But when high oil costs are met with a slowing economy, some find themselves unable to afford the upgrade. As a car ages, its engine becomes less efficient and requires greater maintenance and care. Here are some tips on how to keep an old clunker running while saving up for that new hybrid model.
High Mileage Older Cars Rule Road
According to a survey the average age of a car on the road is greater than 9 years, and 68 percent of vehicles have more than 75,000 miles on them. Since a soft economy means Americans are less likely to be able to afford a new fuel-sipper, it’s best to figure out how to reduce gas consumption in an existing vehicle for a while.
Tips for a High Mileage Vehicle’s Best Fuel Efficiency
-Change the oil. Use premium motor oil and change your oil every 3000 miles. Use high mileage oil when appropriate.
-Check tire pressure. Check at least once a month and make sure to balance and rotate often.
-Check fluids regularly. Maintain recommended levels.
-Reduce weight as much as possible in the car. Empty out trash and unnecessary items frequently.
-Roll down windows instead of cranking the A/C when traveling less than 45 miles an hour. When going over 45 mph, it is more gas efficient to use the air conditioning due to air drag.
-Slow down. Studies suggest that peak fuel efficiency is at 50-55 mph. For each 10 mph over this limit, fuel efficiency is reduced by as much as 10%. A slow take-off from stop lights also helps increase fuel economy.
-Turn off the engine. Idling for 60 seconds uses as much fuel as re-starting a car. When idling for longer than 60 seconds, consider a turn-off.
-Drive steady. Constant slow downs and speed-ups reduce fuel economy.
Best High Mileage Cars and Hybrids
For the constant road-tripper or long distance commuter it may be beneficial to scrape together enough money for that new hybrid after all. With gas prices unlikely to go below $3 a gallon for the next several years, a high gas mileage car will probably save the constant traveler more money in the long run. Calculate gas costs and see how money much a higher mileage vehicle could save.
According the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Fuel Economy Guide, the highest gas mileage non-hybrid vehicles are the Toyota Yaris at 29 mpg in the city (35 highway) and the Honda Fit at 27 mpg in the city (34 highway). Toyota and Honda also lead the Hybrid models in fuel efficiency according the EPA’s findings. The Toyota Prius came in at 48 in the city (45 highway) while the Honda Civic Hybrid was measured at 40 in the city (45 highway).
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