Gas prices are up: Don’t be fuelish |

Gas prices are up: Don’t be fuelish

Gas prices are continuing to give consumers a swift kick in the tank, but it’s not necessary to take the beating without first putting up a basic line of defense.

There are things drivers can do to increase their fuel economy and lessen trips to the pump. First and foremost is slowing down, said Jerry Detwiler, owner of Truckee Automotive.

“If everybody drove at a slower speed, the fuel economy would be a lot better; over 55 (mph) and your efficiency goes way down,” Detwiler said. “The harder you step on the gas, the worse your mileage is going to be. If you drive like an old lady then your fuel efficiency is much better.”

Also at the top of the list are regular oil changes and air-filter cleanings, and keeping the correct type of tires properly inflated.

“Take your snow tires off,” said Mark Lowenstern, automotive columnist for the Sierra Sun. “You can save up to 10 percent on your gas mileage right away (because) snow tire treads have more rolling resistance.”

Other than those three elements of basic upkeep, cars newer than 10 years should not need frequent tune-ups, said Detwiler, as some commercials and mechanics might lead consumers to believe. New parts and technologies have minimized the need for tune-ups, and most consumers will not need one until their vehicle hits 60,000 or even 100,000 miles.

– Avoid quick starts and sudden stops. This wastes fuel, is harder on vehicle components and increases the odds of a traffic crash.

– Lighten the load. Don’t haul extra weight in the passenger compartment, trunk or cargo area of your vehicle. A heavier vehicle uses more gasoline.

– Remove roof racks and storage boxes when not in use.

– Check your vehicle owner’s manual. If your vehicle doesn’t require premium or mid-grade fuel, purchase less expensive regular unleaded gas.

-Shop for low gasoline prices locally, but don’t waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been testing products that claim to boost gas mileage. Of the more than 100 products tested, not a single one has proved substantial. In light of this, the EPA is now warning against certain products such as:

-Air bleed devices: These devices bleed air into the carburetor. They usually are installed in the Positive Crankcase Ventilation line or as a replacement for idle-mixture screws.

-Fuel Line Devices (heaters or coolers). These devices heat the fuel before it enters the carburetor. Usually, the fuel is heated by the engine coolant or by the exhaust or electrical system.

-Liquid Injection. These products add liquid into the fuel/air intake system and not directly into the combustion chamber.

– Mixture Enhancers (under the carburetor). These devices are mounted between the carburetor and intake manifold and supposedly enhance the mixing or vaporization of the air/fuel mixture.

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