Everyone can get better fuel mileage.
Fuel mileage can be increase in two major ways: Improving Vehicle Efficiency and Driving More Efficiently.

Vehicle Efficiency:
1. Use proper fuel grade. Your vehicle was designed to run on a specific octane of gas. Using Regular grade gas if your vehicle specifies Premium will lower fuel mileage, lower drivability performance and can cause excessive carbon build up in certain cars. This can lead to excessive carbon build up in the engine which will further lower fuel mileage and warrant an expensive repair a few years down the road. In the Contrary, using Premium fuel in a car that requires Regular will not benefit the gas mileage, and can cause hesitation. However, there are cases where higher mileage older cars get some benefit from switching to premium grade.

2. Check tire pressure every few weeks and air up to maximum recommended spec that owners manual or door jamb sticker specifies. A tire only a few pounds under spec can reduce gas mileage over 1 mpg.

3. Get the junk out of the trunk. Carrying around a few hundred pounds of needless stuff in your trunk can cost you several miles per gallon.

4. Make sure Scheduled Maintenance is up to date. Following the Manufacturers Recommended Service Intervals will provide an efficient, safe and reliable vehicle. Postponing recommended services not only hurts gas mileage but can cause problems that lead to expensive repairs later on. Watch out for gimmicks like special spark plugs, fuel additives and oil additives that claim better fuel mileage and performance. From my experience, they cause more problems than benefits. Improvements in fuel mileage after adding these gizmos usually come from driving more conservatively. Synthetic oils and lubricants have proven to increase fuel mileage and also longevity. Because of this, many new car manufactures require Synthetic and Synthetic Blends lubricant to be used in their vehicles.

Driving More Efficiently: The most dramatic increases in Fuel Efficiency can be gained by changing your driving habits.

City Driving: These techniques can increase your fuel mileage 10 or more percent.

1. Drive smooth; imagine your mother is in the car with you. Accelerate from a stop normally. Jack rabbit starts and very slow starts both cause excessive fuel consumption. It is the most fuel efficient to get the car in high gear quickly and maintain the speed limit.

2. Avoid excessive idling. Don't turn off you vehicle at stop lights but do turn it off at the bank drive through where you won't have to drive away quickly. When cold starting car, drive away as soon as you can safely do so. Drive gently until the engine reaches normal temperature.

3. Anticipate stops. Do not drive up to a red light and then brake hard. It's better to time the lights so you will not have to come to a complete stop. Starting from a stop uses much more fuel than driving at a constant speed. Highway Driving: You can gain the most fuel mileage by following these tips.

1. Obey the speed limit. Driving 10 mph over the speed limit can use up to 20% more fuel, especially in larger SUVs, vans and trucks.

2. Anticipate hills. Speeding up just before going up a hill then letting the speed drop slowly to normal by the time you reach the top of the hill will use less fuel than maintaining the same speed.

3. Cruise Control can save fuel compared to speeding up and slowing down unnecessarily.

4. On hot days, driving with windows down creates more drag and uses more fuel compared to using air conditioning.

5. A trick that the guys who compete in fuel mileage competition is varying the gas pedal. They first accelerate to desired speed, and then slowly back off the gas pedal until the car barely slows down. The goal is to loose only a few mph in a minute then gently bring up to speed again, repeating over and over. This saves gas, but requires more concentration than most people have during a normal drive.

6. Plan your trips. Cars running at normal temperatures are more efficient than cold cars. Group your trips together.

7. Share a ride when possible. Think about what the effect would be on our economy if every person car pooled just one day a week. We would use 20% less gas, the roads would be 20% less crowded, and the cost of car ownership would decrease by 20%.

In Summary:
We can gain a few miles per gallon keeping our cars maintained according to manufactures requirements. Eliminating unnecessary break downs is the big saver here. It's hard to put a dollar value when you leave work just in time to pick up the kids at school, its dark, below freezing and you get in your car and it won't start.
It doesn't cost anything to drive more economical yet you can gain an easy 15% fuel mileage just observing a few of the tips above.

Joe Gentile
Albany Light Truck & Car Repair
4 Anderson Drive
Albany, NY 12205