Fuel Saving Myths

Consumer reports reported the following interesting Fuel myth busters:

Morning fill-ups. A common tip is to buy gasoline in the morning, when the air is cool, rather than in the heat of the day. The theory is that the cooler gasoline will be denser, so you will get more for your money. But the temperature of the gasoline coming out of the fuel nozzle changes very little, if at all, during any 24-hour stretch. Any extra gas you get will be negligible.

Air conditioning vs. opening windows.
Some people advise you not to run the air conditioner because it puts more of a load on the engine, which can decrease fuel economy. But others say that opening the windows at highway speeds can affect gas mileage even more by disrupting the vehicle’s aerodynamics. Our tests show that neither makes enough of a difference to worry about. Using air conditioning while driving at 65 mph reduced the Camry’s gas mileage by about 1 mpg. The effect of opening the windows at 65 mph was not even measurable.

A dirty air filter. Our tests show that driving with a dirty air filter no longer has any impact on fuel economy, as it did with older engines. That’s because modern engines use computers to precisely control the air/fuel ratio, depending on the amount of air coming in through the filter. Reducing airflow causes the engine to automatically reduce the amount of fuel being used. Fuel economy didn’t change, but the Camry accelerated much more slowly with a dirty filter.

Posted: October 27th, 2009
at 6:49pm by Fuel Saver

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Fuel Cell Vehicles

Fuel Cell Vehicles – Zero Emission Vehicles of the Future

Zero emission vehicles are the future. One that we haven’t seen much of is the fuel cell powered vehicle. Fuel cells have been used on space crafts for many years. A vehicle that is considered zero emissions is one where the fuel cell is fueled by Hydrogen, and it has to be 100% hydrogen.

Fuel cell vehicles turn hydrogen fuel and oxygen into electricity. Cars with an electric motor can then be powered by using this electricity. This can be compared to traditional vehicles where the electricity from batteries power the motor in an electric vehicle. The combination of oxygen and hydrogen produces energy and water. In fuel cells, this can be accomplished without using any burning or combustion.

These cars are considered zero emission vehicles because the exhaust from these cars comes out as water vapor and steam. If the fuel cells didn’t get as hot as they do, water would just pour out of the exhaust pipe. But fuel cells get VERY hot, so it comes out as water vapor or steam. We have known of this technology for a long time though. Think of it like a space shuttle. Space shuttles are fueled with liquid oxygen and also liquid hydrogen. Then they are mixed together and ignited to cause a ridiculously hot fire which then propels the spacecraft into their air because of the expanding gases. This is what causes them to fly.

We know of a number of ways that can provide hydrogen to a fuel cell. One way is to simply put hydrogen gas and also air into the fuel cell itself. In order to carry hydrogen gas like this, it needs to be compressed. This is usually to about 3000 lbs per square inch. In order to do this, special containers need to be used.

Another way of providing hydrogen gas is to hold it on the car in the form of a liquid. In order to create hydrogen it needs to be made cold and also compressed. Hydrogen in liquid form is VERY cold. It is around 423 degrees below zero. The containers that hold this freezing cold liquid need to be well insulated and kept very safe. By warming up the liquid, or even lowering the pressure, you can release the gas into a fuel cell which will be able to power the vehicle that it is in.

Another very popular method of getting hydrogen to a fuel cell is using a reformer. A reformer is a device that can take out the hydrogen from hydrocarbon fuels. These are methanol or gasoline. When something other than hydrogen is used, the fuel cell is no longer zero-emission but it still may have extremely low emissions.

It is common to hear people talking about how fuel cell vehicles could be the future. What people don’t know is how far away we are from making these reasonably priced. High class families would have trouble affording these vehicles.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 8:33pm by Fuel Saver

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Zero Emission Vehicles

Near-Zero Emission Vehicles

Nowadays, in an era in which the cool thing to do is to drive a V8 engine vehicle and go as fast as possible through rush hour traffic, things have started to cool down. People are beginning to realize that driving such a large motor vehicle is taking a huge toll on the family budget. The amount of driving you do is directly proportional to the amount of money that rests in your wallet. That’s why everyone is beginning to take a look at these new near-zero emission vehicles.

These new type of vehicles are cheaper to buy, take less fuel that the cool Mustang and cool new Camaro, and are more reliable in the long run. But the burning question in everyone’s mind is that no one knows what these vehicles actually are!

The good thing is that lately, these kind of vehicles are being advertised just as much as the fast cars, and even more since gas has gone up as much as it has.

