2010-07-16

Volvo FH16

The Volvo FH16 is the world's most powerful production assembly line truck, boasting 700 horsepower. And it achieves all that power while meeting strict engine emissions requirements. It gets 7 MPG or uses 14.3 GPHM ( gallons per hundred miles). That means it only guzzles about twice the gas of a large SUV like a Hummer H2, but it is far, far more capable as a prime mover than a mere SUV. The FH16 really gets remarkable fuel economy for the loads it can haul. Saving on gas while getting the job done ... way to go Volvo!

One trucker who works on the demanding, hilly Norwegian west coast reports that the Volvo FH16 saves him 5 liters every 100km even though he he has to drive kilometre-long gradients of between 6 and 10 per cent.



Like spending your hard earned money on gas? Us neither, make sure to read tomorrow's post on Save on Gas.

2010-07-15

Fuel Efficient Driving Tips from a Trucker

Truckers know how to drive fuel efficiently. The trucking industry depends on minimizing fuel costs for generation of competitive advantage. We can all learn to save on gas by picking up a tip or two from the truckers!



Think that 7 mpg is good fuel economy? Maybe when you are hauling 50 tons. Tomorrow's post has information on the Volvo FH16-700, a powerful truck with the I-shift transmission that you saw in today's video.

2010-07-14

Terminator Urges Detroit to Embrace Fuel Economy

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the current governor of California, urges Detroit to concentrate more on fuel efficiency.



If you like foreign films or want to find out how to harness your vehicle's force to Save on Gas make sure to read tomorrow's post.

2010-07-13

Vehicle Miles Travelled : Pulse of the Nation

Our economy depends on transport and travel. If goods and people do not move, nothing can be done. This is still true even in this era of the Internet. Vehicle miles travelled in a period of time gives the total mileage covered by vehicles. Watching highway vehicle miles travelled is like watching an electrocardiogram ... it lets us see the beating pulse of our nation.



The chart above comes from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. It shows monthly data collected on the total number of miles travelled by all vehicles on US highways.

Notice how every year tends to have a similar shaped down-spike and upper peak. The down spike seems to be in January and February, probably because of winter weather. One interesting thing to notice is that the down spike from 2010 is the lowest in 6 years. Perhaps because everyone is trying to Save on Gas.

Make sure to read tomorrow's blog post to find out what advice the Governor of California has for Detroit.

2010-07-12

Follow Oil from Well to Tanker

This video shows the path crude oil takes from wells in Ghawar, one of the world's largest oil fields in the desert of Saudi Arabia, to waiting supertankers on the shores. Miles and miles of pipeline crossing empty desert ... and because of that, we have gasoline to move our cars.

2010-07-11

Tour Ghawar, Supergiant Oil Field

Ghawar is a supergiant oil field in Saudi Arabia. Without doubt, it is one of the largest in the world. Take a virtual bird's eye tour of this mighty provider of oil!



So they pull oil out of the ground in oil fields like Ghawar, but what happens next? Find out in tomorrow's Save on Gas post.

2010-07-10

National Gas Situation

The Energy Information Administration publishes data on the nation's supply of gasoline ( and other petroleum products ) and gas price. Keeping an eye on this data can help us gauge the state of the nation's ( and the world's ) gas tank and warn as about impending price rises.

Here is the total supply of gasoline in the nation:


Here is the history of the price of gasoline going back a couple of decades:


You can see the big jump in price since about the year 2000. Relative to about a decade ago, gas now costs three times as much. So on the 10 year time scale we are not doing very well on affordability. The chart of total national gasoline supply shows that over the same decade, levels have held roughly constant. Amounts of stored gasoline seesaw up and down, but if anything have gone slightly up.

The rear view mirror shows us a picture of stable availability but reduced affordability. I wonder if this trend will continue over the next decade? If it does we will soon enter an era in which rich men have all the gas they want and the rest of us just have to do without because we can't afford to buy it.

Have you ever wanted to see where gas comes from? Tomorrow's post will include a photo-montage of Ghawar, a giant oil field that produces 6.25% of the world's petroleum.

2010-07-09

How to Coast Like a Hypermiler

How to coast to save on gas.



Want to save on gas? Make sure to read tommorow's post. As one reader commented "I love your blog; it's like fluff up your popcorn and save on gas!!!"

2010-07-08

Five Hypermiling Techniques Demonstrated

Here are some basic hypermiling techniques you can use.



If you want to save on gas using the car you already own, make sure to read tomorrow's post as it has more in depth information on one aspect of hypermiling: coasting.

2010-07-07

Fuel Economy Races

Welcome to the races of the future, where it is not speed that counts but efficiency!



In this video they talk about using hypermiling techniques to save on gas. Tomorrow's post has information on 5 hypermiling techniques that will boost your fuel economy. Don't worry, we are not talking about rolling through stop lights drafting behind a semi crazy, but rather techniques that have been endorsed by the AAA as safe and effective. One guy claims that using these 5 easy techniques he can get 46 mpg out of a car that is rated by the EPA at 32 mpg. If you want to find out how to save on gas like that make sure to come back tomorrow.

2010-07-06

Europe Saving on Gas

Economy cars in Europe have long been designed to save on gas as well as being cheaper to buy. When they say economy, they also mean fuel economy!



