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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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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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Finally, some good news about gas prices

While hurricane season is generally not a good thing for oil prices, especially when those hurricanes are in the Gulf of Mexico, a less powerful than expected Gustav is actually proving to be just that.

Oil prices are nearing their lowest price in five months. Today they tumbled to $109.71/barrel – just a couple months ago it seemed like it was inevitable that they’d hit $150/barrel by the end of the year.

So while your gas is still probably going to be above $3/gallon, it’s still a lot better than $4/gallon, right?

Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to pass along some good news for a change instead of all this gloom and doom, sky is falling stuff.

Posted: September 2nd, 2008
at 11:35pm by Fuel Saver


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4 Reasons Why Offshore Drilling Is A Dumb Idea

President Bush wants to put an end to the presidential moratorium on offshore drilling – he’s a moron!

And here are my top 4 reasons why:

1) Won’t significantly affect prices
Saying that opening up more coastal waters to offshore drilling will help alleviate high gas prices I like putting a band-aid on severed artery. It doesn’t help and just wastes time. The federal Energy Information Administration estimates that there are roughly 16 billion barrels of oil we currently can’t get at due to the offshore moratorium. I realize that may sound like a lot, but consider that in the U.S. we go through about 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year. So that amount of oil is enough to keep our cars running for about 1 ½ months.

Not only that, but experts also feel that we wouldn’t really see the full affects of lifting the ban until 2030! Remember, it takes time to 1) figure out where oil might be 2) drill exploratory wells 3) put up offshore drilling rigs 4) get that oil to be refined.

I don’t know about you but I sincerely hope we’re not using any oil at that point in time, which brings me to reason number 2…

2) Short sighted

In the world of politics you have to get used to short sighted policies, but this is ridiculous. Even if we keep finding more oil, we know for a fact that we’re going to run out of it – period! It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

While I certainly don’t like going to the pump and putting $4.05/gallon gas in my tank, I’m willing to “take one for the team here.” At some point, one generation is going to have to suck it up and make the transition to other ways to our vehicles from here to there. We have the opportunity right now to do that right now, so I say it may as well be us and not our children or their children.

Think of the switch to alternative fuels like pulling off a band-aid. You can either do it slowly and it hurts the entire time you pull it off or you can pull it off quickly and it really hurts for just a few seconds, and then it’s all better. I’d rather get this transition over with as quickly as possible, wouldn’t you – rather than suffering through it for the next 20-30 years (or longer if the oil companies get their way)?

3) Only good for oil companies & OPEC
Have you seen those Chevron commercials claiming how they’re “part of the solution.” They want you to think they’re one of the good guys, and that they’re on your side. Don’t let them fool you. This is the same company that owns the technology for the most promising battery technology for electric cars and refuses to do anything with it except horde it to make sure that we need to continue buying their oil.
Lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling only helps keep the government in bed with oil companies, which already get huge tax breaks despite the fact that they’re reaping record profits right now. (*cough* corruption *cough*)

How about the government starts using its time and resources to favor alternatives? It’s true that it’ll take a few years for us to start seeing the benefits, but no matter what we do, it’s going to take time. I say we put those resources towards a long term solution.

Why should we keep giving all our money to countries that hate us? (i.e. the middle east, Venezuela, etc.) Seriously, that’s just stupid.

4) Won’t help with recession
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, but offshore drilling isn’t going to help with the recession that we seem to be entering right now. High gas prices may not be helping things, but they’re certainly not the only factor at work right now. In fact, I’m going to tell you right now it’s best to tighten you belt for the next few years because it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Things will get better, maybe even better than ever, but that light of the tunnel is still just a dot in the distance right now.

So I’m going to say it again. Let’s act a bit more like our grandparents, and theirs before them, and really work on making this country a great one for our children and their children instead of trashing it. It’s not always going to be fun, and at times it’s going to be painful, but it’ll be worth it.

Want a solution you can use to start using significantly less gas right now? Perform a water conversion on your car and you can improve your gas mileage by up to 57% – works with ANY vehicle.

Posted: July 18th, 2008
at 12:04pm by Fuel Saver

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Tesla Roadsters Finally Hit The Road

In what’s seemed like endless delays in delivery of Tesla’s sport $100k all electric roadster, there’s finally some good news to report…

Deliver has started.

So far Tesla is reporting that they’ve delivered 9 of the vehicles so far with three more being delived by the weekend.

The GM assembly line this is not.

Right now Tesla is capable of finishing four production vehicles each week, and they currently have 27 roadsters in “various stages of assembly.”