Let’s take a look at some of these vehicles:

The Honda Accord EX has emissions so low they can barely be measured. The engine in this vehicle can achieve mile per gallon ratings of 30-35. What’s awesome about this is how they cost nearly 25% less than cars of the same size that achieve mile per gallon numbers of 20-25. You are going nearly one and a half times further than these other cars with each gallon of gas. This Accord, which is made by Honda, gets unbelievable ratings too in the car market. The fact that this car gets amazing gas mileage doesn’t even affect it’s safety ratings or comfort. It has received some of the best comfort reviews and gets great safety ratings. Honda has FILLED this car with numerous air bags to ensure your safety.

Another ultra low emission vehicle that has come up recently is the Toyota Prius. This car gets an ASTOUNDING 50 miles per gallon if you decide to spring for the hybrid model. This car isn’t the cheapest on the market, but if you are driving thirty to forty miles or more to work then this will definitely pay off fast. This car can push nearly sixty miles per gallon if you drive it the right way. But this car isn’t expensive only because of the mileage it achieves… It is very luxurious and can be compared to some of the interiors that are inside of the new Lexus models.

So recently, many car enthusiasts have been selling or storing away their fast and sporty vehicles that get 15 miles per gallon. There has been a very big drop in big engine vehicles that drive on the road since the gas prices have gone up as much as they have.

You will begin to see many more Hybrids on the road especially more from Honda and Toyota, who seem to be the rulers of the road since gas has topped out at nearly $5 per gallon!

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 8:26pm by Fuel Saver

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How To Hypermile

The New Cool Way To Drive

Instead of driving fast, driving enthusiasts are turning to another “cool” method of driving. No, not drifting and not drag racing… hypermiling. Hypermiling is defined as a driving technique that maximizes fuel economy. I am going to go over the positives and the possible negatives of driving with these techniques, and also how to use hypermiling in your every day driving!

First, I am going to teach you how to drive like the “professional” hypermilers. One guy is achieving nearly 59 miles per gallon on average in his Honda Accord… a car that is supposed to get 27 in the city and 34 on the highway. I bet you’re wishing you knew how to do this after hearing that aren’t you? He has slashed his fuel bill in half… something us normal drivers only dream of!

To hypermile, you are going to need to drive like a total menace. You are going to irritate a LOT of people, and you are going to be very selfish. The first thing you are going to need to do is turn off all the luxuries that you use in your car. Air conditioner, never again can that be turned on, defroster, seat heaters, etc. Next, you are going to need to learn how to use cruise control to your advantage. Turn it on when you are going up hills and on flat land, and turn it off when going down hills. Also, you are going to need to turn your engine off at stop lights and if you want, when you are rolling down hills. Remember, most cars shut their power steering off when you turn the engine off. Another thing that you can do is brake MUCH LESS. Let off the accelerator much sooner than you would normally. You don’t need to brake to stop at a red light… If you can time it correctly you can coast right up to the red light. This saves a lot of not necessary acceleration. You should never go faster than fifty five miles per hour, and you should never accelerate to 55 in less than 20 seconds. With these couple methods you should be able to increase your mileage by at least ten.

The good things about this is that you will save a lot of money, you will cause a lot less wear on your cars parts (brakes, engine, and transmission), and you will be able to brag about your cars awesome mileage whenever you fill up! But then there’s the negatives…

By turning off your vehicle down hills and at stop lights, you are going to become a lot more susceptible to accidents or fender-benders. If your car is off at a stop light, someone behind you might see your brake lights off and think you are about to accelerate and they will accelerate when they notice that. This could cause a rear-end collision which will put a burden on you. The accident could be a lot worse when going down a hill. Since you are slowing down while going because your car is off yet your brake lights aren’t on the person behind you could rear end you. Another problem with hypermiling is that you are going to cause a lot of drivers to be very angry with you. This isn’t that big of a deal but it could endanger other people on the road because the angry driver will now have road rage for the next ten to fifteen minutes.

Don’t let these people stop you though. If you are short on money because the economy is so bad, go ahead and use these techniques to save a couple bucks here and there. Personally, I try not to use these methods that often because I drive a Civic which gets nearly 40 miles to the gallon already, which is good enough for me! Another cool thing about hypermiling is that it is very easy to do and will relieve you of a lot of stress. Sometimes seeing all the angry drivers is actually kind of funny because of how stressed out they are. Go ahead and give hypermiling a try if you want to save a few bucks.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 8:21pm by Fuel Saver

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Hybrid Vehicle Guide and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

A Guide to Hybrid Vehicles – Alternative Fuel Vehicles

The word hybrid is defined as two things that are mixed together. This normally refers to animals or plants that are bred from two different parents. There is a new type of vehicle that is on the road; the hybrid. These cars are called hybrids because it is a mix between an electric car and a gasoline car. These cars use engines that run on electricity until they run out of power or reach a certain speed then they start to use gasoline. They are becoming very popular and are helping our economy greatly.