If you like NASCAR and Formula 1 make sure to come back for tomorrow's post as it will be full of information about economy racing, a new twist on car racing. Imagine a race where the competitors get up to 80 mpg, without a driving a Prius.

2010-07-05

Chevy Cruze : GM Plays Catchup

The new 2011 Chevy Eco Cruze is supposed to get 40 miles per gallon, or 2.5 gallons per hundred miles. That is very good for GM, but compared to Europe and Asia, which have had vehicles with this fuel economy for years, it is still playing catch up.



You want to read tomorrow's blog post if you're planning a trip to Europe. In europe you can rent economy cars that really save on gas.

2010-07-04

Trucking Companies Monitor Idling to Save on Gas

Idling and speeding are two gas burning activities which generate little benefit. Trucking companies have spent decades looking to reduce them. You can save on gas and money too by adopting the habits of the trucking companies ... reduce idling and avoid speeding. You won't miss them and your wallet will thank you!



If you're interested in regular cars that are just a bit more efficient make sure to read tomorrow's post. I will be putting up some information on the Chevy Cruise Eco an the Chevy Cruise RS.

2010-07-03

Idling Burns Gas and Money

Idling burns gas and gets you nowhere. Here are some tips you can use to reduce idling time and save on gas ... and money!

2010-07-02

Personal Transport of the Future

Lugging tons of metal around with us in the form of a car is an incredibly inefficient way of getting around. Future technologies allow the development of very small, lightweight fuel efficient vehicles. Let us not forget that the point of a car is personal mobility. If we can get mobile without all those tons of metal, so much the better!

2010-07-01

Infinitely Variable Geared Transmission

The D Drive is a geared continuously variable transmission. Most continuously variable transmissions use a belt running across two cones. However, a geared transmission can transfer greater torques or loads before slipping. Continuously variable transmissions are important for fuel efficiency because they allow the engine to always operate at its most efficient speed. Then the transmission changes the gearing ratio as needed to run the output shaft ( the wheels ) at the desired speed. If the D Drive can be developed to the point of automobile usage, it could mean a big step forward in vehicle fuel economy. Let us hope the D Drive helps us save on gas in the near future!



If you like emerging high tech solutions make sure to read tomorrow's post. I will be writing about Honda's U3-X, an amazing electric unicycle that makes the Segway look like Granny's walker.

2010-06-30

Put Your Car on a Diet to Save on Gas

Every pound of weight your car's engine has to haul around costs a little bit more gas. The video shows the results of weight reduction on a car's acceleration. You can see the improvement with less weight. The same works for fuel efficiency: with less weight, instead of generating more acceleration, the engine can achieve the same acceleration as before by using less fuel.



Next time I write on this blog I will be talking about infinitely variable geared transmission. Not possible you say? Well then stop by tomorrow and find out about the D drive.

2010-06-29

Carbon Fiber Do It Yourself

Carbon fiber and other composites are lightweight materials which can replace metal in many applications in vehicles. Panels made of carbon fiber are strong while saving on weight. Every extra pound costs the engine a little more gas to haul it around. To many people, carbon fiber seems like an alien technology, beyond the capacity of mere mortals to understand or use. But in fact it is not difficult ... you can make carbon fiber panels at home! This video shows you how.



Lighter cars are more fuel efficient cars, and tomorrow I'll be writing about that. If you like to see real life proof that these strategies to save on gas work be sure to read my blog post tomorrow.

2010-06-28

Compressed Air Powered Vehicles in Development

Compressed air, along with electric and bio-fuel, could be an alternative to gasoline powered transport.



I hope you come back tomorrow as I will be publishing a post that I find really interesting - do it yourself carbon fiber panels, a great project to help lighten your old clunker and save on gas.

2010-06-27

Compressed Air Cars

Compressed air can be used to run a car engine. Of course, although air is free, the energy required to pressurize the air is not free. However, compressed air as a motor fuel allows us to maintain transport without gasoline. The infrastructure to compress the air would replace the petroleum, refining and gasoline distribution infrastructure. Of course, the part at the end of the video where they talk about perpetual motion based on compressed air running a generator which compresses more air is nonsense. Using compressed air to run a compressor will give you less pressurized air than you started with due to inevitable losses.



If you want to see and read more about compressed air cars make sure to stop by Save On Gas again soon. I will be doing another post about these cool alternative fuel cars tomorrow.

2010-06-26

Carpool to Save on Gas

Our nation could use a little more "hypermiling culture" ... the idea that fuel is a valuable resource worth husbanding. Every morning's commute sees many, many single occupant vehicles. Carpooling is a simple way to move more people per gallon of gas burned.



If you're interested in vehicles using alternatives to internal combustion engines make sure to visit Save On Gas tomorrow as I'll be doing a post about compressed air cars.

2010-06-25

Does Avoiding Left Turns Save Gas?

Taking a left turn often means waiting for a light or an opening in oncoming traffic. Time spent with the engine idling means fuel spent. On the other hand, right turns can be made without waiting. A left turn can be replaced by three right turns. Of course, three right turns make the total distance travelled greater. So the question arises: can you save on gas overall by only making right turns? The distance will be greater, but the time spent idling could be lower.

The answer will depend on the vehicle, traffic patterns, type of route and many other things. In particular cases the difference can be measured. The videos below show the Mythbusters television program's experiments on the issue.



