Weatherford Democrat

Local News

July 2, 2008

Maintenance key to better gas mileage

AUSTIN — With gasoline prices averaging near $4 a gallon, consumers are looking for ways to make every drop count.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says several common-sense steps will improve gas mileage, and, by extension, the state’s environment, giving Texans a good start to saving before heading out on the road this Fourth of July holiday.

The agency, in a recent release, reports simple maintenance and adherence to speed laws can save the average driver $372 annually.

According to the TCEQ, regularly changing the oil, checking tire pressure, and replacing filters, a car’s emissions are reduced and gas mileage improves up to five percent, saving up to 35 cents per gallon of fuel used.

For example, by driving a well-maintained car with a 13-gallon gas tank, filled-up once a week, consumers could save $4.55 a week, or $237 a year.

By making sure tires are inflated to maximum recommended pressure, not only will tires last longer, they will help deliver better gas mileage, and be safer on the road.

Steve Wabeke, service manager at Durant Toyota, said the TCEQ’s numbers hold true.

“I actually did a little study on my own car,” he said. Wabeke noted he ran his tire pressure at 23 psi, down from the factory-recommended 32 psi.

“It resulted in about an eight percent difference in gas mileage,” he said. “It was pretty significant.”

Clogged air filters cause engines to work harder, requiring more pricey fuel. According to the TCEQ, replacing filters improves your vehicle’s fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. That could add between two and four miles per gallon to most car’s mileage rating.

Wabeke said a dirty air filter may be the most common hindrance to maximized fuel economy.

“You need nice clean air coming into the engine,” he said. “Any kind of restriction makes the engine run rich. That costs you in mileage.”

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