Tuesday, August 23, 2005

soaring gas prices

Gas prices bring on new ways to cut corners

As she folds clothes at a Laundromat near her home in San Pablo, Calif., Thamara Morales, 30, counts up the ways high gas prices have changed her life.

There are no more pizza outings on Friday nights. "It's cheaper to cook at home," says the $12-an-hour clerical worker and mother of two. read more

I know the gas prices are skyrocketing, but they're nothing compared to Japan's. A liter of gasoline at the cheapest gas station nearby is 123 yen (≈ $4.24 per gallon). Here are my gas-saving driving tips:

  • Do NOT use the brakes. Under most circumstances, the brakes are unnecessary. Make sure you leave a lot of space between you and the car in front of you. Use rolling instead. Only brake when at the stop lights or when there is danger. Get used to looking farther ahead while driving*. Tailgating is for noobs who don't know how to drive.

  • Observe your speedometer, don't exceed half the speed your car can supposedly go. Say, if your speedometer's range is from 0-150 mph, try not to exceed 75mph. The faster you go beyond a certain speed, the more gas your engine burns. There is an optimum speed for each car for better milage turnout. It's usually lower than that midpoint.

  • Windows up, airconditioning off at all time except when moving slower than 35mph (roll down your windows). Air drags are always underestimated. While you're at it, turn off all electronic devices. Radio is OK.

  • Easy right foot. Avoid flooring the acceleration at all cost when possible. Steady acceleration (1/3 into the depression most) and no sudden movements. No redlining! No engine idling! Absolutely no revving, donuts, or burnouts!

  • Drive a stick-shift/manual/standard transmission. Oil-change, rotate the tires regularly. Check all tires' air pressure. The closer it is to the manufacturer's standard (printed on driver's side door on the edge, can be seen while door is open), the better the gas milage.

  • Last but not least, clean up your stupid car and your trunk. Less weight equals less gas!

*In the olden days when car brakes technology was horrible, there were better drivers beacuse the average brake distance was so bad it took 1/16 of a mile (≈100m) to go from top speed to a complete stop. Now if that doesn't make you vigilant I don't know what would. I once drove all the way from Boston to New York City (215.9 miles) on the expressway braking only a handful of times (more than five less than 10). Once into the city though it's a different story.

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