2010-06-24

High Speed Rail

High speed rail is a way to move people quickly while saving on gas. In a world with high and rising fuel prices, high speed rail will be a key technology allowing us to afford mobile lifestyles. The problem for the US is that we are falling ever further behind. The US currently has no high speed rail at all. That leaves us vulnerable to higher fuel prices.

2010-06-23

Does Coasting in Neutral Save Gas?

If you are going to slow down for a turn or a stoplight ahead, should you put your transmission in neutral and coast along to a lower speed? Bobby Likis explains that with an automatic transmission, this will use more gas than leaving the car in gear. The reason is because while you are coasting in neutral, the engine is running in idle and receiving fuel to power it. However, if you are coasting in gear, the engine management computer detects that no power is needed and cuts off all fuel to the engine. Engine revolutions are maintained by drawing energy from the rotating wheels and drivetrain ... it is something like the way electric engines can recover energy while braking. Cutting off fuel flow means you will use less gas then letting the engine idle in neutral.

So to save on gas with an automatic transmission, leave the car in gear as you coast to lower speeds.

2010-06-22

Magnetic Gears Reduce Friction

Friction between moving parts in the engine and transmission consumes a considerable percentage of all fuel used by a vehicle. Any technique for reducing this friction gives an increase in fuel economy. Here is a demonstration of two magnetic gears which use magnetic fields to transfer force instead of gear pins in physical contact. Avoiding metal on metal contact leads to much, much less friction in the system. Of course, generating magnetic fields strong enough to support the loads experienced by transmissions in contact with a couple of hundred horsepower engine is more than challenging. But it is always good to keep an eye out for possible future technologies that could help us save on gas.

2010-06-21

Non Circular Gears

When non-circular gears rotate, they can pump fluids because their lobes leave empty volumes within the disk of revolution. A circular gear completely fills its disk of revolution, thus leaving no space for a fluid to enter. As the lobes turn, the hollow volume goes through a revolution as well, carrying along any fluid within. This allows for moving a known amount of fluid per revolution. In this way flow can be easily measured or regulated. Just count or control the number of revolutions and the amount of transferred fluid is known.

2010-06-20

Reversible Fans : Clean Radiators Can Save on Gas

Heavy machinery can guzzle gas. A simple idea for cutting back on their thirst is to keep their radiators clean by reversing the cooling fans to blow any obstructing dust and dirt off. Radiators clogged with dirt will require more work from the fans to force the same amount of cooling air through the engine. Fans working harder means more fuel spent to run those fans. The alternative is to operate the engine without sufficient cooling airflow, but the resulting higher temperatures will reduce equipment life and lead to losses in efficiency, which in turn waste fuel.

By running the air intake fans in reverse for a few moments much of the obstructing material can be removed. A simple but great idea for saving on gas!

2010-06-19

India Rising

As Detroit struggles, automakers elsewhere in the world are rising. Tata Motors is the largest automaker in India. Over the coming decades India, China and other countries will become the dominant forces in the automotive world. Their need for petroleum products will determine the global price and availability of gasoline. The United States will have to adjust itself to the conditions set by their demand. Let us hope that India tries to save on gas! Meanwhile, we can try to insulate ourselves from the impact of rising Indian demand by saving on gas ourselves.

2010-06-18

Vampire Power

Many appliances use electrical power in a standby mode when plugged in, even if they are not being used. This standby mode power drain is costing the United States 4 billion dollars a year, and we are getting nothing in return.

2010-06-17

Where Do We Go From Here?

We are facing a future of persistently high gas prices as the global production of oil cannot keep up with the growing population and industrialization of the world. Where do we go from here?

2010-06-16

OIl Tanker Safety

Canada is considering shutting down a series of coastal lighthouses on their West Coast. Oil tankers pass along this coast, heading to and from Valdez, Alaska. This is of concern because it increases the chance of a tanker accident, leading to an oil spill.

Relating this to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we see that our society is not investing the effort required to keep our petroleum infrastructure healthy and safe. We depend on crude oil for our way of life, but we have to be willing to bear the costs. If we try to duck paying them, one day the bill collector will catch us in the form of a horrible accident. Gas does not come for free. We pay for it at the pump, but there is a whole host of steps it has to go through before arriving at that pump, and as a society we have to pay for those too.

2010-06-15

Electric Police Mobility Vehicle

Public service providers like fire and police need to be mobile. But high gas prices cut into their budgets, especially in times of uncertain economic health. One solution is to use small, energy efficient electric vehicles for local police patrolling. That way, officers can stay mobile and save on gas at the same time.

2010-06-14

Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

You might be able to get a tax credit for having a Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle. A golf cart could even qualify.

2010-06-13

BP Oil Spill

Sometimes you have to look for a way to laugh just so you don't cry.

2010-06-12

Aptera Competes for the X Prize

The Aptera competes for the X Prize - a ten million dollar competition for high fuel efficiency in a production vehicle.

2010-06-11

BP Oil Spill

Here is a parody of the ongoing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The line at the end "they will need us again" holds an important lesson. Our enormous demand for gasoline and oil requires that we look for it and produce it in ever more difficult and inaccessible places. Until we can learn to control our thirst for oil and start saving on gas, disasters like this will keep on happening.

2010-06-10

Pipeline Under Construction

We depend on pipelines to move oil and gas. They are part of the huge but mostly forgotten and invisible infrastructure necessary for us to be able to drive our cars. A salute to the many men and women who work on the pipelines of the world!