One of the more popular hybrids is the Honda Insight. This vehicle gets up to 68 miles per gallon on the highway and it uses a ridiculously small 1.0 liter, 3 cylinder engine, with an astonishingly thin electric motor.

Most of the power that comes from these cars is put out with the gasoline motor. The electric motor powers the car when it is accelerating or climbing hills. This is because these are the worst times for a gasoline engine to work because you get terrible mileage when doing these things. The electric engine is not powered with an external supply. Instead, it is recharge through a process called “regenerative braking.” This means that energy from the momentum of the car is caught during braking and used to recharge the batteries.

Honda also has another hybrid vehicle; the civic. The Civic sedan is available as a hybrid which tops at an amazing 51 miles per gallon on the highway compared to the non-hybrid model that gets 39 miles per gallon. This may not seem like a big increase, but that means you are getting almost 130 more miles per tank of gas. This can add up very quickly.

Another very technologically advanced vehicle is the Toyota Prius. This roomy sedan gets 52 miles to the gallon. This car also has a very small gas engine partnered up with an electric motor. At slow speeds the car is powered with the electric motor. Around the city and when driving at freeway speeds the gasoline motor is activated. This is to allow for recharging of the battery.

There are many more hybrid vehicles that will be coming out in the near future. Ford has created the Escape Sport Utility Vehicle which is hybrid-electric. The vehicle uses an electric motor around town and a gasoline engine when moving quickly. Also, the gas engine is shut off when the car is stopped in a traffic jam or at a stop light.

The only problem with hybrids is that they are more expensive. It is hard to justify spending four or five thousand more dollars on a car that you might not drive enough to save that kind of money on gas. The gasoline-powered Escape gets around 23 miles per gallon and the hybrid gets nearly 40 miles to the gallon. But in order to get these extra miles to the gallon you must spend around $3,000 more dollars. The Government is working to decrease this extra cost by offering incentives to buyers.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 3:54pm by Fuel Saver

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Four More Fuel Saving Tips

Four Tips to Get Better Gas Mileage

These days, no one takes the time out of their schedule to learn how they can save money. It is very easy to get better gas mileage you just have to take a few simple steps. With these simple steps you could be on your way to saving hundreds of dollars per year on gas.

1. Drive along with the trucks. Truck drivers are on the road nearly twelve hours per day; they know how traffic works. It’s certain that you’ve noticed how trucks always seem to be moving along at the same constant pace whilst other cars are constantly slamming on the brakes and accelerating hard. These truck drivers have been trained to squeeze out as many miles to the gallon as possible, and also how to put the least amount of wear on the transmission by not needing to shift as often. If you can, try to stay near or behind a big eighteen wheeler truck so you can follow his relaxing path.

2. Drive without the luxuries. The air conditioner in your car wastes a ton of gas. Try turning it off and opening the windows to enjoy a nice breeze. But with the windows open at higher speeds, it may actually be smarter to turn on the air conditioning in the car because the wind resistance is so great when you are driving at high speeds. Another luxury that could waste gas is getting thicker tires. Your car may look better, but wider tires means more rolling resistance. If you are going to upgrade your wheels to some newer ones, consider keeping the old ones. That way, if you are going to be going on long trips in that car you can throw on the stock small wheels to get better gas mileage on the trip.

3. Clean out your car. A number of people have so much stuff in the back of their car that there isn’t even any room to sit down. This could take a very heavy toll on gas mileage because it is very easy to acquire an extra forty to fifty pounds. The more weight in your car means the more weight your engine has to lug around. If you can, try to drop the extra weight. This will help you in the long run by ensuring that you are carrying the smallest amount of weight possible. If you clean out your car periodically you could be saving a good amount of money on gas.

4. Downsize. The best thing you can do to save gas mileage is to downsize your car. There are many cars out there now that are just too big. You need to evaluate what you actually need out of the car you will be purchasing or downsizing to. If you have a family of three, you can definitely get by with something small like a Nissan Versa. The Nissan Versa has tons of interior room and can be classified as a mid-size vehicle. Automakers are designing these cars with safety in mind also so you can feel comfortable when driving around in one.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 3:44pm by Fuel Saver

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4 Fuel Saving Tips

Four Fuel Saving Tips

Whether you drive a one thousand pound hybrid, or a six thousand pound SUV, you can always squeeze out a few extra miles per gallon. In the long run, this could save you hundreds of dollars per year if you do it correctly.

