April 25, 2006


Luther clambers out from under the truck where he was napping to hold forth on the best way to save money on your gasoline bill.

Likewise, Larry Anderson has some tips as well for extending your range--if you have a manual gearbox. Whenever I have driven a stick shift vehicle, I have always short-shifted, mainly out of sheer laziness. Even better is if you can gauge your speed just right and shift without using the clutch. That one takes some practice, and a relatively level road if you don't want to make all sorts of uncomforting transmission noise.

But as Larry notes, engines work most efficiently at wide open throttle with a heavy load, as when you're in a gear too high and it feels like the engine is about to die. You don't want to lug the engine to the point of detonation, but you do get the best mileage when it's about that close to stalling. The second trick is trying to drive as constant a speed as possible--cars only use a few horsepower to maintain their velocity once they're up to cruising speed--it's the accelleration up to that speed that is inefficient. So anticipate stops ahead of time and try to modulate the speed so it's more regular. No blazing starts or front-bumper-grinding stops.

In the end, this is information that's been around for years and years, but we tend to forget about it.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at April 25, 2006 09:51 AM