2010-06-09

15,000 Miles to the Gallon

Watch this futuristic fuel sipper go!

2010-06-08

Carpooling Website

Here is a video demo of a website based system called Rides Near Me to help people carpool. Carpooling can be a great way to save on gas. One of the biggest obstacles to carpooling is the social networking necessary to find someone to carpool with. Websites like this can help out in this area.

2010-06-07

Know Your Way to Save on Gas

Many drivers burn fuel needlessly becoming lost. Very often, we head towards our destinations without being clear on exactly how to get there. The result is time and fuel spent driving in loops looking for the right route. This lost time and gas can be saved by examining a map or using a GPS mapping device so you can plan out the directions before starting out.

2010-06-06

Gas Mileage vs Tire Size

Does the size of your tires effect your fuel economy? Larger tires have a greater diameter, and so for every revolution your car will be carried farther along the road. However, the larger diameter also means the torque provided by the engine will result in a lower propulsive force. The torque is the product of the tire radius and the force, so with a fixed torque provided by the engine, larger tires lead to smaller forces. With sufficiently large cartoon sized tires, the engine would not be able to even move the vehicle. So large tires may allow the engine to operate at lower RPMs during steady highway cruise, thus saving on gas. But at the same time, whenever you are accelerating the larger sized tires will force the engine to provide more torque then normal, thus forcing it to run at higher RPMs and burn more gas. Thus larger tires might help your fuel economy if you do a lot of highway driving on flat roads at constant speed. But if you are accelerating a lot, for example in city stop and go traffic or travelling on hilly highways you will probably use more gas.

2010-06-05

Maintenance Tips for Motorcycle Owners

Motorcycles can be a great way to save on gas. The vehicle you drive has a very important impact on the amount of fuel you use. A motorcycle will use much less gas than a large car for example. For many purposes, a motorcycle is just as convenient or sometimes even more so than taking a trip in a car.

So for those who have bought a motorcycle to save on gas, here are some tips on how you can keep it in good running shape.

2010-06-04

American Automobile Association Tips to Save on Gas

The AAA has some tips you can use to get better gas mileage.

2010-06-03

Tips to Use Less Gas

Here are some more hypermiling tips.

2010-06-02

Crash Safety Vs Saving on Gas

Generally smaller, lighter vehicles can achieve better fuel economy than larger ones, all else being equal. The same basic physics means that the smaller vehicles will fare worse in crashes, once again all else being equal. That is not to say that small vehicles cannot be made to do well in crashes. Just that a larger vehicle with the same attention invested into crash safety will do better. Likewise, a larger vehicle can be more fuel efficient than a smaller vehicle if the smaller one has not invested the same level of engineering into fuel efficiency. This video explains some of the tradeoffs between crash safety and saving on gas.

Note that one concern is small vehicles colliding with large ones. That is a safety risk factor that will probably go away in the future, as sustained high and rising gas prices push automakers to elevate fuel economy to priority number one. That will likely result in all vehicles eventually being smaller, thus reducing the danger of a minicar colliding with a large SUV sized car. Even should this happen, there will remain the problem of smaller cars having smaller crumple zones, which leads to occupants experiencing higher accelerations in crashes. That is a basic limitation of physics and cannot be overcome.

2010-06-01

Some Basic Hypermiling Tips

Hypermiling is the art of driving in a way that minimizes fuel usage. Your driving habits can have an enormous influence on how much gas you save. At the most basic, hypermiling is about maintaining a steady speed to avoid speed changes ... each time you slow down, you lose all of the kinetic energy stored in the motion of your vehicle, energy which came from burning gas. Note in the video the use of an instrument for showing instantaneous fuel economy. This kind of immediate feedback is a big help in learning to drive so as to save on gas. Without a device like a Scangauge or a built in dashboard fuel economy readout, you really don't know how different driving techniques are changing your fuel usage.

2010-05-31

Gulf Oil Leak + Hurricane = Worse

What could happen if the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout is not stopped before the first hurricane of the year comes through the Gulf?

2010-05-30

Even FOX News Doesn't Trust BP

The ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil blowout disaster has revealed that BP, as a corporation, lacks integrity. Even FOX News does not trust them!

2010-05-29

Nissan Land Glider

Here is a new electric car concept from Nissan - the Land Glider. It is an all electric vehicle. Small and lightweight, it will not waste energy moving around thousands of pounds of metal. Recharging can be done by parking over special plates in the ground. This is the sort of vehicle we need to cope with a future of scarce, high priced gasoline.

2010-05-28

Ethanol Good Enough For the Record

Ethanol is potent enough as a fuel to break records set by gasoline powered engines.

2010-05-27

Where Does Ethanol Come From?

How ethanol is made.

2010-05-26

Emergency Kit

Do you carry an emergency kit with you in your car? You never know when you might run out of gas in the middle of nowhere or have a mechanical breakdown. Here are some items you might consider carrying with you.

2010-05-25

Famous People Use Nitrogen Too

Even television celebrities like Jay Leno use nitrogen in their tires.

2010-05-24

30 Ways to Save on Gas

Here are 30 tips you can use to save on gas and avoid some pain at the pump.

