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