• Mar 31, 2008
These days it seems more common to overhear comments about a particular car's appalling fuel economy than idle chatter about the weather, which makes sense when a gallon of gas costs as much as a cheap umbrella. For instance, just the other day there was some guy going on about how his car was getting 3 mpg less than just a few months ago and had no idea why. That is until it was pointed out to him that his car's adjustable luggage rack was in its full, upright position, giving his car the aerodynamic efficiency of a cinder block.

That's just one of the points Forbes includes on its list of things to do so you can drive green without buying a new car. Improving your gas-guzzling vehicle's sleekness by losing that luggage rack, ditching that inefficient and egregiously ugly three-foot-tall spoiler and quit sticking your hand out the window are all little things that add up to an appreciable difference at the pump.

Most of the advice is common sense we've all heard before, but Sebastian Blanco, editor of AutoblogGreen, offered a novel suggestion for the list. Reduce your car's weight by only filling up half the tank. One gallon of gasoline can weigh as much as 6.5 lbs. On a 2008 Ford Escape, a half a tank of gas weighs 53 pounds.

Like the Forbes article points out, there's only so much you can do to curb a car's drinking habit, especially if you're driving something like an Escalade. But in smaller, lighter cars, even small steps like this can make a big difference in your fuel bill.

[Source: Forbes.com]


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  • 25 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      just because you have a 4 banger doesn't mean that it automatically gets good gas mileage either. NOTHING will get good mileage if you floor it all the time. I knew a guy with a miata who would always get around 12 mpg because he had to flog that poor engine just to keep up with traffic. Contrast that with the v8 in my slushboxed Marauder. I've gotten 33 mpg out of it, by keeping the tach under 1500 and with no a/c.
        • 6 Years Ago
        oh, 2 people replied to my post, my previous tirade was directed at TMC, not carbonblack, whose comment made more sense than this article.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Uh oh, another load of anecdotal evidence on the internet.

        I'd have to drive WOT in 3rd gear on the highway to get 13 mpg. Or I'd have to be on a track wringing it out good.

        Simply put - to get that sort of mileage, your friends car had something wrong with it. Clogged cat, bad injectors, blown headgasket - something. Miatas do not get 12mpg on a regular basis - especially not on the highway. Not even FI Miatas get 12mpg!

        Get over yourself and maybe listen to those who have (first hand) knowledge about the cars. I am certainly not an "expert" on a lot of things, but I absolutely know my way around the Miata.

        The bottom line is your bud's anecdotal evidence is not nearly a large enough sample size to come to any sort of conclusion, other than he needs to service his car - and soon.
        • 6 Years Ago
        |BS|
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        I know of people who get better than 12 mpg during track days.

        Hell, I get 20+ driving like a complete maniac in my NB. I have seen 33+ driving like a grandma.

        Pick a better example, because unless your friend was driving around with the e-brake on, he/she is full of brown smelly stuff.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think that is why turbos are popular.
        You have the power when you need it (high RPM)
        but when cruising, the turbo isn't pushing much boost, and the engine gets similar economy of an N/A version.

        my 50cc scooter gets about the same economy as my fathers 250cc bike. my scooter is ALWAYS at full throttle. my dad's can just cruise at low RPMS.
        • 6 Years Ago
        uh oh, another internet expert...you want the long, boring version, ok then.

        1. it was his first stick. Im not knocking his driving, he just had just had to redline every time because of how long it took him to shift(Im guessing, we never did fiqure out why he was so slow).
        2. One day he told me he had to stop 4 times for gas on a 250 mile drive(10 gal * 4 stops=40 gallons!!!)oh wait, you're going to come back with a "I only have to put in 9.5544342409 gallons when I stop for gas" so even if he put in 8 gal for 4 stops thats still 32 gallons, which divided 250 is about 8ish. I was shocked in disbelief as you are right now. THATS WHAT HAPPENED

        Now onto more important business...do you really think I came unto this thread and thought "By lying in a comment on autoblog, I WIIILLLL RULLLEE THE WORLD BWAHAHHAHAHA" I have nothing to gain by lying. But one thing you must remember is that there are no absolutes in life, so quit acting like you know everything

        but after all, you did just thward the miatashelloililluminatironpaulCONSPIRACY

      • 6 Years Ago
      "Reduce your car's weight by only filling up half the tank."

      And when the top half of your tank rusts, or for those of us in cold climates, you get water in your gas from condensation, you'll wish you weren't so damn cheap.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LOL. That's too funny.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not only is it funny, but's it the cold hard truth. Seen it happen to a few people
      • 6 Years Ago
      Do smart things:

      Add a tonneau to your truck (yes it works, don't argue with me).

      Use some type of synthetic motor oil. Better protection, and the loger oil life means less environmental clean up.

      Yes, keep you tires aired up.

      Use cruise control whenever feasible.

      Don't use the drivethru..if you are idleing you are getting ZERO mpg.

      Keep your vehicle tuned up, including hoses and vacum lines. A vehicle can EASILY lose 4mpg if there is a vacum leak (been there, done that).

