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Old 05-06-2008, 09:43 AM   #21
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I also heard a radio show talking about hypermiling and am glad to see it addressed here.

Is the maximum PSI printed on the tires themselves an unsafe pressure? Would that PSI cause uneven wear on the tires, does anyone know?
No, the max is okay. It's supposed to be for when you are carrying a heavier load than normal. But, make sure that you fill the tires when they are cold (haven't heated up from driving) or else you will wind up with overinflated tires. If you are at max pressure you will have to recheck and maybe adjust the pressure when the seasons change from hot to cold because you don't want to exceed the maximum. It's when you go past max safe tire pressure that you are going to have problems. Somebody overinflated the tires on my wife's car a while back and I didn't catch it in time to prevent the damage and I had to replace them because they had experienced some severe irregular wear on the tread.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:49 AM   #22
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Hybrids, especially, seem to benefit from blocking the radiator in cold weather, though my guess is that any car would benefit. I haven't done a rigorous comparison, but my mileage this winter seemed to stay in the low 30's vs last winter when they fell into the mid 20's on my Escape hybrid.

I suspect there is significant cooling of the engine from airflow in the engine compartment and over the catalysts. Too lazy to do a thermodynamics study.

Tire pressure is definitely worth watching and can be increased a bit over owner's manual recommendations without getting poor road contact or wear problems.

Just avoiding short trips helps a lot as the engine doesn't run efficiently when it is cold.

My 2 cents.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:02 AM   #23
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And I find it useful to combine errands as much as possible. Being well invested in commodity futures that include oil makes the whole package a little easier to stomach.

I jumped into Vanguard energy a couple of years ago and have watched the 25k smidge double. I wish I would have gone bigger. But, like you, I look at that gain as mitigation of the pump pain. Do you think energy stocks will "pop" one these days (as in bubble)?
Yes. But the big question is when. But isn't that the whole reason for re-balancing your portfolio? My problem, and it sounds like yours too, is that I would prefer to have an even higher percentage in a well diversified commodity fund, so re-balancing some money out of the fund goes counter to my overall objective for now. But of course the risk is there that I may lose the huge runup I've got on paper. You plays your cards and takes your chances I guess.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:07 AM   #24
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I may have to correct myself. I can't find anything that says overinflation causes hydroplaning, but my non-technical feeling is that it should. Back when I had a j*b we would push the envelope pretty hard on driving and I hydroplaned on all four tires several times. There's nothing like going down the interstate sideways at 80, with no steering control, to make you very sensitive to things like tread wear and tire inflation.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:22 AM   #25
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From the Rubber Association, heh...

Rubber Association - Proper Tire Inflation


Quote:
Over-inflation can be a problem too. An over-inflated tire rides on just the centre portion of the tread. The smaller contact area means reduced grip on the road, leading to a harsh ride, handling issues (such as steering and stopping problems) and increased wear on tires and suspension components. Seventeen per cent (17%) of vehicles in Canada have at least one tire that is over-inflated by 20%.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:24 AM   #26
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Bunch of bad ideas in general. Mostly stuff that saves you a few pennies now and costs you more later on.

Many vehicles are designed for a specific tire footprint and inflation rate. Changing that may result in changes to handling and braking. Overinflation wears your tires out in the middle fast while leaving tread unworn on the edges.

Pulse driving wears on a number of driveline components.

Tailgating can get you dead fast. You need to get within 10 feet of the truck in front of you to get a mileage boost. At that speed, you'll need to keep adjusting your speed to avoid crashing into the truck and keeping to within 10 feet. That on-off-on-off the gas can end up costing you mileage.

Eliminating unnecessary trips and driving under 55mph with properly inflated tires, avoiding any leadfooting and observing the traffic ahead of you and modulating speed gently to suit will offer pretty good gas mileage.

I just adopted a great strategy for picking up 7mpg. I started driving our Rav4 as my primary car instead of the Pilot.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:34 AM   #27
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My manufacturer recommends 33psi, but I find I get the best handling at 42psi. I used to always dread having to convince servicepeople that I knew what I was talking about and 42 was the right pressure for my tires, but recently I found a great workaround: I just made my own sticker that says 42psi and stuck that over the manufacturer sticker on the inside of the door and in the glove compartment.

Another thing I do for mileage is get regular alignments. Most people don't know that for $150-$200 you can buy a lifetime 4 wheel alignment warranty for your car. I bring the car in around every 10-15k miles, and every time they find something slightly out of spec. It's a bit of a hassle but also saves on tires because you get full warranty miles out of them.

Drafting? No friggin way.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:48 AM   #28
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B) There is *some* evidence that a car can get slightly better mileage with the higher grade. It's slight enough to make it a bit tough to tell fill-up to fill-up.

C) The higher grade gas tends (I have not checked lately) to be a fixed amount higher (like 10 cents) than lower grade, rather than a % higher - this is important.


So, if you get say, 5% better mpg with high grade (say 21 vs 20), and it is a dime more, that is a wash at $2.00 gas. But, a dime added to $4.00 gas is a smaller % increase in cost, and makes higher grade fuel a good buy.

Even if those numbers are close - it's only about 2% gas price savings. But no risk, no effort.

So, anyone have good figures on premium vs regular mpg and cost delta?


