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20 % Improvement In Fuel Economy Instantly!

By Sid of Stone Marmot

April 13, 2011

As gas prices rise, more people are caring more about using less gasoline. Also, a number of people, though, unfortunately, still not enough, have come to realize that oil is a finite resource that will start becoming scarce sooner that we wish and that its use is damaging our environment. Many have accepted that it is our own fault for using so much oil and creating this demand for oil. But most everyone I know feels it is out of their control and it the fault of the automobile manufacturers for not making more fuel efficient vehicles.

There is a lot of truth to the last statement. But almost every vehicle on the road right now is capable of much better fuel economy than what the EPA ratings state. And this better fuel economy can be attained at no extra cost! In fact, it will save you lots of money. How?


About six years ago, there was a big fuss that the EPA automobile fuel economy ratings weren't realistic. Many people complained that they always got less, much less, mpg (miles per gallon) than what the EPA claimed their cars were capable of. So these whiners, who feel they are perfect and can do nothing wrong, assumed this discrepancy couldn't possibly be their fault and demanded the EPA fix their mpg measuring guidelines. Under political pressure, that is what the EPA did.

The problem is that the old EPA guidelines showed, yes, actually proved, what the vehicles were capable of when driven properly. And many of us WERE getting as good or better fuel economy as the old EPA ratings. I personally have gotten at least as good fuel economy as the EPA ratings in all seven vehicles I have owned in my life. In most cases, I have gotten 10 to 30 % better mpg than the old EPA ratings for that vehicle. My present vehicle, an extended cab Ford Ranger pickup truck, which is rated by the EPA for 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, is averaging over 29 mpg for mostly city driving and typically gets about 35 mpg for strictly highway driving with no outside loads (about 32 mpg on the highway with a kayak and racks mounted on top). And I am far from alone with this experience, as a quick Internet search will confirm.

Why don't people drive with fuel economy in mind? Most people don't even drive with driving in mind. They are too busy with their cell phones, audio players, chatting with passengers, rehearsing their future verbal encounters with coworkers or significant others, etc., to even care about driving.

Of those who do pay some attention to their driving, most are afraid that driving for fuel economy will slow them down and cost them an extra couple of minutes in getting to their destination. My experience is that, for local driving, the amount of traffic and timing of traffic lights has more impact on how long it takes to get to my destination. I can't even count the times I've observed some impatient person zig-zagging and zipping past me only to see them five miles later waiting for the same traffic light I am.

I find it real interesting, and rather hypocritical, that most people who claim to be environmentally and socially concerned expect corporations to make expensive changes in the way these businesses operate to reduce the environmental impact of these businesses. But these same people won't even make minor changes to the way they drive, which cost them nothing and actually saves them money, to reduce their own environmental impact. This is just another example of my claim that most people who say they are concerned about the environment aren't sincere and are just trying to be fashionable. They “talk the talk” but “don't walk the walk.”

There are many sources for how to drive for better fuel economy, as a quick Internet search will confirm. The Federal government, as well as many local governments, environmental organizations, AAA, the auto manufacturers, and some auto insurance companies, have free fliers or booklets with this info. A number of websites and forums, such as, also offer a number of tips and ideas for improving you fuel economy. As it is often said on these forums, the quickest and cheapest to improved fuel economy is to “fix the nut behind the wheel.”

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