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Better Gas Mileage

Frank is a thrifty person. He keeps detailed records of his income and expenses. He only buys things he really needs and uses coupons when he shops. He tries not to overspend. Despite Frank’s best efforts, his cash flow is less this year than last year. The high gas prices have forced him to spend more than he had planned.  

Frank would like to improve his gas mileage. Buying a hybrid or electric car is one option, but not for Frank. He does not have enough money for a down payment, nor does he want to make car payments. Besides, his car is still in good shape.

What are some other gas saving options? Frank decides to check online. He goes to Google and types in “better gas mileage.” There are some helpful tips at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Alerts webpage. Frank reads their “Good, Better, Best: How to Improve Gas Mileage” resource.

There are a variety of suggestions on improving gas mileage while driving and maintaining your car. Frank learns that gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour, so he makes sure to drive within the posted speed limits on the highway.

When Franks waits for a long train, he now turns off his car instead of idling. Idling wastes fuel, which costs money, and pollutes the air. He also removes things promptly from his trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce a car’s fuel economy by up to two percent.

Frank is diligent about car maintenance. The engine, tires, and air filters are checked regularly. Tuning a car engine according to the owner’s manual can increase gas mileage by an average of four percent. Properly inflated and aligned tires can increase gas mileage up to three percent. Replacing clogged air filters can increase mileage up to ten percent. 

How about at the pump? Frank has often wondered about the high octane fuel. Would it be better for his car? Would it give him better gas mileage? The FTC claims that a higher octane gas offers no benefit. In fact, the FTC says, “Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money.”

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