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Ways to increase fuel economy

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High fuel prices are a constant source of stress and frustration for car owners. But there are several tried-and-tested steps motorists can take squeeze more mileage out of every liter of fuel they purchase.

One is to gas up with fuel products that have properties that help improve the fuel economy of a vehicle. Take for instance the fuels offered by the local independent oil company Phoenix Petroleum. These fuels are powered by the proprietary Phoenix PULSE Technology, an additive with advanced cleaning and protection properties for enhanced power and acceleration.

Launched early last year, Phoenix PULSE Technology provides a number of benefits. It prevents fuel filter blockage in vehicles running on diesel and removes deposits from fuel injectors, valves, and piston surfaces. It also helps protect the engine. And perhaps more important, it increases a vehicle’s fuel economy when used continuously.

“We enhanced our fuel products and improved our formulation… to be able to… add value to every peso fueled up at Phoenix,” Henry Fadullon, chief operating officer of Phoenix Petroleum, said in a statement.

Car owners will also benefit from replacing worn-out spark plugs, devices that produce electrical spark that makes the fuel burn. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a US-based nonprofit, estimates in one of the articles posted on its Web site that a misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.

A Reader’s Digest article explains, “If your 160,000-km spark plugs have 130,000 km on them, they’re 80% worn. Misfires and incomplete combustion occur more frequently during that last 32,000 km, costing you hundreds of dollars in wasted fuel” — or, in the case of drivers here, thousands of pesos.




“Even if you have to replace the plugs one extra time over the life of your car, you’ll still come out way ahead. And don’t automatically assume your plugs are good for 160,000 km. Many four-cylinder engines require new spark plugs at either 50,000- or 100,000-km intervals,” the article continues.

Don’t forget the tires; keep them inflated to the right pressure. According to an article on fueleconomy.gov, the official US government source for fuel economy information, under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by roughly 0.2% for every 1 psi (pound per square inch) drop in the average pressure of all tires.

“You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average — up to 3% in some cases — by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure,” the agency says, adding that the proper tire pressure for a specific vehicle can be found on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb or the glove box and in the manual that comes with the vehicle. But it doesn’t recommend using the maximum pressure indicated on the tire’s sidewall.

Achieving higher fuel economy entails a practice as simple as not overloading the car. “An additional 100 pounds in your car can reduce gas mileage by up to 2%. The reduction is relative to the vehicle’s weight: smaller vehicles are more affected by increased weight than larger ones. For every 100 pounds in extra weight, plan on spending up to six cents more per gallon,” an article on Investopedia, an online source of content relating primarily to finance, says.

Turning off the car’s engine instead of idling can also increase fuel economy. “Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine,” Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a US-based nonprofit, says. “An idling car uses between 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel an hour. An idling diesel truck burns approximately one gallon of fuel an hour.”

Avoiding idling has another benefit: it helps keep the air clean. EDF says for every 10 minutes that an engine is off, approximately one pound of carbon dioxide is stopped from getting released into the atmosphere.

Finally, slow down. According to a guide available on fueleconomy.gov, aggressive driving — which includes the acts of speeding, rapid acceleration and rapid braking — can lower gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds, and by 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic. “Driver feedback devices can help you drive more efficiently, improving fuel economy by up to 10%,” the guide says.

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