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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tips That Could Save You Some Gas Money

Gasoline prices could reach an all time high $4 a gallon before the end of spring this year, analysts said. Just this March, the price at the pump rose to $3.222 a gallon, a far cry from last year’s prices. And this trend is expected to continue for months to come. More people are trooping to commuter stations. And even more people are turning in their SUVs for hybrids. But there are still people who still want to make use of their good old gas-guzzling vehicle, primarily because it is more comfortable that way.

Aside from buying hybrid vehicles or taking the train, there are ways that you can reduce your gasoline expenses as what John and Helen Taylor, the couple who holds the Guinness World Record for Fuel Efficiency, has proven. First, here is a background information about the car, a Volkswagen Golf FSI 1.6, that they used.

DICOMWG12 scores the fuel-efficiency of the Volkswagen Golf FSI 1.6 at a combined rate of 40.40 mpg. The Auto Express gives it a combined rating of 42 mpg. CarPriceChecker rates it at 42.2 mpg. While both the AutoWeb and Yahoo! Cars scores it at 44.1 mpg. All in all, that’s about 42.56. Now, here’s the exciting part, the record-holding couple was able to crank it up to an average of 52.1 mpg on several trips. How were they able to do that? They followed Shell’s “FuelStretch" tips, to wit:

  1. Drive smoothly: Avoid heavy acceleration or braking. Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gasoline mileage by 5 percent at lower speeds around town and by 33 percent at highway speeds.
  2. Replace dirty or clogged air filters: Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter with a clean one can improve gasoline mileage by as much as 10 percent. A car's air filter can protect the engine from impurities.
  3. Keep your engine well-tuned and repair any problems immediately: If your car has failed an emissions test or is noticeably out of tune, repairing the problem could improve your gasoline mileage by 4 percent on average.
  4. Make sure tires are not over or under-inflated: Proper air pressure cuts down on fuel used while driving. Keeping tires at the correct pressure can improve your gasoline mileage by more than 3 percent.
  5. Minimize vehicle drag: Keep your trunk and back seat clear of unnecessary items that only add weight. Removing excess weight can improve your gasoline mileage.
  6. Use the recommended grade of oil in your engine: Following your manufacturer's motor oil recommendation can improve gasoline mileage by up to 2 percent. Look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to ensure it contains friction-reducing additives.
  7. Choose a high-quality gasoline: Top automakers say that carbon deposits can build up on critical engine parts, which can decrease the power, performance and fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Audi, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen recommend using TOP TIER Detergent Gasolines to help keep engines clean. All Shell gasolines meet TOP TIER standards and stop gunky build-up on critical engine parts to help cars perform at their best.
  8. Use cruise control on major roads and in free-flowing traffic: Maintaining a constant speed can improve gasoline mileage.
  9. Avoid idling: When you idle, you get zero miles per gallon.
  10. Avoid higher speeds: Gasoline mileage usually decreases when driving at speeds over 60 miles per hour.
  11. Plan your outings to avoid separate trips: Combine your errands into one outing to avoid short separate trips. This helps avoid unnecessary cold starts and keeps your car's engine running warm and more efficiently.
  12. Pay with a rebate credit card: Credit cards offer a simple way to pay for things quickly, but using a rebate credit card means earning rewards with every purchase. For example, with a 5 percent rebate on Shell gasoline purchases and a 1 percent rebate on all other purchases**, the Shell Platinum MasterCard(R) is one of the best rebate cards of its kind, helping consumers lower the cost of driving without sacrificing the quality of their gasoline.
Source: The Auto Channel