2010-05-23

Roil Platinum for Better Lubrication

Friction between moving parts in engines burns fuel. Generally less friction means you will save on gas. So better lubricants could improve your gas mileage. Roil Platinum is an oil additive which seems to do a pretty good job on fighting friction based on the video below. You might want to try it out and see what happens. You will have to do careful measurements of fuel consumption before and after to be sure. The best is to have a real time fuel consumption gauge, such as the ScanGauge.

2010-05-22

Where Electric Vehicle Batteries Come From

The batteries found in electric vehicles are mainly based on lithium instead of the familiar old lead and sulfuric acid used in gasoline powered cars. The video shows how they are made.

2010-05-21

Electric Cars Are Too Quiet

Unlike conventional combustion engine powered cars, electric cars are almost silent. This is yet another plus of electric vehicles, but it comes with a danger. People may not be aware the car is coming if they do not hear it. One simple solution is to fit the car with a sound system that generates a clearly audible but not loud sound to warn others the electric vehicle is near.

2010-05-20

Prius PHEV Conversion Success

The add-fuel light came on yesterday. So I went another 100 miles before I decided to fill up the tank. Total miles on this tank of gas was 1620 miles. The tank took 9.46 gals to fill. This works out to 171.2mpg


2010-05-19

Driving Habits to Save on Gas

Here are some tips on how you can adjust your driving habits to save on gas.

2010-05-18

Cash for Clunkers Results Analysis

So what was the final result of the Cash for Clunkers program? Here is an analysis.

2010-05-17

Big Crude Tanker Construction Photos

A photo tribute to the huge crude tankers of the world, which keep us in the United States supplied with the gasoline we need to continue driving.

2010-05-16

Oil Tanker Engine Room

The United States imports about 60% of all the oil it consumes, and all except that from Canada and Mexico is waterborne. Here we get a look at the engine room of an oil tanker ... thanks to those huge ship diesels, you can pull into your local gas station and fill up with the gasoline produced from its cargo of crude oil.

2010-05-15

Toyota President Planning for Peak Oil

Toyota is thinking ahead to a future of high gas prices driven by peak oil. That likely means they will be putting an emphasis on producing future models of cars that are very fuel efficient. This is a business model based on reality. On the other hand, here in the United States the big automakers are still having trouble breaking out of a business model based on extracting profits from big, expensive gas guzzlers. The US automakers already had a brush with death and were only saved by government intervention. It looks like they are less prepared for the future than Toyota and other competitors. Will Detroit go the way of the dinosaurs because it could not accept that saving on gas is a good thing?

2010-05-14

Oil Production Trend Not Going Up

It is becoming more and more apparent that the era of ever increasing oil production is over. The world is in a now six year period of flat oil production. This failure to increase production occurs at a time when prices are at unprecedented highs. Here we have the clear signature of peak oil setting in ... it would appear that we are now very near the peak. Prognosis: in the near future global oil production will not be able to hold up, and will actually start to decline. This means we will be forced to save on gas whether we want to or not ... so we would be best off to start learning how to save on gas before we absolutely have to. Like the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.

2010-05-13

Deepwater Horizon Spill

Video of the oil plume escaping from the wreckage of the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. The estimate of 5000 barrels a day escaping into the ocean provided by BP, which also happens to be the corporation responsable, appears to be far too low.

2010-05-12

Gas Cheaper With More Butane

Have you seen cheaper gas in rural areas? Certainly you have heard about summer blend gasoline being more expensive. The common factor influencing both is air pollution. In hot temperatures, gasoline evaporates into the air and creates polluting smog. Gasoline is actually a mixture of many components, some of which are cheaper than others. Some also evaporate more easily. It turns out that butane is one of the cheaper components of gasoline, but it also evaporates easily. Thus to reduce evaporation in the summer heat, the gasoline has to have less butane. But that also means less of one of the cheapest components, which raises the price as well as reducing evaporation.

In congested cities, environmental regulations are often stricter, which implies the gasoline must be more resistant to evaporation. So in cities as in summer, the easy to evaporate but cheap butane must be replaced with something with a higher price.

2010-05-11

Plx Kiwi Gives Feedback to Help Save on Gas

Driving habits are a very major influence on how much gas we use. If you want to improve your fuel burn, it is a big help to be able to see the rate of fuel use in real time. Real time feedback is a great way to learn. The Scangauge is one device which can give you this feedback. The Plx Kiwi, featured in the video, is another.

2010-05-10

ecoRoute Route Planning Aide

Choice of route can save on gas. Shorter paths are generally better than longer paths, but there are complicating factors. For example, a shorter path which has you stuck in stop and go traffic could burn more gas than a somewhat longer route on an open road. Remember that slowing down or stopping only to speed back up again wastes all the kinetic energy which you had to pay for with fuel. There are various route planning programs which can help you deal with these factors. The video introduces one.

2010-05-09

Why Drill in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico?



Why is Big Oil drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico? It is difficult, costly and dangerous, as the ongoing Deepwater Horizon blowout shows. The answer is because there is nowhere else to go. The Energy Information Administration maintains Gulf of Mexico production data, which is shown in the graph above. As you can see, we are currently getting about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day out of the Gulf of Mexico. And if the Gulf were not producing those barrels, they would very likely not be available from somewhere else ... global crude oil production is running full steam. So until we all start to save on gas, there is no choice but to be in the deepwater Gulf.

