fuel efficiency upgrade

fuel efficiency upgrade

Written By

Lisa Anderson Shaffer

May is eco driving month, and what better way to celebrate than to give your car the green treatment. There are several ways to improve the efficiency of your gas guzzler, from going all out and converting to biodiesel or Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) to taking a few simple steps to get the most out of your MPGs no matter the age, make, or style of your car.

If you are not quite ready to take the biodiesel plunge, performing a DIY efficiency assessment on your car is a great place to start.  Every car, no matter size, age, and fuel efficiency can become a little greener by following these simple rules.

First, get a little Zen.  Relaxed drivers that do not speed to a red light, accelerate, then break and drive aggressively not only arrive to work more relaxed, but they save a lot of fuel! Driving sensibly can lower your gas mileage by 33 % on the highway and 5% on your neighborhood streets.  That’s money in your pocket to treat your newly relaxed self to a night on the town.

Stop idling.  Sitting in the car with the engine running while waiting for a family member to run an errand is a huge waste of fuel.  Idling can waste up to a half-gallon of fuel an hour, so even those 5 minutes can eat into your MPGs and cause unnecessary pollution.

While it sounds like a Driver’s Ed class reminder, staying within the speed limit can actually not only save your car from unnecessary wear and tear, but it can also help your MPGs.  Miles per gallon begin to decrease pretty rapidly after 50 miles per hour.  Every 5 miles per hour you drive over 50 miles per hour you are directly increasing your fuel costs sometimes adding up to an additional 25 cents a gallon.

Lose the weight.  Do not carry around unnecessary equipment.  Ditch the athletic gear and building supplies post practice and home improvement project.  Extra weight makes your car work harder and can lead to lower MPGs and slower reaction time for your vehicle.

If you are planning a family car trip this summer, or spend a great deal of your commute on the highway, set your car’s cruise control.  Keeping a steady pace while going the distance gives you a break and will help save some gas.  You might go a little slower over those hills, but remember driving a little slower is safer and more fuel-efficient.

If you are ready to take the next step and enter the world of biofuel conversion, there are some great resources out there to get you started.  It turns out any diesel engine can use biodiesel and conversion is only necessary when switching to SVO.  For more information on making the switch, click here.