Tag Archives: gas mileage

Smart Driving Could Save $100 a Month at the Pump

Elizabeth City, NC – With the official start of the summer driving season fast approaching, Performance Chevrolet is reminding Elizabeth City residents of some easy ways to maintain their vehicles and drive smarter to help improve fuel economy and save money at the pump.

To demonstrate 10 common mistakes drivers make that affect their fuel economy, Chevrolet and Performance Chevrolet recently drove two identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs, which the EPA estimates get 24 mpg city, and 36 mpg highway. For the route, they drove both cars for 20 minutes, including city and highway driving, as well as a coffee stop.

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The results show that sweating the small stuff could save drivers as much as $100 a month in fuel costs. Driver A averaged 37 miles per gallon using efficient driving habits in a properly maintained Cruze. Driving inefficiently and ignoring common maintenance, Driver B managed only 21 miles per gallon. The difference means Driver B would get 250 fewer miles per tank of gas, while Driver A would save $100 a month – or $1,200 a year – assuming 15,000 miles and $4 a gallon for gas:

Driver A 37 mpg 575 mi per tank $1,621per year
Driver B 21 mpg 325 mi per tank $2,857 per year
Savings 40 percent 250 mi per tank $1,236 per year

“Our customers are always looking for ways that they can improve their fuel economy, and the first thing we tell them is that a well-maintained car and efficient driving habits can help you get up to 25 percent more miles per gallon,” said Trey Colbert of Perry Auto Group. “Customers are always shocked to find out that bad driving habits and a poorly maintained car can mean fuel economy 50 percent below their vehicle’s EPA-estimated average.” 

Five Driving Tips to Save at the Pump

Here are five things Driver A did to drive more efficiently in her Cruze:

  1. Get out of the drive-through lane. “While (Driver B) waited in the drive-through with her car running, I shut off the engine and went inside for my morning coffee. Idling for 15 minutes burns through an average of a quarter of a gallon – adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.”
  2. Take it easy. “In the city, I accelerated smoothly while (Driver B) demonstrated one of the most common mistakes we see on the road, jumping on the gas at every light, only to hit the brakes as she caught up with the traffic ahead. Such aggressive driving isn’t going to get you home any faster, while driving smoothly can improve your mileage by 20 percent.”
  3. Driving 70, not 80. “On the highway, I drove 70, compared to (Driver B’s) 80. Again, a 10-mph difference likely won’t add much time to your daily commute, but it will save you up to four miles per gallon on the highway.”
  4. Use cruise control. “I tried to maintain a constant speed during our drive, while (Driver B’s) fluctuated with traffic. Try using cruise control when possible, and maintaining a constant speed over time, which is much more efficient than speeding up and slowing down over and over again.”
  5. Roll up the windows. “One of the most common questions we get is ‘is it better to drive with the A/C on, or off?’ At slower speeds, turning off the air conditioning can save you a little, but I always roll up the windows on the highway. (Driver B) was driving with her windows down, and the increased air pressure acted like a parachute trying to slow her down – consuming much more energy than air conditioning ever will.”

Five Vehicle Mistakes That Hurt MPG:

Here are things that contributed to Driver B’s poor fuel economy:

  1. Low tire pressure. “All four tires on my car were five pounds under their recommended air pressure. That’s not enough to change how the Cruze drives, but it does make the engine work much harder to turn the wheels. Check your tires at least once a month, as a tire that is 10 pounds under pressure can cut your fuel efficiency by more than 3 percent.”
  2. Using roof ornaments. “To show support for my favorite sports team, I put up window flags on my Cruze for every home game. But when the team is on the road, the flags will come down. At highway speeds, up to a third of your fuel is used to overcome wind resistance, so even small changes to your vehicle’s aerodynamics will have a big impact on fuel economy. “
  3. Carrying extra junk in the trunk. “I had six bags of water-softener salt I bought on sale at the hardware store in the trunk. But according to EPA estimates, every 100 pounds of weight can reduce fuel economy by 2 percent. While I saved at the checkout, that 240 pounds of salt added almost 5 percent to my fuel costs for the trip.”
  4. Ignoring the “check engine” light. “I called OnStar to run a remote diagnostics check on my Cruze, because the check engine light was on. Turns out the light was on because the gas cap was loose. More serious engine problems can cut your fuel economy by up to 40 percent.”
  5. Not bundling errands. “An engine at operating temperature is up to 50 percent more efficient than a cold engine. So when possible, it’s much better to run five errands in an afternoon than running one errand every day of the week.

