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Friday, March 27th, 2015


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Driving More Miles Using Less Fuel

Most drivers are aware of the standard suggested ways of improving vehicle fuel economy including: avoiding sudden starts and stops, keeping tires inflated to the recommended pressure, avoiding the use of air conditioning, guiding down hills, etc.

In addition to these measures, what other steps will help you to save fuel? When you are ready to get a new set of tires for your car, consider getting a larger diameter tire. For example, if your car is equipped with a 205 65 15″ tire, consider getting a 205 70 15″ tire. The first number (205) is the width of the tire. The second number (65) is the distance from the rim to the tread or the tire sidewall. The third number (15″) is the size of the rim. The idea is to increase the second number, the sidewall of the tire. Each 5 point increase represents a 1/2″ larger tire sidewall.

A 205 75 15″ tire is about 1″ taller as compared to a 205 65 15″ tire. The width of the tire is the same and the rim size is the same. Therefore, a taller sidewall tire usually costs the same as the smaller sidewall tire. Before making a switch to a larger tire, ask the tire technician if your car can accept the larger tire. You do not want the tires to hit the wheel wells of your car. Some cars will accept an inch larger tire and most cars will accept a 1/2″ larger tire.

If you install larger tires on your car, realize that you will be traveling about 5 miles per hour faster than your car’s speedometer indicates. Therefore, you would need to drive about 5 miles per hour slower to be driving the speed limit.

How does it work in the real world? When I purchased a larger set of tires for my car, rather than the usual 42 miles from my home to my office, my speedometer read 36 miles. Thus, I gained about 6 miles in fuel savings on my one way commute to work. This represents about a 12% gain in fuel economy.

If you drive a car with a standard transmission, consider using gears 1st, 3rd, and 5th when you travel on the interstate.

Additionally, some auto parts stores sell a fuel saving device called a Tornado that is fitted in the airflow tube after the air filter. The Tornado swirls the air and increases the amount of air entering the engine. This increases the engine’s power and fuel economy.

Using less fuel will save you money, however, additional savings are possible by making your car run a few years longer. Look for a future article on this topic.

Kyle Busch is the author of the book “Drive the Best for the Price,” and his car has been driven over 438,000 miles. His auto website:
www.drivethebestbook.com accepts all car questions.

© 2006 by Kyle Busch

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4 Responses to Driving More Miles Using Less Fuel

  1. Adam Reiner says:

    “When I purchased a larger set of tires for my car, rather than the usual 42 miles from my home to my office, my speedometer read 36 miles”

    How does this logic work? If the distance from home to office is 42 miles, it is ALWAYS 42 miles, regardless of what tire size you have or what your speedometer says. You may “think” you’re saving fuel but in reality your speedometer is not calibrated correctly to the different tire size.

  2. nenobosi says:

    I belive that this is one of the ways to save on fuel. Persomaly I use MPG tabs which give me 12% more millage (+-10% mistake) and 65% less exhaust gasses.

  3. Steve says:

    If the car speedo shows less then the car (DRIVE TRAIN) moved less!
    Good Idea..some things are worth trying. A wider tire would have hurt mileage, Taller to a degree will get you farther on the same gas, Highway.

  4. oddtyme says:

    The science in this article is very weak:

    While cruising (ignoring starts and stops), the engine burns fuel to overcome various forces of friction and drag acting on the vehicle. One of those is friction between tire and road, another is air friction, another is friction within the engine, and the other main source of drag is the engine sucking vacuum when running at partial throttle.

    The amount of engine vacuum drag is a function of the engine RPM and the how much the air is restricted at the throttle plate. By increasing the tire diameter, this does reduce the speed of rotation (in terms of RPM) at the wheels and thus also at the engine. So, the amount of engine vacuum drag is reduced proportionately, and there is some increase in MPG.

    BUT, this is only one source of drag/friction out of many. To suggest that a 12% reduction in apparent miles travelled, as per the odometer, translates into a 12% fuel savings is simply false. Taking this article’s logic to the extreme, we should all have 40 inch wheels on our car so that we can reduce our collective fuel consumption by 75%, and thus solving America’s energy independence problem.

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