2010-05-08

Deepwater Horizon - One Leak Down, Two to Go

Here is video showing the capping of one of the three leaks coming from the sunken Deepwater Horizon rig. The blowout and disaster reminds us that we are now in an era in which the easy oil is all gone, and the petroleum industry is forced to go after ever more difficult and low quality fields. This inevitably means higher costs for reduced amounts of oil. Let us remember the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and take heed of the lesson it can bring: we must start learning to save on gas.

2010-05-07

Big Truck Fuel Efficiency

If you like big Ford trucks but you want to save on gas, you might want to watch this video.

2010-05-06

Ships Reducing Drag to Save on Gas

Ocean going cargo vessels are responsible for moving an important part of the global economy. Consider how much of the items you buy in the US are made overseas and have to be brought to you by ship. Moving a huge ship against the resistance of the water costs a lot of gas. Ships are enormous gas guzzlers. Ideas for saving on gas in shipping could be very important for us in the future given our massive dependence on seaborn imports.

2010-05-05

Bunker Fuel Prices



You know the price of the gasoline you buy. The price of bunker fuel, which is what ships burn in their engines, is important for the global movement of cargo. A very large percentage of all the goods sold in the US are made overseas and carried to our shores in cargo ships. Keeping an eye on the price of bunker fuel gives a peek into the health of the global movement of goods. Bunkerworld is a website which keeps you informed up to the moment on developments in bunker fuel prices. We see that lately the price has been going up.

2010-05-04

What Is Peak Oil?

Oil is a limited resource. Although natural processes do create new oil, it takes millions of years. On human timescales, no new oil will be formed. So we have only the finite amount that is in the ground now. As we use it up, naturally the oil companies start with the easiest and cheapest oil to get. That means over time it gets harder and harder to extract a barrel. The result of this is that there will come a time when the rate of oil extraction begins to decline, even though there is still plenty of oil left. That is peak oil.

2010-05-03

Peak Oil : Will we be Ready?

Peak oil, or the moment when the extraction rate of oil is at the highest value it will ever have, is likely right about now. That means in the future we will have less and less oil available every year, even though we are adding more and more people to the population. Less oil supply will mean higher oil prices. How will we adjust our society to high oil and gas prices? Can we do it? We have gotten to where we are today in part by depending on cheap gasoline.

2010-05-02

Aptera Press Release Update

Aptera gives an update on their status. The Aptera is an aerodynamic, lightweight electric car.

2010-05-01

Driving Tips to Save on Gas

One of the biggest factors in saving on gas is the way we drive. Here are some tips you can start using today to save on gas!

2010-04-30

Inflating Tires With Nitrogen

2010-04-29

Riding on Nitrogen

Properly inflated tires can save on gas. Nitrogen may be a way to save on even more gas.

2010-04-28

Iceland Experiments with Hydrogen

Iceland is experimenting with hydrogen fuel cells to power buses in an attempt to save on gas.

2010-04-27

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

A hydrogen fuel cell is able to combine hydrogen with oxygen from the air, producing electricity in the process. This electricity can be used to run an electric motor. Fuel cell technology allows to run vehicles off of hydrogen as a fuel instead of gasoline. As an important benefit, they produce water as the only byproduct of combustion between the oxygen and the hydrogen, which means no air pollution and no global warming boosting carbon dioxide.

2010-04-26

Remove Your Roofrack to Save on Gas

A roofrack increases the aerodynamic drag of your car, which makes it use more gas. If you are not using your roofrack, take it off. At higher speeds, aerodynamic drag becomes larger and larger. Lots of highway speed miles with an unused roofrack is burning gas for nothing. So remove that roofrack until you need to use it and save on gas!

2010-04-25

Deepwater Rig Disaster

It is getting harder and harder to produce oil. The easiest to get oil has all been discovered and much of it already produced ( or extracted ). New discoveries are of oil that is in difficult to reach places, such as under miles of rock sunken beneath thousands of feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Deepwater rigs are complicated and difficult to operate machines, and sometimes things will go wrong. The Horizon fire is an example.

2010-04-24

Electric Pizza Delivery

Domino's Pizza is another company which depends on transport looking to save on gas. They are experimenting with a small electric vehicle, the ZAP, for pizza deliveries. Since these deliveries are local and a pizza is not heavy cargo, a small, short range electrice vehicle is fully capable of doing the job, and does not cost a drop of gasoline.

2010-04-23

UPS Using Electric Xebra for Short Hauls

UPS is joining the growing list of freight and delivery companies turning to non gasoline powered vehicles. UPS is using the Xebra, a small electric truck for short range deliveries. Small, light vehicles do not need as much energy to move as heavier vehicles. And a short range is not important for local deliveries. Since the Xebra is all electric, UPS can save on a lot of gas using it where conditions permit. As the price of crude oil and gas slowly rises, more and more companies that depend on efficient transportation are looking for ways to get things moving without needing gasoline. All of us should follow their example and look for ways to save on gas. The longer we wait, the worse the situation will get. Crude is never going back to the cheap old days.

2010-04-22

Cheap Electric Neighbourhood Vehicles

Here are a couple of small and cheap electric vehicles that sell for $14,000 or under. The interview in the video has the statistic that 90% of the people in the US own at least one car that goes less than 25 miles a day. Such short trips typically do not need a full sized car. A small, light, energy efficient electric car can be perfect for these trips. And using an electric vehicle, you can do your local errands without using a drop of gasoline!