So why the heck is production on these things so slow? Well, according to Tesla Motors CEO Ze’ev Drori, “we deliberately limit the production until we install our own born and bred final transmission by mid-September, at which time production will start to ramp up leading toward a monthly rate of over 100 cars in December.”

I know a cheap all electric Tesla probably won’t be making it’s way to my Nebraska home anytime soon, but I’m still excited to see these things finally hitting the road.

And if you still aren’t amped about electric vehicles, you need to read this post – Hydrogen Fuel Cells vs Electric Cars

Want a solution you can use to start saving money on gas right now – perform a water conversion on your car and you can slash your gas bill by 40% or more.

Not that motivated? You could always get a gas rebate card. It’s an extremely easy way to start saving money on gas every time you fill up the tank.

Posted: July 17th, 2008
at 8:51pm by Fuel Saver

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Gas Price Heat Map

I stumbled across this cool map of the United States color coded to show where the cheapest and highest gas prices in the country are – just like with a heat map.

By default, it’s divided up into counties, and you can see how prices tend to vary not only from from state to state, but from county to county within a state.

If you’re looking for the cheapest gas, you’ll want to visit Missouri, South Carolina, and Missouri. you’ll find the highest gas prices in California, closely followed by Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, and New York.

Want a solution you can use to start saving money on gas right now – perform a water conversion on your car and you can slash your gas bill by 40% or more.

Not that motivated? You could always get a gas rebate card. It’s an extremely easy way to start saving money on gas every time you fill up the tank.

Posted: July 7th, 2008
at 5:41pm by Fuel Saver


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The Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles In America

If you’re looking for a fuel efficient vehicle, and a used Geo Metro really isn’t your style, here are the ten most fuel efficient vehicles you can purchase right now. One of the best things about these vehicles is the fact that the most economical vehicles for fuel efficiency also tend to be some of the most budget friendly. With three choices costing less than $15,000 and with none costing more than $30,000, you can save gas without breaking the bank.

1 – Toyota Prius – 46 MPG – Cost $22,160

As expected, the Toyota Prius get the top spot in this list of the most fuel efficient vehicles. This car doesn’t have a lot of power, and really isn’t a driver’s car, but when it comes to fuel economy, especially in the city, this “king of hybrids” just can’t be beat. The next generation hybrid comes out next year which is making this a tough to get car since Toyota is capping production at just 180,000 units this year. Look for a plug-in version of this car in 2011.

2 – Honda Civic Hybrid – 42 MPG – Cost $23,270

Honda came out with the first production hybrid that enjoyed some success with the Insight. However, despite superior gas mileage to a Prius, it didn’t make it – probably because it looked kinda weird. However, that doen’t mean Honda gave up on building fuel efficient vehicles or hybrids. It’s Honda Civic hybrid comes in at #2 on our list with it’s combined 42mpg rating and 45mpg highway mileage. If you’re looking a car that doesn’t look like a hybrid – it looks nearly the same as the regular Civic, then this vehicle is a good option. Also, of note, it handles better than some of its hybrid counterparts.

3 – Smart Fortwo – 36 MPG – Cost $12,235

The third most fuel efficient and second cheapest car on this list – the Smart Fortwo. This car is tiny – every time I see one I expect to see eight clowns come piling out of it, but if you’re on a tight budget and need a fuel efficient car, this would be a good choice. This car has been deemed the “ultimate urban vehicle” and I’d definitely buy that. It’s a dream to park, and can easily squeeze into places impossible for anything but a motorcycle. However, this car is lacking in the power department and is the slowest accelerating passenger vehicle in the country, so if you do a lot of freeway commuting, you may want to look at some of the other vehicles on this list.

4 – Nissan Altima Hybrid – 34 MPG – Cost $26,140

I’ve never personally driven or seen a Nissan Altima Hybrid which is probably because it’s only sold in California and seven eastern states. I live smack dab in the middle of the country, which means no Nissan Altima Hybird for me. This car is a good handling sedan and delivers even better performance than the standard Altima model. It also has a sporty sedan look which makes this a good choice for someone looking to have some fun while they save the planet.

5 – Toyota Camry Hybrid – 34 MPG – Cost $25,860

The 34mpg Toyota Camry Hybrid is everything you’d expect from a family friendly sedan. It’s quite similar to the gas powered Camry and handles well. When you decide to go with the hybrid package you also get stability control and the XLE interior package (minus leather seats).

