Saving Money With Your Car, and at the Pump

Stop everything, go out and buy a clean diesel or a hybrid, you’ll receive, in some cases, 45mpg plus on the freeway.   But at we’re very much aware that going out and buying a new might not be an option.   Don’t fret, there’s some assistance we can offer, right here, right now.


The most important thing to know is that it’s not so much what your drive, but how you drive.  My friends over at Top Gear handed me some interesting material.   A brand new Toyota Prius vs BMW M3 ( with a whopping V8 under the hood)   Fuel mileage is NOT why people go out and buy the BMW M3, it’s the smooth delivery of it’s 424 horsepower V8 combined with it world-class handling chassis.   You might find it interesting that these two cars were placed head to head, actually, nose to tail  on a closed race track.  Here’s the rules, the Toyota Prius  had to go around the track as quick as it could comfortably go, the BMW M3’s job was simply, to follow the Prius in close proximity, and never be farther than 100’ behind the Prius at all times.


The results are quite surprising, the Prius, after driving several laps around a closed race course, was found to have a lover overall average MPG then the uber powerful BMW M3.   The Prius average was 17.2MPG while the BMW M3 average 19.4 MPG.  The reason is simple, comes down  to one fundamental point, it’s not what you drive, but how you drive.    The BMW M3, with it’s much bigger motor, was in a relatively relaxed state while it followed the Prius quickly going around the track.  Conversely, the Prius was working harder   to go quickly around the track.


Next time you see a Prius flying by on the freeway, rest comfortably that the Prius may be getting worse mileage then you.


Here are some tips on how you can save money at the pump, no matter what you drive.


  1. Terminate the speedy takeoffs. A car burns the most fuel at takeoff from a standing start, hit the accelerator hard at this point and you’re left with radically reduced MPG.   These kind of starts are also called jack-rabbit starts


  1. Stick to the freeway speed limit. Sustained high speeds can get you a ticket and provide you with heavily reduced fuel mileage, no matter what type of vehicle you’re driving.   Remember this,  hybrids are great city cars, but little diesels, like the Chevy Cruz Diesel, are fantastic on both the city  and highway.   These little diesel are definitely preferenced, over a hybrid, if the majority of your driving is on the freeway.


  1. Anticipate a stop sign or red light. While driving always be aware of conditions just ahead, especially if the need to stop is closing in.   Point being, don’t accelerate towards a stop, chop the throttle and save a boat load of fuel.


  1. Try to consolidate your errands, combine a few stops if you can. If you find that you have a frequent errand to one place, spend a little time and see if you can adjust other tasks and relocate them towards your other errands.  It may take a little thinking, and a bit of time, but you may be surprised by the fuel savings.



  1. Avoid burning off all your fuel, running low for sustained periods, then refueling. It actually effects your fuel mileage.  Here’s why it’s better to operate your car’s fuel tank  from full to half rather then half to empty.   When it’s run low with frequency your fuel tank has more space for vapors, subsequently creating more evaporation, effectively reducing your fuel economy.   Think of it in terms of more empty space in your  fuel tank, more vapors, more evaporation.   Say goodbye to your fuel, quicker! One more good tip, check your fuel cap and makes sure it’s snug.  Less evaporation is good for you!


  1. Check your car’s wheel alignment and check your tire air pressure. Poor wheel alignment can cause additional drag on your transmission and your motor, reducing fuel economy.   You can yell out and say: “my shoes don’t fit right”, but your car can’t yell out “I don’t feel like I’m rolling smoothly.” Rolling resistance destroys efficiency, low tire pressure causes higher resistance.  It’s worth your effort to check your tire pressure once a month, your time will be well rewarded, proper tire pressure can yield an better fuel economy by around 33%


  1. Keep your car clean. Yes, we said; “keep your car clean”.  A cleaner and waxed exterior can reduce subtle amounts of drag.  Subtle, yes, but every little bit counts.


  1. If you live in the snow prone areas remove your snow tires. Yep, it’s worth the time and expense to switch to lower friction tires, a definite savings in fuel


  1. Use the correct motor oil for your vehicle. You can improve your fuel economy by 1-3 % by utilizing the manufactures suggested grade of motor oil.


  1. Observe the speed limit. Each vehicle reaches an optimal efficiency (fuel mileage) at various rpm’s.   Remember, most vehicles begin to loose maximum efficiency above 60 mph.   Here a simple rule to understand, for every increment of 5mph you drive over 60mph, it’s like paying an extra 20 cents per gallon.  Driving the speed limit usually is a safer choice.


  1. Avoid idling your car for prolonged periods. Excessive idling burns fuel, cars with larger engines typically burn more at idle


  1. If you see a hill coming, try to accelerate just before the hill. Try and stay at an even optimal speed going up hills, get to that speed before the hill is the objective in saving fuel


  1. Use public transportation when possible. Yep, this seems obvious, leave the car in the garage whenever possible certainly saves fuel.    Look into it, save money.


  1. Take unused roof racks off your car. Roof racks, even without anything on them can reduce your aerodynamics and cause poorer fuel economy. Put the racks on the car only when you need them.


  1. Buy a more fuel efficient car. If you can! 10 miles per gallon improvement can save you $912.00 per year . It’s that simple, try to do it.


