Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Magic Beans

Hey--Luther here. I have been noticing that just like the flowers that come up in the cow pies, the recent hikes in gas prices has meant that people selling magical cures for poor gas milage are popping up all over the place.

Just a word of advice from an old mechanic--don't waste your money. There is all kinds of pills, potions, doodads, add-ons, cheaters and egg beaters that people will sell to you with big promises of high milage. In almost every single instance, this mess is just a bunch of junk to hoodwink you into parting with your hard-earned dollars. And even for the stuff that might actually work, the effects on your gas bill are not going to be big, and sometimes won't even be big enough to offset the price you add for whatever you've gone and bought.

Easiest way to save gas? Slow down some. Even if the speed limit is 70, you don't HAVE to drive quite so fast. Next big thing is to make sure your tires is aired up to the right amount, and that they are aired up equal on all sides. Next, take out any extra weight you're carrying around. Some Yankees carry a bag of sand with them for if they get stuck in snow--if you are through with wintertime where you live, go ahead and take that fifty pound of sand out of your trunk and leave it in the garage. Likewise with anything else you might be toting around that you don't really need. If you do these three littel FREE things, you can reduce your consumption a lot--in some cases up to 10%.

For stuff that costes money, the best thing to do is take your car in for a good tune up--make sure the plugs are clean, make sure the feul injecters or your carburator are clean, make sure the plug wires are good. A poor running engine can eat up gas, so make sure yours is running right.

Other things to consider--since it is getting to be the hot season, some folks want to know about running the air conditioning. this is a hot topic around here at the garage (so to speak), and the fact is that this really depends on the type of car you drive. Some older cars can do slightly better using teh ol reliable 460 airconditioning--that is rolling all four windows down and driving 60 mile an hour. But for most new cars, they are designed in wind tunnels and rolling down the windows can make them spend more gas overcoming wind resistance than they might use if you just kept the windows up and used the air conditioner. This is one you have to experiment a bit with to see what works bests for you.

In case you don't want to take the advise of someone like me (because your stuck up or snooty or something), you can always check out the United States Government's Federal Trade Commission web site that has all the tips above, plus even more information about the types of garbage they've tested that don't work, and some stuff that works a little bit.

So there you go, and remember, Caveat Emptor, which is Latin for "don't get suckered."

I suppose its time- after 120K miles on my truck, to consider a tuneup and some new spark plugs.

Though it still is getting just over 12mpg average, just as it did on Day 1, 6 years ago. Amazing really, how long lasting and dependable these modern rigs are, it really does have its entire life run on one set of (10) spark plugs. I suppose I could treat it to some fresh ones.
Unleaded gasoline makes a big difference, I think, and that computer controlled ignistion stuff, too.
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