6 – VW Jetta TDI – 34 MPG – Cost $22,650

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been hyping up this car for a while claiming that the only diesel car on this list will get 50mpg+. And now the official numbers have come up with a combined mileage of 34 mpg, so you’re probably wondering what gives. What’s interesting about diesel cars is that they typically end up getting better mileage than what is estimated by the EPA whereas hybrids end up getting lower gas mileage than what’s estimated by the EPA. If earlier models of VW Jetta diesels are any indication, this car will get over 50mpg on the highway and close to 40 in the city, but if we’re just using EPA data, this car ranks six on this list, but it’s still at the top of my list as a vehicle to buy even though diesel is rather expensive.

Of all the vehicles on this list, this one is probably the most fun to drive since you can get it with a six speed manual, and the diesel engine delivers plenty of power – it certainly won’t feel like you’re driving a fuel sipping vehicle.

7 – Ford Escape Hybrid – 32 MPG – $29,000

Here’s the vehicle for those of you who just aren’t ready to trade in your SUV for a car just yet. Perhaps, you like the cargo space or you just like the higher ride, but either way with the Ford Escape Hybrid you can have your cake and eat it too. With a starting base price of $29,000, the Escape Hybrid comes in as the highest priced vehicle on the list, but when you consider you’re getting a 32 mpg SUV for the money, you may decide it’s a deal you just can’t afford to pass up.

8 – Toyota Yaris – 32 MPG – $12,210

If you’re looking for an extremely budget friendly car that still excels in the gas mileage department, then look no further than the Toyota Yaris. This car may look tiny, but it’s surprisingly spacious inside and can a good amount of cargo – whether it be groceries or children. It’s really nothing too special, but it is a good deal for those who are budget minded and don’t want the minuscule Smart Fortwo.

9 – Mini Cooper – 32 MPG – $18,700

If you want a unique looking car that still gets great gas mileage, then look no further than the 32mpg Mini Cooper. Designed and manufactured by BMW, it’s no surprise that this vehicle has excellent road manners and is a pleasure to drive. The only downside to this vehicle is that the options can add up in a big hurry, but then again, you do get a whole lot to choose from when designing your Mini Cooper, and excellent resale value.

10 – Honda Fit – 31 MPG – $14,620

Coined a “mini-minivan” the 31 mpg Honda Fit is a great people hauler and offers plenty of storage space. Probably the biggest downside to fuel sipping vehicle is the fact that it’s ugly as sin. However, it’s actual not too bad when it comes to performance, and if you’ve got kids and stuff to move around, and don’t want minivan fuel efficiency or the higher price, then the Honda Fit would be a great choice

(MPG Figures are combined highway/city mileage – cost is base price listed by manufacturer)

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Need an easy way to start saving money on gas right now? I recommend you get a gas card. They’re free, and the savings can really add up. Check out my gas cards page to find out which ones are recommended and which ones aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on.

Have you signed up to get my free money saving report, “62 ways to save money on gas” yet? If not, click here to get it absolutely FREE!

Posted: July 3rd, 2008
at 8:04pm by Fuel Saver


Categories: Gas Prices

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The Return of the Geo Metro

The Geo Metro, a joint effort between GM and Suzuki, was the most fuel efficient vehicle available in the U.S. for the years it was produced – 1989-2001. It was also one of the cheapest, and its 49 horsepower made it seem more like a go-kart than a car.

However, it’s real claim to fame was the fact that it could get up to 58 mpg, and one guy even modified his ’89 Metro to get 75 mpg.

And while you’d think years later we’d easily have a fleet of vehicles that could outdo the mileage of the Metro, however years of dirt cheap gas prices have taken us in another direction entirely – we’re a nation of trucks and SUVs that get at best 20mpg.

However, $4/gallon gas has this much maligned car making a comeback on the used car market.

This car is in such demand that its been selling for 5 times its blue book value on auction sites like eBay.

People have even started up businesses where they’ll fix up old Metros and resell them for a nice bit of profit locally or on eBay.

The metro to this day still gives the Prius a run for its money in terms of gas mileage, and the nice thing about a Geo Metro is that it’s cheap. It may not get you where you’re going in style, but it will get you there, and the 40mpg+ that it delivers is a welcome relief for drivers accustomed to getting less than half that.

So if you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford a Prius or other high gas mileage car, you may want to take a look at picking up a Geo Metro as your commuting car.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, why not subscribe to my RSS feed and be notified every time I make a new blog post.

Need an easy way to start saving money on gas right now? I recommend you get a gas card. They’re free, and the savings can really add up. Check out my gas cards page to find out which ones are recommended and which ones aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on.

Have you signed up to get my free money saving report, “62 ways to save money on gas” yet? If not, click here to get it absolutely FREE!

