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Nine Ways to Spend Less Time at the Pump This Summer
By Kimberly Hood

    With summer quickly approaching and gas prices nearing $3.00 a gallon, conserving fuel can benefit everyone. Here are some simple tips that Janet Ricker, Greeneville High School ecology teacher, gives that can save you money at the pump this summer.

One: Avoid excess idling & fast starts
    When your car is idling, it’s burning fuel and getting zero-miles per gallon in return. So, if you’re stopped in traffic because of a wreck, turn off the engine. Likewise, if the drive-thru at McDonalds is more than 2 or 3 cars long, park the car and go inside to order.

    Buddy Kinser, a mechanic for many years, also adds that while it was once the case that starting the car used more gas than leaving it running for 2 or 3 minutes, it is no longer the case due to the increased fuel efficiency of modern cars. “This idea that it’s actually better to leave the car running when it’s only going to be idle a few minutes as opposed to turning it off and restarting the engine is nothing more than a myth. It is far better, in regards to conserving fuel, to turn the car off. A car can’t burn gas if it’s not turned on,” Kinser explains.

Also, avoid speeding up aggressively after a stop light or when passing another vehicle.

Two: Use air-conditioning as little as possible
    Using the air-conditioning detracts from the overall gas mileage of the vehicle. Rolling down the windows instead of running the AC will work to conserve fuel. However, Kinser adds that when driving on the interstate the gas mileage is actually better served by running the AC as opposed to rolling the windows down. He explains that the wind resistance is so great when traveling at speeds of 65 mph and higher that having the windows down would actually decrease gas mileage more than running the air conditioning. He also points out that the gas burned by running the AC is not contingent on how high the AC runs. If running the AC is absolutely necessary, it is far more fuel efficient to run it on high for a couple minutes at a time then by running it on low for an entire trip.

Three: Don’t Speed
    Cars are most fuel efficient at 60-65 mph and every mph above that begins to reduce overall miles per gallon.

Four: Use cruise-control
    Using cruise-control at high speeds keeps helps prevent inadvertent changes of speed. A steady pace is more easily maintained, and thus, is more fuel efficient.

Five: Cut wind resistance
    The more aerodynamic a car is, the less energy it has to use to move forward. Things like flags, car-top carriers, and roof racks all create unnecessary wind resistance and detract from gas mileage. Also, Kinser points out, that on pick-up trucks the tailgate creates significant wind resistance and by removing it when it’s not needed the gas mileage can be improved by up to 30%.

Six: Don’t use wider tires than necessary and keep tires aligned
    Wide tires, such as off-road tires, reduce gas mileage by creating more rolling resistance. It is better to stick with stock tires unless conditions call for special tires. Also, it tires aren't aligned properly or have too little pressure it creates a drag and reduces gas mileage.

Seven: Have car serviced regularly
    Proper maintenance of an engine is vital to its fuel efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing clogged air filters and having a car serviced regularly (every 3,000 miles) can improve its gas mileage by 15%. Also, regular maintenance will help catch major maintenance problems, such as a defective oxygen sensor, which could decrease fuel efficiency by as much as 40%.

Eight: Drive less
    By consolidating errands into one trip and carpooling or taking public transit when possible it is easy to conserve fuel. Other obvious means of conserving gas are by walking or riding a bicycle as opposed to hopping in the car just to drive a block or two.
Knoxville Area Transit

Nine: Be environmentally conscious when choosing a car
    Ricker points out that, “Higher gas prices seem to be a true catalyst for environmentalism. Modern developments such as flex-fuel and hybrid cars are becoming increasingly more affordable means of alleviating gas consumption.” Green technology is also becoming a solution to the gas 

MPG Pill

This is a YouTube video of a newscast about pills designed to improve gas mileage. There are several videos about this same pill on YouTube, but this one is most consise.

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