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Unconventional Ways to Improve Fuel Economy (Part 1)

Automotive 2 Comments »

So you've heard about all the conventional ways to improve fuel economy for your car ranging from keeping tires inflated to removing roof racks. So what are the not so conventional ways of improving fuel economy for your fossil fuelled vehicle? Eliminate dust, dirt and grime.

These elements work against your vehicle by reducing the efficiency of the engine. Take for example an engine that is covered in a layer of dust. This dust will impede the engines ability to displace heat and result in the engine having to work harder to try and keep cool. Removing this layer of dust by wiping plastic components with a cloth and mild soap and water solution can help the engine eliminate heat quicker.

Dust, dirt and grime on the exterior of a vehicle can reduce its ability to dissipate heat and in turn cause the vehicle to work harder to keep cool. Also, depending on the amount of dirt on a vehicle this could impact its aerodynamic capability (layers of mud after off roading).

Overall, the presence of dust, dirt and grime on an engine and vehicle exterior will not remove heat as quickly as a clean vehicle. This in turn causes the vehicle to work harder and consume more fuel and potentially wear down the engine oil quicker. So now you have another reason to wash your car - to save fuel!

Article first published as Unconventional Ways to Improve Your Fuel Economy (Part 1) on Technorati.

California Air Resources Board Mandates Tire Pressure Checks

Automotive Comments Off on California Air Resources Board Mandates Tire Pressure Checks

In a wider initiative to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has rolled out mandatory tire pressure check as of September 1, 2010.

This check will be performed and documented by anyone in the auto service/repair business performing services on vehicles weighing less than 10000lbs in the state of California. This will affect quick lubes, dealerships, general mechanic shops and anyone providing a repair to automotive maintenance systems. These shops are required by law to document this process on the invoice and keep it on record for 3 years.

So what does this mean? It means that you as a consumer can rest assured that tires will be checked more accurately using the tire placard and documenting this process will hold shops accountable. For those of you who do not own a post 2007 vehicle with TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) this law will help you to stay inflated, reduce fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gases.

Based on my experience in the quick lube industry, tire pressure checks are part of an oil change package. However, shops may not be calibrating gauges, recording pressures or using the tire placard with manufacturers recommended pressures because it is not the law.

The issue this law creates for service providers is more bureaucracy by having to create specific commentary on invoices around tire pressures and the addition of keeping these records for 3 years. However, keeping these records for any length of time should not be an issue since they should be archived on a database. The real challenge will be ensuring technicians are doing the check accurately.

As a consumer, does this law have a positive or negative impact on you? As a service provider, what negative issues does this law present?

The full text of the law is available in this pdf.

''Tire Placard"

First published on http://technorati.com/lifestyle/green/article/california-air-resources-board-mandates-tire/#ixzz0z9ePpQCN.

Proposed Change to New Car Fuel Economy Labels

Automotive Comments Off on Proposed Change to New Car Fuel Economy Labels

If you’ve ever been shopping for a new vehicle you've probably seen a sticker in the window with the fuel economy rating of the vehicle. Well, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a change to this rating system.

To reflect consumers' needs to purchase vehicles with lower emissions and better fuel economy, the proposal at this point has two options, one of which will be selected based on US resident feedback:

Proposal 1) A letter grade from A+ to D for combined fuel economy and tailpipe emission efficiency

Proposal 2) A MPG rating with tailpipe emission efficiency and comparison to other vehicles on a sliding scale

This proposed new system is clearly a reflection of the need for the government to help consumers reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the greatest source: the burning of fossil fuels.

Personally, having a grading system similar to the one used in schools is something I am familiar with and can easily create an association with. I have a hard time visualizing what 26 MPG means but I do know a B is not a bad score.

Also, as consumers, we want to make the best choices, especially when they are made easy for us. I welcome this proposed change (even though I am in Canada) because it will help to raise the bar for manufacturers to work harder at eliminating D rated vehicles from our roads. I say let’s go one step further and make this information available for used vehicles as well.

The EPA is awaiting your opinion on this topic over the next 60 days at the EPA site.

What do you think about this new proposed system? Will it help you make a better decision when buying a new vehicle?

Article first published as "Proposed Change to New Car Fuel Economy Labels" on http://technorati.com/lifestyle/autos/article/proposed-change-to-new-car-fuel/ Technorati.com."MPG/ Emissions Scale"

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