Posted: July 2nd, 2008
at 5:07pm by Fuel Saver


Categories: Gas Prices

Comments: 1 comment


Why High Gas Prices Are Bad For Oil Producing Countries

With news that oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia are reaping record profits, most people think that record high oil prices are great news to oil producing countries. And while that may be true in the short term, it’s not going to be in the future.

Think I’m crazy? Maybe, but let’s look at the facts:

$3/gallon gas prices didn’t really affect oil consumption in the U.S., however, $4/gallon gas has certainly seen people using less oil.

Public transportation use is at record high numbers.

More people have started working from home or telecommute a few days a week so that they don’t need to drive to work every day. Many businesses and even some local governments have started allowing employees to work four 10 hour work days instead of five 8 hour days which allows them one less day of commuting.

Gas guzzling SUV sales have plummeted with brands like Hummer seeing a 36% decrease in sales and several other large SUV lines seeing similar declines.

All this translates into less consumption which means that we need less oil. While the reduction in oil use hasn’t become dramatic, it is certainly making people clamor for alternatives, and they’re willing to pay for it.

And in the capitalistic society that we live in, companies will go where the money is and the money is in alternative fuel technologies right now. Just yesterday I posted about a company that is using bacteria to turn waste products into oil. Last week I talked about a car that gets 300mpg, and several car companies are working on bringing electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells to the market.

Right now it’s looking like 2010 is going to be an excellent year for ultra fuel efficient vehicles with GM releasing its Volt platform which can run for 40 miles on battery power before the gas engine kicks in and VW releasing a car that gets of 200mpg and several other car manufacturers will be following suit.

All this means less oil being consumed, and many countries are working on making themselves self sufficient on oil as well, further reducing the need for foreign oil. And for those who think that emerging countries like India and China will pick up the slack if we reduce our demand for oil, in our global economy, we’ll be happy to export our technology to those countries to help them use less oil as well.

So when I heard that Saudia Arabia had decided to ramp up oil production to 10 million barrels a day (the highest in its history) it only made sense to me. Oil is pretty much the only resource that Saudi Arabia has, and it’s a resource that has made the country incredibly wealthy. However, if the global demand for oil declines, that means that prices will drop. And the higher oil prices go, the faster we’ll transition to technologies that don’t have us depending on oil or that help us use far less of it.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, why not subscribe to my RSS feed and be notified every time I make a new blog post.

Need an easy way to start saving money on gas right now? I recommend you get a gas card. They’re free, and the savings can really add up. Check out my gas cards page to find out which ones are recommended and which ones aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on.

Have you signed up to get my free money saving report, “62 ways to save money on gas” yet? If not, click here to get it absolutely FREE!

Posted: June 17th, 2008
at 6:41pm by Fuel Saver


Categories: Gas Prices

Comments: 1 comment


Flooding May Cause Gas Prices To Increase 15%

In the adding insult to injury department comes the news that gas prices could go up another 15% but not because of the rising cost of oil per barrel or due to violence in the middle east or because of refinery issues. Nope, this is a problem of the home grown variety.

Farmers are having trouble growing corn because their fields are flooded. I remember that back when I was a kid helping my dad on the farm it was better if things were too dry rather than too wet. If the field is too dry, the crops won’t grow as tall and the yields will be lower. However, if the fields are too wet, the crops don’t grow at all. In some cases, you can’t even get out in the fields to plant because your tractor will simply get bogged down in mud.

And that’s the situation farmers are facing in the Midwest “corn belt” region. (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas) This is the part of the country that has been hit the hardest by heavy rains and widespread flooding.

I actually spoke to my mother last night who lives in southeastern Wisconsin and she was telling me how just about every city that was near a lake or river had been declared a state of emergency. Entire cities had had been shut down because every road in and out of the city was flooded.

And the heavy rain has caused Corn prices to skyrocket. In the past two weeks alone, corn has jumped from $6.10 a bushel to $7.50 a bushel. And if this trend continues, gas prices could increase another 61 cents per gallon. That will push gas prices close to $5/gallon, and if we have a bad hurricane season like the one from a few years ago, then $7/gallon gas prices will become a reality before the end of the year.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, why not subscribe to my RSS feed and be notified every time I make a new blog post.

Need an easy way to start saving money on gas right now? I recommend you get a gas card. They’re free, and the savings can really add up. Check out my gas cards page to find out which ones are recommended and which ones aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on.

Have you signed up to get my free money saving report, “62 ways to save money on gas” yet? If not, click here to get it absolutely FREE!

Posted: June 13th, 2008
at 9:59pm by Fuel Saver


Categories: Gas Prices

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