Regular Vehicle Maintenance Tips That Can Save Money in the Long-run:

  1. Make your tires last. Properly inflated tires will improve your fuel economy, and they will last longer. Also rotate tires at manufacturer-recommended intervals.
  2. Use the recommended grade of motor oil. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the performance symbol of the American Petroleum Institute contains friction-reducing additives that can improve fuel economy.
  3. Check your owner’s manual for the most effective octane level for your car. For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. In most cases, using a higher-than-recommended octane gas offers no benefit – and costs more.
  4. Batteries can make or break you. Check battery life, replace or charge your current battery and make sure battery cables are free of corrosion. Many breakdowns occur because batteries aren’t delivering full cranking power.
  5. Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks. According to the EPA, tune-ups improve performance as well as gas mileage. Check your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules and follow them. This will avoid fuel economy problems due to worn spark plugs, dragging brakes, low transmission fluid, or the transmission failing to go into high gear.
  6. Be skeptical about any gizmo that promises to improve your gas mileage. The EPA has tested supposed gas-saving devices – including “mixture enhancers” and fuel line magnets – and found that very few provided any fuel economy benefits. The devices that did work provided only a slight improvement in gas mileage. In fact, some products may damage your car’s engine or cause a substantial increase in exhaust emissions. For a full list of tested products, visit www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/reports.htm.

If you would like to know more about saving money at the pump contact us on our website at www.perryautogroup.com or just stop by our store and we will be happy to field any questions you might have.

Performance Chevrolet is proud to serve the auto dealership needs of cities such as Elizabeth City, Edenton, Hertford, Currituck, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Moyock, South Mills, Camden, Williamston, Ahoskie, Chesapeake, Columbia, Shiloh, Virginia Beach, Norfolk and counties that include Dare, Chowan, Perquimans and Pasquotank in North Carolina and Virginia. We provide exceptional customer service, a warm and friendly environment, auto financing options to fit your budget, and an inventory of great new and used cars, trucks, SUV’s and crossovers. Our ASE Certified Service Technicians at the Performance Chevrolet Service Center service and repair all makes and models both foreign and domestic. Call us at (252) 338-9100 or stop in at 1005 W. Ehringhaus St, Elizabeth City, NC, 27909 and check out our great GM inventory.

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Tune Up, Slow Down and Unpack to Squeeze Extra MPG

“Although Chevrolet vehicles are engineered with efficient, fuel-saving technologies, it still takes maintenance to ensure your vehicle performs as efficiently as it did when it left the factory,” said Roger Clark, General Motors Energy Center senior manager. “Drivers can improve their own fuel economy for free by making some very minor behavior changes.”

Here are a dozen tips for fuel savings from Chevrolet Certified Service:

Tune Up: A properly tuned engine can improve fuel economy about 4 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fixing a serious issue – such as faulty oxygen sensor – can boost mileage up to 40 percent. And don’t ignore a service-engine-soon light.

Pump Up: Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. Under-inflated tires can lower fuel economy by 0.3 percent for every one pound-per-square-inch drop in the pressure of all four tires. Do not rely solely on the tire pressure monitoring system to detect an under-inflated tire – it’s best to check tires with a good gauge once a month and check your owner’s manual for more information.

Unpack: Carrying unneeded cargo makes your vehicle work harder and use more gas. The EPA says an extra 100 pounds reduces fuel economy up to 2 percent – even more in smaller vehicles. A loaded roof rack cuts fuel economy by up to 5 percent. About a quarter of each gallon of gas goes toward overcoming wind resistance, so when cargo rides on top of the vehicle, fuel economy is reduced. Even empty ski/snowboard and bike racks can affect aerodynamics, so remove them when the seasons are over.

Slow Down: While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph, according to the EPA. Every 5 mph over 60 mph is like adding an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas.

Avoid Idling: A car gets 0 mpg when the engine is idling: While it does take a small amount of fuel to restart a vehicle, 15 minutes in the drive-through can burn through a quarter of a gallon of fuel. So that dollar menu is more like a $2 menu.

Chill Out: Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in city driving.

Put it in Overdrive: Using an overdrive gear on the highway reduces engine speed, saving both fuel and engine wear.

Roll ‘Em Down Around Town: Air conditioning reduces fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. Avoid using the air conditioner by rolling down the windows at speeds below 40 mph. At speeds above 45 mph, wind drag uses more fuel than running the A/C.

Unclog: It’s hard to run if you can’t breathe. Older cars without fuel injection and computer-controlled technology can lose 14 percent of their fuel economy because of a dirt-clogged air filter, which also can damage the engine. A clean air filter improves acceleration. An air filter full of dirt makes the engine work harder and can let in impurities that damage the engine. Replacing a severely plugged filter improves fuel economy by up to 14 percent, according to the EPA. In modern cars, replacing a dirty or clogged air filter improves acceleration performance.

Use the Right Oil: Because oil reduces engine friction and friction makes an engine work harder, using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil improves fuel economy by 1 percent to 2 percent. Plan your Trips: Taking your kids to soccer or swim classes? Grocery shopping? Plan routes and timing to avoid heavy periods of traffic congestion.

Cap Check: Loose or poorly fitting gas gaps not only can trigger a “check engine light” warning, they send 147 million gallons of gasoline into the air as vapor every year, according to a report by the Discovery Channel. A missing or poorly fitting cap can reduce fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent. Want more tips? Check with your local Chevrolet Certified Service technician.

About Chevrolet: Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free” solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.driveperry.com

Come by and visit our Service Department at Performance Chevrolet. Located at: 1005 W Ehringhaus St., Elizabeth City, NC 27909
(252) 338-9100
 
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