Common sense pays off at the gas pump

The price of fuel is sky high again. I am a fair weather cyclist and the lack of fair weather is keeping me visiting the gas pumps. I don’t own what one would call an economy car. Good thing my commute is short.

I can’t imagine what it would be like having an hour’s drive every day to and from work.

My V8 SUV would have me in the poor house pretty fast at a $1.30 a litre.  I really start thinking about an economy car when the gas pump stops at $100 and my tank is not full.

All of a sudden every ad I hear for automobiles is batting around the “40 miles per gallon” statement.

There are quite a few more vehicles around that will get you to that magic number but it usually means purchasing something a lot smaller than you already drive.

If you are into downsizing and buying a new vehicle by all means go for it.

Remember though thousands of dollars in a new car investment can buy a lot of fuel.

That new car might not start saving you any money for a while.

If instead you want to keep driving what you have, some common sense and a little investment can make your visits to the pumps less frequent.

Commit to spring.  Get those winter tires off and take that extra weight out of your box or out of your trunk.  Snow tires do not roll as efficiently as summer and all season tires. Any excess weight is always a penalty in fuel economics.

You can cheat in the tire pressure department as well.

A little extra tire pressure (not more than the maximum written on the sidewall) will decrease rolling resistance and add kilometres per litre, the only penalty here is a little bit harsher ride.

Now turn your attention to something you might be convinced is a thing of the past: tune up.

When you bought your vehicle the lack of requiring a regular tune up might have been one of its selling features. I can attest to the fact that modern automobiles do an excellent job of hiding their need for a tune up.

A modern day tune up includes an analysis of the inputs and outputs of the engine and transmission control system. Less than optimal inputs can give less than optimal outputs.

If the check engine light is on it is very likely you are wasting fuel.

Running great and rolling freely, now the rest is up to the driver.  Driving habits can make the greatest difference  in fuel economy.

Accelerate slowly and brake slowly. Look ahead. The speed limit is your friend when it comes to economy.

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