehicle that does not have an ECU, then the ignition timing needs to be manually adjusted by a trained technician.
Note: Do not work on hot or warm engines as this can cause damage.

Stage 3
Identify the spark plug cables to insure the cables are reconnected correctly as covered in Stage 11.

Stage 4
Carefully remove the spark plug cables. Check the cables for damage and replace if necessary.

Stage 5
Remove the spark plugs using the correct tools.

Stage 6
If the plugs require an external gasket (not applicable for taper seat spark plugs), check that there are no gasket’s remaining on the cylinder head from the removed plugs.

Stage 7
Put a little bit of anti-seize compound on the front two threads of the new plugs before installation.
Note: Anti-seize is needed on aluminum heads to prevent electrolytic action between the steel spark plug body and aluminum head. Do not use too much anti-seize.

Stage 8
Install each plug until finger tight.
Note: Spark plugs that are not tight will run hot and can cause serious engine damage. If you cannot seat the spark plug all the way with your fingers, there is probably carbon in the threaded hole in the cylinder head. Chase the threads with a thread chaser before installing the spark plug. When removing plugs, examine the seat area closely for evidence that the plug was seated all the way in its previous installation. On plugs with gaskets, the gasket should be compressed. With tapered spark plugs, the seat area of the plug should show a “witness mark” (proving that it was seated). Spark plugs that fail because they were loose can have a blown out center electrode or insulator, or the outer shell can be blue.

Stage 9
Tighten the spark plugs to the recommended torque for the plugs and engine, by using a torque-wrench and sockets that correctly fit the hexagon of the spark plug metal shell. Table 1 below shows the correct torque settings.

Table 1. Torque Settings

Note: Do not remove or install plugs by gripping the insulator with any tool as this will damage the plug.

Stage 10
Apply dielectric grease to each electrode tip before reconnecting the spark plug cables.
Note: This operation will provide a good seal between the plug cable and the electrode tip.

Stage 11
Reconnect the spark plug cables to the correct plugs as marked during Stage 3.

Stage 12
Reconnect the battery cables.


What Really Saves Gas? And How Much?

With gas prices so high, the media is awash with lists of gas-saving tips. Well how's this for a tip? If you listen to us, you can see hybrid-type savings without having to buy a new car.

By changing your driving habits you can improve fuel economy up to 37 percent right away (depending on how you drive). Combine several tips and perform routine maintenance and you will save real dollars, not just pennies.

A miracle? All we did was take several of the most common tips out there and put them to the test over a remote 55-mile route in the high desert of California. Some of them worked like a charm. Some of them didn't work at all. We'll give you the breakdown.

These tests were done under real-world conditions — not in a government lab somewhere. Our results can be matched by anyone — even you.

The wonderful part about what we found is that improving your car's mileage is just a matter of changing your habits. Stack a few of these winners together and we'll bet that you'll see a substantial savings at the pump — without the need for a new car.

Test #1 Aggressive Driving vs. Moderate Driving

Result: Major savings potential

The Cold Hard Facts: Up to 37 percent savings, average savings of 31 percent

Recommendation: Stop driving like a maniac.

Aggressive vs. Moderate Driving: read the entire test

Test #2 Lower Speeds Saves Gas

Result: Substantial savings on a long trip

Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14 percent savings, average savings of 12 percent

Recommendation: Drive the speed limit.

Lower Speeds Saves Gas: Read the entire test

Test #3 Use Cruise Control

Result: Surprisingly effective way to save gas

Cold Hard Facts: Up to 14-percent savings, average savings of 7 percent

Recommendation: If you've got it, use it.

Cruise Control: Read the entire test

Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down

Result: Nice in theory; not true in practice

Cold Hard Facts: No measurable difference (unless you open the sunroof, too!)

Recommendation: Please, make yourself comfortable.

Air Conditioner: Read the entire test

Test #5 Check Your Tire Pressure

Result: Important for safety and to reduce tire wear

Cold Hard Facts: No measurable effect on the vehicles we tested

Recommendation: Check your tire pressure often but don't expect a big savings.

Tire pressure: Read the entire test

Test #6 Avoid Excessive Idling

Result: More important than we assumed

Cold Hard Facts: Avoiding excessive idling can save up to 19 percent

Recommendation: Stopping longer than a minute? Shut 'er down.

Excessive idling: Read the entire test

The Tests

Our results are based on two separate fuel testing sessions. On each occasion we took two cars from the long-term fleet and drove on a 56-mile test loop. Our route circled Owens Lake near Lone Pine, California, at the foot of Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. We chose the route because it was so deserted we could vary our speed and driving style without interfering with the flow of traffic. The only other cars we saw on the route were a caravan of test vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. We drove the loops back-to-back to ensure that we were comparing similar wind and temperatures. We logged our results and later put them on a spreadsheet where the results were averaged.

