has a great deal of info on how to drive more efficiently (MPGuino
instrumentation for instantaneous feedback), tips on how to hypermile
some of which are straightforwardly adaptable; and, for trucks, see threads on "aerolids" and other bed covers, factory or diy. A bed tonneau cover, alone, is worth a good percentage. An "aerolid" is a deeply impressive percentage gain.
ScanGaugeII - Trip Computers + Digital Gauges + Scan Tool
MPGuino: Spiffie Kits
MPGuino - EcoModder
In driving for economy there is a fuel deficit for every application of throttle and brakes.
The above site is a nice way to begin to learn to drive for economy. One's overriding assumption about skill should be that the vehicle is better than the driver.
In the above, recall that tire type (tread, first, casing, second) is the main component of rolling resistance which matters most until 50 mph.
After that it is aerodynamics. Should one wish to read on EcoModder be prepared for plenty of discussion on the latter.
Thus the simplest Xmas gift
is still a perfect
FE alignment; having a shop check for brake drag or caliper freeze; highway rib tires (get a tire pressure gauge of sufficient quality to be calibrated Longacre calibrated
) and setting tire pressures according to use, weight, etc.
And check for -- and search out information on -- "dead center" -- steering wander.
I spec'd my truck (in searching for used) specifically for Economy:
longest life at lowest cost-per-mile. Low fuel cost per mile is great, but it's still not the guiding economy
figure. That would be, IMO, annual miles per year as broken out for type of use.
I could not otherwise justify the cost of a diesel pickup (ego aside).
The more the vehicle sits, the better (clean, under cover).
The farther I drive when using it, the better. (Takes 1.5 hours for tire pressure to stabilize at a constant speed, not less, is my understanding; and ALL fluids, greases, etc are not "warmed up" for at least 30-miles. In summer. In Phoenix. This is why commercial use vehicles tend to last so long in some examples).
So to maximize efficiency I need a "trip plan" for any type of driving before turning the key; I need a route which describes a circle (there are online aids to do this when unfamiliar locations abound and one needs a route. Routing software or programs
). Doesn't matter if the wife and I are searching for paint suppliers/samples . . I may be all over town. I don't need to backtrack, I want a nice circular route and I wish to avoid stop-n-go traffic.
(And do all other errands as well. Start early, quit early. Get home).
So, if I :
- eliminate operational cycles,
- and maximize non-stop driving when I do use the vehicle I have minimized the non-paying/non-reimbursable miles per my actual vehicle. And done them at the lowest possible cost.
The bar-none-best-place-to-start is with records. There is no other way of knowing.
AAA Ownership Costs 2010.pdf
One has to understand economy
as cost of operation, of ownership, on a cents-per-mile basis.
Just improving fuel economy is only a few cents per mile, ordinarily, and doesn't come close to finance, depreciation, insurance and other fixed costs. (See also EDMUNDS True Cost of Ownership)
To that end a software program which is designed to record and project costs
-- analysis of trends -- would be a most useful gift.
The average American car is somewhere north of 50 cpm. The latest, loaded Ford diesel is well above 100 cpm . . . .
I must be able to project costs based on total miles and total time the vehicle is owned (and you'll find that -- on a cpm basis -- that anything less than 12-years or 200k miles is ugly. Vehicle type -- assuming it is carefully matched to actual use -- matters little). So, if I project 15-yrs/350k miles on this CTD, I likely need to know when to start replacing components, or, better, systems
(such as HVAC) well before failure in order to maintain reliability; and/or so as not to affect truly expensive components, etc). The Web has made searching for component life wonderfully easy (enthusiast boards).
The occasional high mpg tank isn't any more useful than the lowest . . it is the average
which matters. To that end, one need also know the mph: hourmeter
. For a Cummins powered Dodge, I find that when all tanks are traveled at 27 mph or greater (the average speed), that fuel economy is excellent. (My 90-day trend -- all in town, solo -- is 20.73. For the last 21,000 miles -- again, mainly solo, but lot's of highway -- it is 22.45 mpg with a 7,000-lb diesel. It's irrelevant that my hwy mpg is 24-27).
For the trailer a hubdometer
would be good.
The payback on tuners, chips, and the rest are harder to quantify. There is no free lunch
in altering factory electronic controls or settings. None. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Instead, I'd spend that money on fluids analysis -- trending -- before gimmicks.
is someone I am pleased to recommend. All vehicle fluids can be lab tested, and a series of tests over time can show wear trends and possibly catch problems otherwise leading to early component failure.
There is no end to discussions of this sort on:
(I was an initial participant, but don't much anymore). Good place to learn quite a bit about lubrication, filtering, etc by which even the "knowledgeable" would benefit. Changing fluids at the correct moment beats fluid quality (after an easily reached point) and filters are crucial, far more important than fluids for the average knowledge-seeking enthusiast. (But the threads on oil far outweigh the far more important threads on air filters).
The best tire pressure monitor system would also be very high on the Xmas list, as tire life and fuel economy (as well as avoiding personal & property damages) are large, variable vehicle ownership costs, subject to improvement.
Fuel economy savings -- and tire life costs -- are directly related.
So if you've seen my other posts advocating that a sway-eliminating hitch, and trailer disc brakes, constitute a gold standard
it is not entirely a tongue-in-cheek way of saying that the best hitch rigging/brakes constitutes "best safe practice" (it does), but it also relates, even indirectly, to lowest operating cost while on the road. Fuel economy is nothing more than -- beyond driver skill -- a large collection of vehicle details attended to, upgraded, and kept performing at a high level. The most economical vehicle maintains reliability over the longest time and highest miles at the lowest cost. And that is predicated on low wear per mile . . and, in my words, being able to maintain lane-center under all conditions with the fewest necessary driver inputs. Safety, fuel economy and long life are all intertwined.
A wandering tow rig burns more fuel, is subjected to increased wear per mile, and is, IMO, unacceptable from all aspects.
Initial vehicle specification cannot be overcome, and is the greatest determinant of fuel economy. It has a limit as to lowest costs of operation. Cummins states that, for any given truck under any given conditions that the range between professional
drivers is 30% just in fuel use. So the "money" in re fuel economy is actually between the ears, and not in giving yet more money to strangers for a bandaid that, potentially, can decrease component or vehicle life.
If there's an aftermarket fuel saving device that pays
, it'll be listed here:
That's still the best place on the Web to begin . . . . it is the knowledge of tools and their proper use which constitutes economy.