My wife keeps the house really cold. If our power bills were free every month, she would probably prefer that we keep the house at 60 degrees or lower. And I can’t stand it. I’m shivering, my teeth chatter, and the worst thing is, if I try to type on the computer, or write something down, or even just read a book, my fingers are all numb and non-responsive. The opposite end of the spectrum is no good either. In the long, hot days of summer, all I want to do is lounge about – I can’t be expected to get anything useful done when I’m actively melting in my seat.
Your car’s engine is the same way. When its too cold or too hot, it’s not going to run at peak efficiency, which means that you’re not going to get the best gas mileage you could be. Think of it like Goldilocks. The first bowl of porridge was too cold. The second bowl of porridge was too hot. But the third one was juuuust right!
But how do you get your car’s engine to be like that third bowl of porridge? (That’s a great visual, I know.) There are a couple of solutions.
One thing that can help to improve your overall fuel efficiency is to combine your errands into a single trip. If you need to go to the grocery store, the post office, and the pharmacy, try to combine all three into a single trip, rather than three separate trips. This way, the engine will still be warm between each destination. If you go home for an hour after the grocery store, then your car will have to work extra hard to come back up to temperature when you go to the post office, and then again for the pharmacy. By going straight from the grocery store to the post office to the pharmacy, the engine stays warm – and more efficient – and you save some money at the pump.
Another thing that helps regulate the temperature of your car’s engine is making sure the vehicle has the right kind of coolant, and enough of it. You can check your car’s owners manual to find exactly where to add more coolant in your engine, as well as what types of coolant are best for your vehicle. Generally, you can buy coolant at any auto parts store, or sometimes, even in the car care section of the grocery store.
One other thing that can help to reduce your overall fuel consumption is Active Grill Shutters. This is something that Ford and some other car manufacturers are including as options on new vehicles, usually as part of a Fuel Saver Package. Active Grill Shutters can open or close the grill on the front of your vehicle to control how much air is able to get in to cool the engine as you drive. When the engine is still cold, they will shut all the way, in order to keep all the heat produced by the engine trapped. Then, when the engine is up to temperature, the Active Grill Shutters will open up some or all of the way, allow air to vent through to keep the engine at the ideal temperature.
Every little bit helps.
Individually, none of these things are going to solve all of your gas price woes, but each of them will help to shave off a couple of miles per gallon off of your overall fuel consumption. Every little bit helps!
Be sure to check out the other posts in the new Fuel Saver Tips monthly series:
Also, check out this video on the Ford Focus Electric, presented by our own Frank Towson.