Test #1: Aggressive vs. Moderate Driving

This is gonna hurt. Our tests showed that the most significant way to save gas is: you. And we're talking massive fuel economy gains. Think you need a hybrid? Chances are you've got hybrid-style mileage in your gas pedal foot. Don't mash the gas when you start up. Take the long view of the road and brake easy. This tip alone can save you unbelievable amounts of gas. If you slowed your 0-to-60-mph acceleration time down from your current 10 seconds to a more normal city pace of 15 seconds, you'll feel the savings immediately.

Method: We conducted this test four times. The first time we did the full 55-mile loop once by accelerating aggressively 15 times at 3/4-throttle from zero to a cruising speed of 75 mph. We also applied the brakes hard to come to a full stop. Then, we drove the second loop by accelerating moderately 15 times at 1/4-throttle to a cruising speed of 70 mph. We braked lightly to a full stop. In the second set of tests we drove 25 miles making 25 rapid accelerations to 65 mph at 3/4-throttle. After 1 minute of cruising we braked hard and repeated the cycle up to 65 mph. We then drove the same distance making 25 moderation accelerations to 60 mph at 1/4-throttle. After 1 minute of cruising we applied the brakes easily and came to a full stop.

Test #2 Lower Speeds Saves Gas

Remember a thing called the speed limit? On most highways it is either 65 or 70 mph. How fast are the cars and trucks around you going? From 75 mph to 90 mph. These people are wasting a lot of gas for the chance to get there a little earlier. Factor in safety concerns and a speeding ticket once or twice a year and going fast is a costly proposition.

Method: This test was simple. For 50 miles we drove with the cruise control set at 65 mph. Then, for another 50-mile stretch we drove with cruise set at 75 mph. We repeated this test going in the opposite direction. It is amazing how obvious the difference in gas mileage was. Just think what would have happened if we had slowed down to 60 mph. The only problem is with impatient drivers behind you. One driver became so irate that he tried to run our editor off the road. Still, if you are pinched by gas prices. Leave a little early and drive the speed limit (in the slow lane).

Test #3 Use Cruise Control

Using cruise control is a bit of gas-saving advice frequently on tips lists. We have always agreed with this tip in theory but we hadn't expected such significant results. First, it smoothes out the driver's accelerator input by preventing nervous "surging." Second, it makes the driver take the long view of the road rather than reacting to every change in the traffic around them.

Method: We did this test twice with four different cars each time driving the 55-mile loop. The first time we set cruise control to 70 mph. The second time, with the cruise control off, we varied our speed between 65 mph and 75 mph. We tried to mimic the driving style of a person who is in moderate freeway traffic.

One thing that's important to note: if you are in a mountainous area you should turn off cruise. It will try to keep you up to the speed you've set and will use a lot of extra gas downshifting to lower gears to accomplish this.

Test #4 A/C On, Windows Up vs. A/C Off, Windows Down

This has got to take you back to the days with the family on vacation. Dad says, "Turn the A/C off! It wastes gas!" And Mom says, "We can't roll the windows down or everyone on the highway will think we can't afford A/C." And you're in the back roasting, hoping someone will win the argument so you can cool off.

Well, family psychology aside, if dads are still saying this, they aren't necessarily right. While the A/C compressor does pull power from the engine wasting some gas, the effect appears to be fairly minimal in modern cars. And putting the windows down tends to increase drag on most cars, canceling out any measurable gain from turning the A/C off. But this one depends on the model you're driving. When we opened the sunroof in our SUV, the mileage did decrease even with the A/C off. Still, in our experience, it's not worth the argument because you won't save a lot of gas either way. So just do what's comfortable.

Method: We drove the full 55 mile-loop in two cars at equal speeds both times — 65 mph. The first loop we drove with the A/C on and the windows up. The second loop we drove with the A/C off and windows down. In the second test we drove 20-mile loops. This was far enough to see our gas mileage level off and remain steady on the computer trip meter.

Test #5: Check Your Tire Pressure

No matter how many times drivers hear about the importance of tire pressure, most of them don't do anything about it. They probably don't like squatting beside their car in a busy gas station with fumes swirling around them. But is it important? The answer is yes, for a number of reasons. Properly inflated tires are less likely to fail at high speeds. They wear more evenly and, yes, they deliver better gas mileage. How much? In this test we saw a modest difference in two of the cars. It might have been more dramatic with different tires on different cars. Experts swear by it; we couldn't really document it. And we wound up wondering if tire technology, like the design in other areas of the car, had improved.

