Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Apocalypse is Nigh! - Ford Offers Tips for Fuel Efficiency ...

... and Look At the End of Part 5: That's right! A US automanufacturer is advocating riding your bike!

Ford's tips to maximize your fuel efficiency are broken down into five main categories as follows:

Driving Style

  • Time studies show that aggressive driving, including fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic, accelerating to and from a stop light doesn’t save much time, wastes fuel and wears out some of the car components such as brakes and tires faster.

  • Don’t leave car idling. Today’s engines don’t need to be warmed up. Prolonged idling creates excess emissions and wastes fuel. Start car and immediately and gently drive away.

  • Turn the engine off when idling more than 30 seconds.

  • Start slowly, avoiding rapid acceleration. Jackrabbit starts waste fuel

  • Accelerate smoothly and brake gradually. Change lead foot to light foot.

  • Anticipate traffic conditions, and accelerate and decelerate smoothly—it’s also safer and reduces brake wear.

  • Vehicle Speed
  • Aim to maintain a constant speed—pumping the accelerator pumps more fuel into the engine.

  • Drive at posted speed limits—this is a tip that may save a life as well as fuel. EPA estimates a 10-15% improvement by driving 55 instead of 65 mph.

  • Use cruise control on the highway.

  • Engine Load
  • Avoid piling a lot of luggage on the roof rack. The added frontal area reduces aerodynamics and will hurt fuel economy. It can reduce fuel economy by up to 25 percent.

  • Don’t drive at higher speeds with windows wide open. It increases the aerodynamic drag on the highway and lowers fuel economy.

  • Minimize use of air conditioning. Use the vent setting as much as possible.

  • Park in the shade to keep car cool and reduce the need for air conditioning.

  • Remove excess weight. Unnecessary weight makes the engine work harder and consume more fuel.

  • Maintenance
  • Maintain a proper engine tune-up to keep vehicles running efficiently. Keep the wheels aligned. Wheels that are fighting each other waste fuel.

  • Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. They also wear rapidly. Check the vehicles door-post sticker for minimum cold tire inflation pressure. Keep tires properly inflated to the recommended pressure—this alone can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3-4 percent.

  • Replace the air filter as recommended—always consult the owner’s manual.

  • Use good quality, energy-conserving (EC) oils with a viscosity grade consistent with the manual. Buy cans marked with the symbol ECII, which is the American Society of Testing Materials logo for fuel-efficient oils.

  • Use a fuel with good detergent additives—to keep the vehicle engine clean and performing efficiently.

  • Other
  • Plan and consolidate trips to bypass congested routes and avoid stop-and-go traffic. When feasible, carpool.

  • Consider parking instead of using “drive-up” lanes.

  • Use a high-quality fuel with the lowest appropriate octane rating. Check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation. There is no benefit to using premium gas in a vehicle calibrated for regular.

  • Consider walking or bicycling for short distances.


  • Take note of part five. Who would have ever thought we'd hear a US automaker advocating that you ride your bike instead of drive their car? What's that happing up in the sky? Oh! That's the moon crashing into the sun!

    Well, I guess Ford doesn't care if your Explorer sits in the drive way as long as you bought it.

    Finally, notice that all of these tips, while they are good tips, only give you a relative (i.e. small percentage) gain. Nowhere in there do they suggest you buy a Focus instead of an Explorer (because Ford makes more money on an Explorer of course). [Edit: Removed for obviously reasons, i.e. my apparent temporary lapse of mathematic skills: I guess they hope you wont notice that 10% of 15 mpg is a lot smaller than 10% of 30 mpg. [Let's try this again...] I guess they hope you wont notice that if you buy a 30 mpg Focus instead of a 15 mpg Explorer, you realize a 100% gain in fuel efficiency, even BEFORE you start with these incremental improvements...

    3 comments:

    kristen said...

    I miss my bike so much :o(

    Heiko said...

    Sorry, can't resist:

    actually 10% of 15 mpg is more than 10% of 30 mpg;

    you save twice as much fuel. Just use different units for fuel economy:

    15 mpg equals 67 gallons per 1000 miles

    30 mpg equals 33 gallons per 1000 miles

    A 10% saving on 67 gallons is 6.7 gallons or twice the 3.3 gallons a 10% saving provides on 33 gallons.

    ;-)

    WattHead said...

    Heiko, my friend, you are of course abosultely correct. My bad. ;-)