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Six Easy Ways to Get Better Gas Mileage
Detroit, MI | High prices at the pumps are here to stay. Gone are the days when the cost of a barrel of oil was tempered by America's modest driving habits. Now that the evil empires of China and Russia are guzzling a disproportionate share of our precious go-juice, the best we can do is tighten our belts and try to squeeze every last mile out of our tanks.
As the peak summer travel season approaches, here are a few simple suggestions to improve your fuel economy and give those Arab oil sheiks a swift kick in the pants:
Properly Inflated Tires
According to an exercise at Carnegie Mellon University, only 1 in 81 cars has the recommended air pressure in all four tires. Keep an accurate tire pressure gauge in your glove box (many gas station gauges give false readings) and check your pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold.
Average savings: 3%
Tailgating NASCAR Style
This is a little secret race car drivers have known about for years. Cruising just a few inches away from the car directly in front of you cuts down on wind resistance ("drag"). The front car pushes aside most of the air and your engine doesn't have to work as hard. Plus you actually help the car in front because two vehicles moving together create less total resistance than one vehicle running alone.
Average savings: 16%
The Brick Trick
Critical water shortages were permanently averted years ago by the simple act of dropping a brick down everyone's toilet tank. So why not get the same results in your car with a bucket full of gravel or decorative aquarium sand? Less money down your tank means more money in your pocket.
Average savings: 21%
It's a simple law of physics: Objects at motion tend to stay at motion. Get your speed up to a few hundred MPH, then switch off the engine and coast a while. You'll get where you're going faster, and you'll be sailing right past that smug prick in the hybrid.
Average savings: 33% to 42% depending on wind direction
This one takes a little advance planning, but the savings can really add up. Always drive downhill. You may not get to work or see your house as often but who cares? You're on Newton's dime now. It won't use any more fuel than a kid sliding down a grassy hill on a sheet of cardboard, and it'll be just as much fun.
Average savings: 54% plus
Cut Their Throats
U.S. oil and auto industry executives (just like the cigarette companies) have known for decades that petroleum is addictive and deadly, but did nothing about it. We're all driving SUVs and luxury pickup trucks because of their greed and shortsightedness. Instead of rewarding the bastards with multi-million dollar bonuses and extravagant perks, we should be murdering them in their sleep.
Average savings: 0% but it'll make us all feel much better about our own stupidity