Eventually, we concluded that each set of tires is different and every vehicle is different. We recommend that you do your own tests to see what inflation setting gives you the best fuel economy.

Method: We drove the 55-mile test loop four times at 60 mph — twice with tires at or above proper inflation. Once, we did the test with the tires 5 psi below the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. Since this produced very little difference we enlarged the gap and under inflated the tires by 8 psi. We felt that it was important to make sure the tires were inflated to the recommended level or above.

Test #6 Avoid Excessive Idling

If you turn off a light bulb as you leave the room you'll save electricity. If you turn off your car you will save gas. Obviously. But related questions are more difficult to answer. If you're only stopping for only a minute, is it better to shut off the engine or keep it idling? Should I shut off the engine in traffic? How much gas will this save? What rule of thumb do I use when trying to save gas this way?

Method: We took two cars and drove a 10-mile route stopping 10 times for two minutes. We shut down the car each time. Then we drove the same route at the same speed and let the car idle for two minutes.


The good news is that you can drastically improve your gas mileage. The caveat is that you have to change your driving habits. If you are willing to change, you'll find many related benefits too: no speeding tickets, greater safety, reduced stress and lower repair bills for tires and brake pads. In the long run this will save you money. And who knows? You might like the new you.

Vets For Freedom Letter to General Wesley Clark

On behalf of Vets for Freedom—and thousands of veterans and troops still serving—we suggest you apologize to Sen. McCain for your comments. We also advise you apologize to generations of veterans who served country—in wartime and peacetime. We will be watching to see if the professionalism you showed once while in uniform will finally shine through in your new-found political role. (Don't be fooled this idiot speaks for the idiot running for president Sen Obama)

Dear General Clark,

Yesterday you appeared on CBS “Face the Nation” and made strong statements regarding Senator John McCain and his
military service. Amongst other things, you claimed Sen. McCain “hasn’t held executive responsibility” and you
criticized him because he didn’t command a “wartime [Navy] Squadron.”
You then claimed, in reference to war, that Sen. McCain “hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall” and
concluded your political hatchet job with “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification
to be President.” Even the show’s host, Bob Schieffer, let out a puzzled “really?” at the conclusion of your assertions.
Frankly General, you should know better. As a previous Commander of U.S. troops in harm’s way, you should take
serious pause in disparaging the service record of a fellow decorated veteran. Even worse, your arrogant and careless
words undercut the credibility of all those who served and continue to serve, in wartime and peacetime.
First of all, Sen. McCain’s service record is clear. After volunteering for a combat assignment in Vietnam, Sen. McCain
was shot down during his twenty-third bombing mission over North Vietnam and spent 5 ½ years as a Prisoner of War,
enduring physical torture and repeatedly turning down preferential treatment and early release. For his service, he
received seventeen decorations, including the Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
Most Americans would have ended their military career there, but Sen. McCain continued his service and eventually
become the commanding officer of the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy. He turned an undisciplined and untrained
squadron into one of the Navy’s best, earning the unit a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
So, let’s review your statements and check them against reality:
Senator McCain “hasn’t held executive responsibility.”
FACT: McCain commanded, and revitalized, the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy.
Senator McCain’s military leadership doesn’t count, because it wasn’t a “wartime Squadron.”
FACT: McCain volunteered to serve in Vietnam and upon his return, endured months of physical rehabilitation in order
to continue his military career and command a squadron.
Senator McCain “hasn’t been there [war] and ordered the bombs to fall”
FACT: McCain flew twenty-three combat missions in Vietnam in order to drop bombs on the enemy. He was also
“there” for 5 ½ years as a Prisoner of War.
“I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be President.”
FACT: If serving your country, volunteering for combat, resisting the enemy, and receiving seventeen decorations for
service does count for anything, then why are you on television, speaking as an “expert” on national security matters?
Your personal attacks came not from a General with respect for the uniform, but from a political operative dispatched to
attack the military background of a political adversary.
On behalf of Vets for Freedom—and thousands of veterans and troops still serving—we urge you to apologize to Sen.
McCain for your comments. We also urge you to apologize to generations of veterans who served our country in
uniform. Service matters—anytime, anywhere. We await and appreciate your response.
Even the candidate you represent has said repeatedly that “[Sen. McCain] deserves admiration for his service to our
country.” We will be watching to see if the professionalism you showed once while in uniform will finally shine through
in your new-found political role.

Pete Hegseth
Chairman, Vets for Freedom
Iraq war veteran