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Archive for the ‘Gas for your car…’ Category

Miles of Smiles Per Gallon

October 22nd, 2014

2015-mitsubishi-mirage

When gas prices hit or exceed $4 per gallon, the cost to fill up my Audi Q7 gets scarily close to $100. I drive to conserve fuel by accelerating slowly, cruising on the highway at about 60-65 miles per hour, and not letting the engine run to warm up the car in the driveway.

At my local Costco this weekend, I pulled up and saw what I thought was a price of $3.94 on the pump’s display. Closer inspection showed a price of $3.44, and I nearly jumped for joy. Fifty cents per gallon, at about 18 gallons, saved a good nine dollars and made me a happy dude.

Gas prices are falling across the country, which is great news for all of us. If you want to save even more at the pump, while driving a brand new car, check this out:

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Don’t Resist: Stop-Start Here to Stay

October 15th, 2014

2014_Chevrolet_Malibu

Do we need stop-start engine technology in this country?

Those of us who continue to drive vehicles powered by fossil fuels need every piece of technology we can get to reduce the amount of fuel we need to fill our tanks.

Stop-start technology works by automatically stopping the engine when a car comes to a complete stop, then starting it again when the brake pedal is released.

The technology has been a success in Europe, where gas prices are exorbitant. As many as 70 percent of cars sold there are equipped with stop-start, compared with just seven percent here. There’s  definitely been a lukewarm acceptance of stop-start in the States, but it’s time we readily embrace it because soon the vast majority of new cars sold here will have it.

Even if the buyer has no idea.

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Saving Fuel: New Car or Just Drive Slower?

August 19th, 2014

Canadian gas prices

Don’t be deceived by the gas signs when traveling abroad.

Gas prices here in the States are about as high as they’ve ever been, hovering just below $4 per gallon in my area. The premium stuff is $3.89 at my corner station.

That makes filling up my SUV a major account drain. In fact, there should probably be men in suits and dark glasses verifying account balances before drivers are allowed to enter a gas station’s general proximity.

Having a rig that gets 20 miles per gallon, tops, is expensive. Unfortunately, it’s also necessary when you have a family of 6 and enjoy adventurous car camping trips in another country.

A Toyota Prius just isn’t going to cut it.

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Are Free Cars On the Horizon?

August 7th, 2014

toyota-fcv-concept

How would you like to have an alternative fuel car?

I know, thoughts of expensive cars that can’t be driven too far from home are flooding your mind. Plus, why pay so much more for an electric or hydrogen car when you can have a traditional car that runs on relatively cheap and widely available gasoline?

Alternative fuel cars can be a tough sell. But what if you could have one for free?

Automotive News has a story about the possibility of Japan offering free hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to its citizens. Could that be what’s needed to convince people to go green?

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Rules for Gas Station Etiquette

April 30th, 2014

gas station pump reach

Gas station etiquette should be discussed more. In an effort to raise awareness for the proper actions to take while filling your car with fuel, I’m having awareness bracelets made.

No. I’m really not.

But I am devoting this blog space today to appropriate gas station decency. Want to get the most out of each trip to the gas station? Want to know how to avoid flaring tempers? Want to know how to handle lines?

Read on, friends.

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Burning Oil in a Brand New Car

April 7th, 2014

oil_level_low_warning

Burning oil in a 1973 Cadillac seems legit.

Drive an old boat like that around for long and you’ll stop at every gas station and put in a quart of oil. Worn engines simply burn and leak oil, often causing heavy smoke and the putrid odor of crusty black tar.

Drivers of those old cars don’t get too angry at the oil consumption because they know it just comes with the territory of having the pleasure of driving a Nixon-era automobile.

A 2013 car should never burn a quart of oil between oil changes.

Right?

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Another Fuel-Efficient Honda Bites the Dust

March 3rd, 2014

Honda Insight

Way back in 1999, Honda released a funky little car with an electric motor, a gas motor and enclosed rear wheels. The Insight was successful as a niche car and gained a cult following, but never had mainstream success and died a quick death.

Just 5 years ago, Honda released a new version of the Insight, built to nearly identical specs as the much more popular Toyota Prius. The Insight took the Prius’ shape, but lacked a certain something we in the car business like to call “fuel economy and performance.”

Honda likes to believe it’s a leader in hybrid technology, but it has trailed the competition since hybrid technology became a thing.

Want proof? The Insight is about to die. Again.

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Bad Gas Mileage or Lack of Common Sense?

January 30th, 2014

2014 Toyota RAV4

I have a family member who doesn’t know anything about cars. I mean that quite literally, so the fact that she routinely sits behind the wheel of one is more than a little frightening.

Allow me to correct myself: This is a person who knows one thing about cars. She knows that they go. She knows how to make them go, how to make them “not go” (her words for stop) and how to get them to go in the general direction of her choosing.

So when this family member asked why her Toyota RAV4 was taking more gas than usual, I didn’t know exactly how to answer or what questions to ask. So I took it step by step.

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America’s New Love Affair with Diesel

January 9th, 2014
A newcomer in the American diesel market

A newcomer in the American diesel market

America, you are finally coming to your senses.

When I first started writing about cars some 6 years ago, I complained that all the good cars were in Europe. The hot hatches, the sporty wagons and, of course, the diesels.

My oh my how times have changed.

I can’t imagine how I would have reacted back then had I read the headlines I saw yesterday. A little disbelief coupled with a huge dose of excitement, I suppose. Yes, I think we can finally admit that the cool cars are indeed in America, because diesels have finally arrived.

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El Diablo: Miata Style

December 23rd, 2013

2001 Mazda Miata MX5

An average car will run a quarter-mile drag race in 15–16 seconds. That’s not a blistering pace, but it’s just enough to give a slight rush while accelerating up an on-ramp before settling into a steady stream of 65-mile-an-hour commuters.

The Mazda Miata, while relatively sporty and fun to drive, typically falls somewhere within that average time in stock, off-the-showroom-floor form. It’s nothing spectacular, and it won’t win many drag races, but the time is good enough to warrant the designation of “sports car.”

Barely.

A quick quarter-mile time in the Miata might fall somewhere in the 11–13-second range. When that stock speed just isn’t fast enough, upgrades can be applied, and the Miata, like any car, can become a drag racer.

An extreme case would be taking a Miata, stripping it completely of its powertrain, and replacing it with a source of power sure to embarrass even the most seasoned of racers.

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