-ERD50
I run a '93 BMW525it - station wagon - as a work truck for the rentals. It has an automatic and is loaded with supplies, making it pretty uninspiring to drive. It also has knock sensors, so can use regular gas, though premium is recommended. Premium continues to be $.20 more than regular, though the cost of both has gone up a buck. The price difference has shrunk a bunch as a percentage. Bought an engine performance chip from a respected maker (Mark DaSylva) and now must use premium. I now use about 20 gallons less gas/year, though that gas costs me about $91.60 more. So the chip, aside from it's purchase price, costs me about $20 extra/year figuring $3.60/gallon gas over my 11,000 mile/year average use.

My smile-age is way up though, and i consider the chip to have been one of the best things done for the car. Performance is much improved at all RPM ranges.

Also run the tires with several pounds more pressure (check your manual for suggested loaded pressures).
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:55 AM   #29
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Re drafting behind a semi on the highway--wouldn't that hurt the semi's MPG to be pulling you along? I could see some sudden stops on the truckdriver's part to deal with that problem....
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:00 AM   #30
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Re drafting behind a semi on the highway--wouldn't that hurt the semi's MPG to be pulling you along? I could see some sudden stops on the truckdriver's part to deal with that problem....
No, because you are in the air the semi already cleared. (which is a super simple explanation)

Thats the problem sudden stops.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:01 AM   #31
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Tailgating can get you dead fast. You need to get within 10 feet of the truck in front of you to get a mileage boost.
The tests I saw and from what I have seen there is a noticable benefit to following a semi as far as 20 car lengths. True, the most benefit is at 10 feet, but I agree with you on that, it would be crazy.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:35 AM   #32
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No, because you are in the air the semi already cleared. (which is a super simple explanation)

Thats the problem sudden stops.
Ahh, I see--thanks. I was misunderstanding.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:42 AM   #33
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I find the biggest single helper is to use a light foot on the accelerator and brake.
So right you are Zathras.

DW's car has a trip computer that gives a direct readout of fuel mileage. It's amazing what just a little restraint on the accelerator yields in fuel savings. Even at highway speeds small changes can save big bucks over the life of a tank of gas. I've found I can easily beat the cruise control, especially when you encounter long grades. Letting the car slow down just a little till you top the hill really saves gas. Easing off the gas on the way down a hill instead of picking up speed by driving down the hill adds up too.

I like to avoid the packs of cars on the Interstates that require frequent speed changes too.

I always like to drive like there's a raw egg between my foot and the accelerator. Easy does it. And learn to anticipate road conditions ahead and make small changes in speed to avoid using the brakes.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:59 AM   #34
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No, because you are in the air the semi already cleared. (which is a super simple explanation)

Thats the problem sudden stops.
This was a Car Talk question this week! They agreed with you.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:11 PM   #35
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This was a Car Talk question this week! They agreed with you.
Im qualified. I watch Nascar
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:13 PM   #36
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But you have to be going 180mph to draft off a car.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:14 PM   #37
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Okay, let's consider run the numbers:
  • Savings achieved through better mileage: variable, but let's say an average of $200 annually multiplied by, say, three years (before an accident happens);
  • Cost of destroying your vehicle in a rear-end collision: variable, but let's say an average of $15,000 (only incurred once in a lifetime);
  • Cost of funeral expenses due to being killed in said rear-end collision: variable, but let's say an average of $10,000.
So, CBA suggests the potential direct financial costs ($25,000) outweigh the potential financial benefits ($600). And that's not even considering the non-financial costs, or the indirect financial costs.

No thanks!
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:19 PM   #38
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Need to setup those computer controlled cars for highway driving. That way traffic would be smoother. Drafting would be possible. Less traffic jams would increase mpg.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:22 PM   #39
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Seems theres some misinformation on octane being thrown around.

Higher octane fuel has less total energy than lower octane fuel. It is not a "better" product, with a set of engine parameters it will produce less HP and lower gas mileage.

What it IS good at is lowering the tendency to detonate prematurely in an engine with higher compression ratios and/or higher heat in the combustion cylinder. That stability is gained through a loss of total energy during combustion.

Some engines will adjust the engine timing to reduce detonation if its detected, so you can use lower octane fuels. The retarded engine timing also reduces mileage and any detonation or knock (which may be undetectable to the ear) can damage pistons and valves.

Its highly advised that you use the fuel octane the manufacturer recommends. This is also a really bad place to try and save some money.

I also see the mileage increasers are recommending a reduced viscosity oil. Unless the engine manufacturer recommends it, I would not use less than a 30 weight oil especially if you operate in a climate over 80 degrees. Engine jobs are a lot more expensive than gas.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:25 PM   #40
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Okay, let's consider run the numbers:
  • Savings achieved through better mileage: variable, but let's say an average of $200 annually multiplied by, say, three years (before an accident happens);
  • Cost of destroying your vehicle in a rear-end collision: variable, but let's say an average of $15,000 (only incurred once in a lifetime);
  • Cost of funeral expenses due to being killed in said rear-end collision: variable, but let's say an average of $10,000.
So, CBA suggests the potential direct financial costs ($25,000) outweigh the potential financial benefits ($600). And that's not even considering the non-financial costs, or the indirect financial costs.

No thanks!
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