Royal Floor Sweeper
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: The Sticks, South Carolina
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Re: Ways to improve gas mileage
Drag is something that becomes more significant w/ greater speed.
Up to a point, the overall aerodynamic drag of the design makes the only significant difference. Around 70 or 80 (or so) other smaller stuff comes into play, like windows open/closed, roof racks, and large stuff. Closer to 100-120, small stuff comes into play.
Unless you are running well over 80 on a regular basis, a somewhat dirty exterior isn't that relevant (any aero advantage is too small to matter). It does matter at higher speeds, but I doubt it is significant at speeds I drive.
The biggest factor for mileage is RPMs and how the driver uses them. I drive fairly aggressive, but get decent mileage for my terrain. One advantage is that I drive on steady speed country roads too, so traffic is only an issue w/in towns (but is BAD in the town where my kids have school/daycare). Most of the cruising MPG issue in my area is hills, of which there are a plethora- literally, they are everywhere. Going up them hurts mileage as I don't pick up enough speed (speed limits) to coast up the other side. So, it isn't nearly as good as flatlanders inherently have for mileage.
A much more significant factor right now is all the ethanol fuel companies are putting in their gas. A local report found one station (a Shell) using 40% Ethanol in regular gas. That will cost more mileage than anything my foot does (short of racing my box).
Right now, the most significant factors in fuel economy:
- Fuel composition (moonshine is for drinking and is NOT good for our engines, nor efficient)
- Driver's use of gas/brake pedals
- Terrain (the flatter the more efficient)
- Tire pressure is w/in correct range (not under or over inflated)
- Maintenance, fluids all moving efficiently w/in the engine, tranny, and so forth
- Reduce overall weight in your car/vehicle (if carrying a lot of extra crap, put on level w/ terrain)
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