1. Slow down. One of the best things you can do to save bas is to stop going so fast. Fifty five miles per hour is the best speed for your gas mileage. This is what kills people when they commute to work. Everyone has this “ten miles per hour over the speed limit” mindset, which kills gas mileage. Make sure you stay to the right of all the traffic though, it will save a lot of headaches.

2. Tire pressure. Tires that are under-inflated are the most commonly over-looked reason of bad miles per gallon. You need to buy a good, reliable tire gauge that way you can check your tires at least once a month; or as often as possible. Remember, tires lose around 1 psi every month and the less amount of air in them, the more resistance you are getting while driving on the street.

3. Check the air filter. The air filter in your car is what feeds the air directly into your engine. If your air filter is dirty, you are hindering performance which could cause your mile per gallon rating to go down to a miserable level. Air filters are extremely easy to check and just as easy to change. To check if your air filter is ready to be changed. What you need to do is take it out of the car and hold it up to the sun light. If it restricts most of the sun light from coming through, it’s time for a new filter. If you are ready for a change, I suggest investing in a K & N air filter. This will save you a lot of head aches because these are permanent filters. All you have to do is clean them and they are ready to go again. Not only will this save you money, but the K & N filters also help you get one or two miles per gallon more; which saves you money on gas in the long run.

4. Accelerate slowly. Even though the guy in the Dodge Charger is revving his engine next to you and eyeballing the stop light, there is no need for you to race him. There is no point in accelerating quickly at a stop light because it wastes endless amounts of fuel. If you have a car with an automatic transmission, accelerate slow enough to where your transmission will shift you up into higher gears quickly. If you drive a car with a manual transmission, shift early to keep the RPMs down but not low enough to where it would lug the engine. Keep an eye on the road for potential slowdowns because if you accelerate up to a spot where you could slow down and you need to brake hard then you’ve just wasted acceleration which means wasted gas.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 3:29pm by Fuel Saver

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Fill Up Your Tank

Filling Up The Tank

Sometimes when you fill up your gas tank, weird numbers can come up. I’ve seen a Honda Civic, which I KNOW their gas tanks are only 13 gallons get filled up to 13.1 gallons. How is this possible?

Tampering with pumps in an unauthorized nature does happen even though there are very regular checks that are done by the state’s gas measuring technicians to ensure their accuracy. There is a very legitimate reason that explains this phenomenon though. You might wonder why you’ve never wondered about this or thought about this to yourself because it is very simple.

Most manufacturers put out estimates that the actual capacity of a fuel tank can vary as much as 3 percent from the rating of the tank capacity because of design characteristics and also because of the manufacturing process. Another thing is that the physics that are associated with the components that are built to monitor the emissions system and also the electronics on the indicators and systems of fuel.

Most manufacturers don’t tell which parts of the fuel tank of the vehicle is that determine the capacity rating and this is very important to do. Also, what happens to these components when a vehicle is moving is a critical component in fuel capacity also.

There is a small area that is located at the bottom of the fuel tank that is known as the “unusable volume” This is because it is below the fuel line and can’t be used by the engine. This exists because it is physically impossible to build a gas tank in which it can be totally, 100% emptied out because if the fuel line was that low there would be air resistance in the line because it would be so close to the bottom of the tank.

Another part of the gas tank is the “vapor head space.” This is the top most portion of the gas tank compartment. This is almost always left out when a gas tank is measured for fuel capacity because fuel can never go that high. It is the part above where the filler pipe leads into the gas tank.

Now, drivers sometimes fill their tank beyond the pumps automatic shut-off point. This results in fuel either raising up into the filler pipe and over flowing, or fuel being drawn into the vapor head space. Also, the surface at the gas station could affect this. If you are not on a level surface and the ground is sloped towards the side where the vapor head space is and not where the filler pipe is, you could be filling up the vapor head space before the automatic shut off point is reached. You should use extra caution when filling up at gas stations that don’t have level surfaces because if this vapor head space is filled up it could cause a lot of damage to your car.

Your gas gauge sometimes reads over the Full reading and that is because tanks are supposed to be full much before the tanks actual capacity. Most pumps don’t do this though and just fill it up to the top. Also, when your meter reads E, you should have at least one or two gallons of gas left. This is called your “gas reserve.”

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 2:43pm by Fuel Saver

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Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles

Vehicles that are powered by electricity have been around for a very long time. What most people don’t know is that in the early 1900s there were more vehicles powered by electricity than there were vehicles powered by gasoline.