2010-04-21

Zero Emission No Noise Vehicle

The ZENN or Zero Emission No Noise Vehicle is a new NEV (Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle). It is a small vehicle designed for short trips around your neighbourhood. For example, you could use it to pick up groceries or drop the kids off at baseball practice. Being lightweight it does not need much energy ... the heavier the vehicle, the more energy ( think fuel ) it takes to move it around. The ZENN is electric, which means you can save on gas.

2010-04-20

Tips for Saving on Gas

Here is another fellow who thinks oil price will just go up over the long term. Here are some of his tips for saving on gas.

2010-04-19

Slow Down to Save on Gas

Slowing down by 10 miles per hour can reduce your fuel consumption enough to notice, and for most trips the extra time taken is negligible. For example, consider a 60 mile trip. Driving at 60 miles per hour will get you to your destination in 1 hour or 60 minutes. Speeding up to 70 miles per hour will get you there in about 51.5 minutes. You saved only 8.5 minutes, but you burned through a lot of extra gas ( and money ) to do it.

2010-04-18

Spherical Engine

I doubt it would save on gas, and it is probably a manufacturing nightmare to mass produce, but it is interesting to see a spherical engine design!

2010-04-17

High Speed Rail

Europe is slowly but surely becoming criss crossed by a network of high speed rail lines. In the future of pricey petroleum, the US will regret not developing such a network here at home. Although recent announcements by the administration might mean we will begin building one.

2010-04-16

Highway Aging

Highways slowly deteriorate with age. Eventually they need to be completely rebuilt. The video shows some of the mechanisms at work.

2010-04-15

Interstates After the Age of Cheap Gas

The Interstate highway system was built in an era of cheap oil to meet the needs of a population able to buy cheap gasoline. In the future, with expensive gasoline making driving a much reduced activity and pricy petroleum leading to expensive asphalt and thus costly maintenance, what will happen to the Interstate system? Here is one look into the future.

2010-04-14

Smart Transport to Save on Gas

Could a smarter transport system help the US save on gas?

2010-04-13

Futuristic Solar Powered Transit System

Super futuristic transport system.

2010-04-12

Smart Car for Saving on Gas

What will the American highways of the future typically have driving on them? Since the future will see permanently high and possibly continuously rising gasoline prices, the American car buyer will look for something fuel efficient and cheap. It will have to be cheap to leave enough money left over to operate it. Being fuel efficient means being small. Every extra bit of weight needs fuel to haul it around. And the main purpose of a personal vehicle is to move the driver, not hundreds of pounds of plastic and metal forming the body of a large car. So we will probably see highways full of vehicles that look very much like the Smart Car in the video.

2010-04-11

Public Transit to Save on Gas

The nation can save a lot of gas if the number of single occupant car trips goes down. Commuting to work via public transit is much more efficient fuelwise than driving by yourself. The trouble is, in many or possible most cities and towns in the United States, public transit is not cheap and available. That means even though on a national level public transit saves on fuel, for individuals it can be expensive and inconvenient. A realignment of policy related to public transit could go a long way to helping the United States reduce its need for crude oil.

2010-04-10

2006 Auto Show Fuel Economy

Here is a report from the 2006 New York International Auto Show talking about fuel efficient vehicles. We are now in 2010. The progress in the US towards higher fuel economy is very slow, in fact, until the major oil price spike in 2008 and the collapse of Detriot fuel economy was ignored by almost everyone except trucking companies.

2010-04-09

The Marvelous Chicken Powered Car



How would you like to run your car on methane generated from chicken droppings? It can be done! The picture above is of exactly that!

Or, if you prefer to buy rather than do the conversion work yourself, you can buy a methane powered car from Fiat. The video shows one being fuelled.



And of course everybody knows that cow poo is a great source of methane!

2010-04-08

Can Color Save on Gas?



Aside from taste, does the color of your car matter? Can it have any influence over anything? Recall that light colors reflect more light than dark colors. This means that a car in strong sunlight with a dark paint job will get hotter than a light painted car. In the heat of a sizzling summer, the difference might be quite a bit. On other days, the difference might be enough to make you decide between switching on the air conditioning or not. And if the air conditioner is on, a light paint job will make its job slightly easier.

The air conditioner burns extra gas every minute it is running. So using the air conditioner less will save on gas. So if you are interested in saving on gas, especially if you live in a hot and sunny place, choosing a light colored vehicle could help you out.

2010-04-07

Sign of the Times: Idled Shipping

The transport of raw materials and finished goods across the oceans is a vital part of the modern economy. The current depression coupled with persistently high crude oil prices has hurt the global shipping industry. Now many tankers and cargo ships are idled, just floating waiting for a job.

2010-04-06

How To Improve Your Gas Mileage

Some tips on getting better gas mileage. The very best way to save on gas is to drive less ... as the video says, carpooling and public transit are the gas saver's best friends. But sometimes these are not practical or do not allow for enough cargo and so on.

2010-04-05

Floating on an Ocean of Imports

The US imports a lot of crude oil to keep our vehicle fleet fueled. Currently we are at about 9 million barrels per day. At a price of $80 per barrel, that is costing the nation $720 million each and every day. The Illinois state debt of about $120 billion could be paid off in half a year with what the nation spends on importing oil. Now that says something. Not only do we spend a fortune on foreign oil, but we are so badly in debt that even the fortune we spend on oil is not enough to pay it all back quickly! It is safe to say that we are consuming money and resources well beyond healthy limits.