      50 lbs of weight huh? So I'll get better mileage when I'm done with my diet?...not likely.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If anyone thinks 53 lbs is going to make a noticeable difference is kidding themselves. Ambient air temperature will have a larger effect than a half-tank of gas.

      Besides, it's also more "green" to buy a used car over a new car as the used car already has sunk "eco"-costs of manufacturing and transportation.

      Not that any of it really matters because the "man-made global climate change" movement is a farce.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Where's the farce? That it's man made or that climate change is occurring. I get so confused by you deniers saying its fake then saying it's real but you can't say it's man made. Make up your mind. Or just get informed. You might learn no one but deniers are saying it's man made. GCC is about how much effect we are having on the natural climate fluctuations. Only someone who stands to inherit oil money could deny our presence and our activities the last 100 years have had an effect. Some are certainly exagerating the effect, laugh at them, we do too, but the effect is real.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Goober: the ironic part is that I'm actually one of those "science dorks".... a physicist by education and trade.

        And montoym pretty much covered my perspective. Sure, humans emit CO2 in their everyday activities. Sure, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. But I think it is EGOTISTICAL to assert that humans are the primary cause for EVERY SINGLE D*MNED WEATHER EVENT IN THIS WORLD. The climatologists and meteorologists told me it was going to rain on Friday and we didn't get a single drop... so why should I believe that their computer models of the Earth's incredibly complex eco-system have any validity with regard to "global climate change"?

        Beyond that, the Earth is largely self-regulating. At the most we'll just accelerate the change between peaks and valleys, and being the intelligent organisms that we are, we'll find ways to deal with it... without needing taxes, regulations, and governments to inevitably screw things up (as they already have).
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm with you White. I get so sick of these science dorks trying to convince everyone that the earth is warming, buying hybrids is good for the environment, cigarettes kill and man actually landed on the moon. And don't even get me started on that Oswald farce. You guys will buy anything Big Brother tries to sell you.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ jq: The only one I see confused is you. All along the "deniers" I've seen have claimed that the warming that occurs is not solely caused by humans. That's been very consistent with everything I've seen and read. I've never seen claims that climate change does not exist.

        Where the inconsistancy lies from my view is the environmentalists side which started by claiming that humans cause global warming. But then when data comes out that shows that the warming is not really the biggest issue and may be slowing, then the mantra changed to "humans cause global climate change" rather than "global warming". Plus, that allows them to blame humans for either event regardless of the true cause.

        From my side of it(call me a denier or whatever), I believe 100% that the Earth's climate changes. It warms, it cools, it rains, it snows, it hails, wind blows, droughts happens, floods happen etc. All of this is going to happen with or without us(cue the U2).

        I do feel that CO2 is characterized as far, far more problematic than it really is. Water vapor from the oceans plays a larger role in our climate than CO2, by a large part. Not to mention the pollution that the Earth spews unto itself. Volcanoes emit huge amounts of toxins and soot into the air all the time. The ocean floors leak oil into our oceans in larger amounts than any of our human-caused oil spills on a yearly basis.

        Also, the Sun happens to play a huge role as well and I'm unaware of anything we've done that has changed it. It also happens to have it's own cycles as well and is currently in a warmer period. Find a timeline that overlays both the temperatures on Earth and the cycles of the Sun and there "will" be an uncanny similarity between the Earth's temperature and the warming and cooling cycles of the Sun, irregardless of CO2 levels and anything else. I guess I'm one of the few who is not surprised that something millions of times larger(the Sun) than us(Earth) might actually play a larger role than we give it credit for.

        Additionally, all of us humans could die off tomorrow and the Earth would continue to have warming and cooling cycles, just as it did for billions of years before we came along. Our Earth is a far more remarkable planet than many people realize and it's ability to adapt and change is amazing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Filling your tank halfway only makes sense for someone who values his/her time at $0. Let's see, I make about $50 an hour, so even a very conservative 10-minute fillup time (assuming no lines) will cost me an additional $8.33 per tank of gas. And let's face it, an awful lot of us fill up our tanks on the way to or from work. Will I save $8.33 (2.5 gallons of gas) per tank by reducing the weight of my vehicle 50 lbs? I seriously doubt it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "How much did this reply cost you?"

        Ha ha !
      • 6 Years Ago
      Keep your tires air pressure full and even. Better mileage and your tires last longer, which are a pain to dispose of environmentally. Im amazed how many cars I see with low tires.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Filling up on less gas means more stops at the gas station which means more braking, and more braking hurts fuel economy as well. I say help reduce the weight of your car by not braking for that burger.
      Michael
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hand out the window ? lolol
      • 6 Years Ago
      So... the moral of the story is to install a full-carbon body and racing buckets on whatever car you buy.

      There- you've just saved several hundred pounds!
      • 6 Years Ago
      cool
      • 6 Years Ago
      So sticking my hand out the window while driving is going to elicit dirty looks from the sanctimonious gas bag set? I'm not sure if I should be annoyed or delighted.
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