Gasoline back in the early 1900s was extremely pricey. Also, it was very difficult to start a gasoline engine. You had to turn and turn and turn a crank in the front of the car in order to get the engine to start. They didn’t have the technology where you could just turn a key like we do today. Another thing is that vehicles powered by gasoline were extremely noisy and were very smokey. Technology for good mufflers didn’t exist so most cars were very, very loud. This is why electric vehicles were such a big hit. They were quiet and easier to start. At one point, there were over 50,000 electric vehicles out on the streets of the United States.

These type of vehicles soon started to get less and less popular though. Gasoline was starting to become the big hit because cheaper ways of making gasoline started to be discovered. Then, someone invented the electric starter which enabled the user to start a gasoline powered motor without having to turn a crank. A gasoline car could drive much farther than an electric car so they soon became the most popular method of transporting people.

But nowadays, we are starting to realize how much more expensive gasoline is compared to electricity.

Electric vehicles don’t use or burn gasoline in their engines. Instead, they use electricity which is stored inside of batteries. Some cars can have 12 batteries, 24 batteries, or even more depending on the size of the vehicle.

One of the first modern electric vehicles was the General Motors Impact. General Motors began to call it the “EV1” in 1997 when they began selling it. This car set a world record when it went over 180 miles per hour.

These electric vehicles are always made to be very aerodynamic because they don’t have as powerful of engines as gasoline powered ones. Being aerodynamic, they can still reach the same speeds and even greater speeds than gasoline powered motors can.

To charge an electric vehicles batteries, one must plug the car in at night. Houses are equipped with special charging units but not all electric vehicles need these to be charged. Some electric vehicles need to be plugged into a larger outlet like the ones that stoves or dryers are plugged in to.

There are some electric vehicles that are made by small auto companies and there are some that are made by very well known companies. One of the more well known companies, Toyota, made the Toyota Rav-4 EV (EV standing for electric vehicle). There are also some hobbyists that build their own electric vehicles or convert gasoline cars into electric vehicles. A lot of times, all a person must do is install a large number of batteries and take out the gasoline motor. These people either retro-fit the batteries into the engine bay or put them into the trunk.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 2:34pm by Fuel Saver

Categories: Alternative Fuel Vehicles

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Alternative Fuels

What are the types of alternative fuels?

We are not talking about gasoline, diesel fuel, or kerosene right now. An alternative fuel is defined as the choice of any fuel other than the traditional selections; gasoline and diesel.

What are the choices?

1. Ethanol. Ethanol is a high-octane, low-emission fuel that has been used in racing for a long time. It is now made from renewable plant materials and can be used in normal vehicles. The bad thing about Ethanol is that it gets lower fuel economy ratings as opposed to gasoline.

2. Methanol. Methanol has a high octane rating and a low emission of pollutants. These characteristics make it a great fuel to use in engines in cars. Since the 1960s, the cars in the Indianapolis 500, which is a big race that is held annually, were powered with methanol.

3. Natural gas. Natural gas is a by-product of oil drilling and also coal mining. You can also harvest natural gas from natural gas fields.

4. Propane is another type of alternative fuel. Another name for this kind of gas is liquefied petroleum gas. Propane is the gas that is made when natural gas and crude oil is refined.

5. There are also blends of fuels. This is how we get fuels known as E-85 where it is a mix of 85% Ethanol and 15% gasoline. These are defined as mixtures between traditional and alternative fuels. Another blend is B20.

6. Hydrogen is one of the more popular alternative fuels. Hydrogen is made commercially by refining it from petroleum. You can also make hydrogen by passing electricity through water. This process is known as electrolysis.

7. Electricity is another alternative fuel. We consider electricity as an alternative fuel choice because it has been used to power the motors in electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular nowadays and they will be mass-produced in late 2009. Most people think this is the answer to our economy problem but what most people don’t realize is how expensive these electric vehicles are.

8. Biodiesel is another popular alternative fuel source. This is an additive or even a replacement for diesel fuel. biodiesel is made from animal fat and sometimes vegetable oil.

9. Biomass. Biomass is derived from materials that are biological, predominantly vegetation, these include biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

10. P-series. This is a colorless, clear liquid fuel which have between a 89 and 93 octane rating. P-series fuels are designed to be used in flex-fuel vehicles. This will become more and more popular as we see more flex-fuel vehicles.

This is just one list of the alternative fuels. There are many more out there we just need to discover them. Once a good alternative fuel is discovered that we can mass-produce very cheap which gets better gas mileage than our traditional fuel, the economy should start booming again.

Posted: May 11th, 2009
at 2:29pm by Fuel Saver

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