2010-04-04

Tesla Roadster Commecial

A commercial for the Tesla Roadster, a high performance electric sports car.

2010-04-03

300 Horsepower Electric Car

Electric cars and performance can go together. How about an electric 1972 Datsun beating a Corvette by a second over a second, not once but twice!? The secret is that an electric motor can generate maximum torque right from the start.

2010-04-02

Asphalt Needs Petroleum

Your car needs petroleum for more reasons than you might know. The gasoline it burns comes from crude oil, but did you know the asphalt that surfaces many of the roads you drive on also needs crude oil to make? The price of oil is now in the middle eighty dollar range. The price of gasoline is reaching three dollars a gallon. The rapidly developing economies of India, China, Brazil and others are beginning to compete with the US for the global oil supply. And all of the world's asphalt roads are clamoring for their share of crude oil. No surprise that the price of gas is high and rising. The surprise is that there are still a lot of people who think it will go back down, to the way it was ten years ago in 2000, when 80 dollar oil was considered impossible.

2010-04-01

April Fool's Perpetual Motion Machine Humor

The dream of a perpetual motion machine or a source of free energy is an old one. The video imagines a funny scheme for producing bio ethanol.

Happy April Fool!

2010-03-31

Zeppelin to Save on Gas?

The Zeppelin is returning to the skies of the United States. Although the video discusses a 12 seater tour application, it is possible that for some routes a rigid airship could provide cheap, fuel efficient transport. Such airships do not need roads and their airfields are simple. They do not need to spend energy to maintain lift, since they use the buoyancy of helium. It might even be possible to cover their ample surface area with solar panels, thus deriving a portion of the energy needed to run their engines, which they use for horizontal thrust.

2010-03-30

Quest for Low Drag Coefficient Body Shapes

At highway speeds, the aerodynamic drag becomes a large part of the resistance your vehicle must burn gas to overcome. Thus clean, streamlined body shapes are crucially important for fuel economy. Especially so at higher speeds. In the case of electric vehicles, whose batteries carry limited amounts of energy, low air drag permits use of less energy per mile which in turn boosts their range. Large scale alterations in the body shape are probably not in the cards for most people, but a couple of things you can do to improve your streamlining are to remove any roof rack or overhead cargo box and keep your car clean and waxed. A clean, waxed surface slides through the air with less friction.

2010-03-29

Mazda Idle Stop System

Most drivers waste a lot of gas sitting still with the engine idling. This happens in stop and go traffic, when you are at a red light, when you have to wait to make a left turn and when you are waiting at the curb to pick up your kids. It is hard or impractical to always manually switch your engine off and on in all of these circumstances. Engine technology is coming to the rescue, providing engines which automatically stop and restart when the vehicle idles. The tricky part is having the engine come back into action quickly. If you are waiting to make a left turn and your engine shuts off automatically to save on gas, then it has to restart when you stamp on the gas pedal. You want a speedy reaction ... maybe a short window of opportunity for your planned left turn opened up in the traffic flow. The Mazda 3 has a new system which supposedly allows for much faster restarts. That is very good news for saving on gas ... now we can stop burning gas uselessly while sitting still and drive off again quickly. Once again, note how it was not Detroit pioneering in this important fuel economy technology. Detroit's focus on short term profit from large vehicles blinded it to the coming reality of permanently high gas prices, and the result is the growing obsolescence of US automakers' products in the global market.

2010-03-28

Super Fast Bicycle

Here is another motor assisted bicycle. It has a motor for propulsion which delivers speeds up to 50 miles per hour. However, the motor is designed to run only when you pedal the bicycle. This is another expression of the idea of a lightweight, fuel efficient neighborhood vehicle. A great deal of short range travel can be done by bicycle. However, some people would like a little help, and that is where motor assisted bicycles come in. The particular model in the video is awfully pricey though: over 40 thousand dollars!

2010-03-27

Hirsch Speaking About Peak Oil

Robert Hirsch, the lead author for the report Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management commissioned by the Department of Energy speaks about some of the things the report found.

2010-03-26

The Story of the US Inland Waterway System

The development of transportation systems in the United States was strongly interwoven with the Inland Waterway System. Hauling freight by barge or ship can be far more economical per ton of cargo moved. It has the disadvantages of slow speed and limited access. Only destinations on a canal or coast are reachable. Today we depend heavily on the highway system and the trucking industry which uses it. In earlier decades we depended just as heavily on the Inland Waterway System. And in the future, with consistently high gasoline prices, the balance may shift decisively towards high fuel economy per unit of cargo moved. In which case, we may find the good old waterways once again supporting us long after the gas thirsty trucks have come and gone.

2010-03-25

Propane Instead of Gas

Normal gasoline burning engines can be modified to allow them to take in propane as fuel. It is possible to run on a mixture of both propane and gasoline. The use of propane gives you extra flexibility; you can use more of whichever is cheaper or more available.

2010-03-24

Car Pool : Save Money, Time and Gas

Carpooling is an incredibly simple way to save on money, time and gas. Commuting to work and back again is predictable and thus easily included in a carpool schedule. What are you waiting for! Check into carpooling to your workplace!