  1. You don’t have much money and you need cheap transportation. Here are a few cheap and durable option. you have any questions regarding this, and/or need help in finding the right car at the right price contact us at


  1. Ride a bike, if you can! You get unlimited fuel mileage if you do.


  1. Lighten your load. Carry only what you need for each specific trip. Unnecessary weight on each trip can cause less then optimum fuel mileage, every time


  1. Don’t go out of your way to save pennies on gas. You won’t save your lost fuel  when you save pennies at the pump.


  1. Buy fuel in the cooler part of the day. Fuel is densest in cooler conditions.  Best mix of fuel is in these conditions.  Also remember to avoid fueling stations that have fuel trucks present at the time of your purchase.   There is a settling event that occurs after they depart.


  1. Check the “Cash” price of fuel. Often gas stations will place, in big numbers the cost of their fuel. Stop, take a look at the very small print, that will reveal the actual higher cost if you pay with a card. Gas stations are notorious for posting the Cash Only price as the primary number on their sign, but will charge you more when you pay, without you ever knowing about it.


  1. Keep your windows up. This is very important and take the time to thoroughly read this. Windows up create better aerodynamics, plus do one other great thing, stop you from breathing in all the particulates from the vehicles around you.   Did you know that one of the dirtiest places in the City of Los Angeles is the freeway.  Any lane, any time of day. This is an indisputable fact.  Having the window down not only safes you fuel at the pump, but helps promote better health.  Use your air conditioning if it’s a bit warm, your car is not effected , like you would think, by utilizing  the air conditioning, if your car is in good tune.  It might cost you 1mpg.  We think it’s worth it !


  1. Scheduled maintenance. Yes, scheduled maintenance can be expensive. While you might think it’s avoidable or postponable, it’s really not. A car in tune always runs at a more optimal level then a car in lesser tune.  By tune we mean all aspects of a cars service.   From oil changes, to belt tightening, tire rotation, filter cleaning or replacement, spark plug service, brake pad replacement, lubrications, transmission service, even cabin filters.  It all adds up to a more efficient vehicle.   In addition, if some aspects of scheduled maintenance  is postponed or skipped, you may either void your warranty or cause unexpected and avoidable damage to you drivetrain. Costing you more money then what the scheduled service would’ve cost you.   This especially goes for vehicles that you count on everyday.   Save money and save time, do you scheduled maintenance.  Here’s two other tips, newer cars can go, on average, 10,000 miles between oil changes, not requiring any service at all between the 10,000 miles.  That’s convenience and cost savings.  One other tip is this, if your buying a more fuel efficient car check the “maintenance included” plans.   This plan dismisses any charge to you for scheduled maintenance.  That can cost you a small bundle.  One visitor wrote us; “ We were shocked at how much it cost to service the transmission of our older Audi diesel, the twin clutch transmission (DSG) cost us $575.00 at 70,000 miles. The service for the car totaled $1,1050 for the total 70,000 mile service”.  We want everyone that reads this article to understand that new car purchases that include scheduled maintenance programs are a very good thing.  The scheduled maintenance is inevitable, why not buy a car that includes it or one that can be negotiated at the time purchase (or lease),  so you can evaluate the true cost of ownership, up front, and make decisions from an informed perspective, with no surprises after you leave the dealership.


  1. Anticipate stop signs and lights. You know they’re out there, they’re inevitable, by planning ahead as your drive, saves you excessive brake wear and saves you fuel, by chopping the throttle early you inevitable save more fuel. Remember the Prius and the BMW M3 at the top of this article??


  1. Brake Service, pad wear, rotor service, overheated brakes and glazing. It saves you money to be on time when it comes to break service or at the first sign of brake pad fatigue.  If you service you brakes late (replacing brake pads), you may of already affected your rotor.  Add the cost of rotors or the trueing of them to your wallet.  Brake pads that are changed before you have pad fatigue is the best way to go.   What happens is that your tired old pads allow for metal to metal contact (if worn enough) and that affects your rotors, causing to have a shorter useful life then what their capable of.   Failure to provide good general brake maintenance  actually includes your driving habits too


When brake pad compounds overheat beyond the operating temperature, typically by aggressive usage, heavy and hard braking or poor bed- in procedures of your new brake pads, the components crystalize on the surface.  The term glazed is utilized because the brake pad surface will look smooth and shinny.  Once a brake pad is glazed it cannot be repaired, it must be replaced.  This type of damage is not covered by any warranty and must be addressed, because your rotors will be affected real quick. Rotors are important and need attention.   A warped rotor, that sometimes is not that noticeable, can lower your mpg’s. Warped brake rotors are caused by overheating the  rotors, resulting from a distortion of the cast iron.    The primary symptom of warped  rotors is a pulsing sensation in the pedal when braking.  If the symptoms are felt, by shaking or vibrating  in the steering wheel, at the time of braking  that is typical of a different sort of problem, Brake Judder.   Please check with a mechanic as soon as possible if this is happening.  For the pulsing pedal please service immediately as well, you’re probably due for a rotor change.  Worn, warped or damaged rotors can be less effective when braking, placing you in an immediate safety hazard.  Be sensible with your brakes and brake maintenance!

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