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June 30, 2009

Three Key Tips to Fuel Savings at the Pump for Fourth of July Travelers

Fireworks With summer travel season half over and the Fourth of July weekend approaching, drivers know it is more important than ever to properly maintain their vehicles to ensure maximum gas mileage. To get the most out of a tank of gas, experts suggest that, in addition to properly inflating tires and practicing conservative driving habits, motorists should be diligent about changing their worn and dirty spark plugs, replacing clogged air filters, and maintaining a clean fuel system.

"These three easy, low-cost routines can help motorists save quite a bit of money at the pump," says Jay Buckley, Honeywell's technical training manager. "The last thing we want is for our vehicles to work harder than they have to... it's just throwing money down the drain."

Old-spark-plugs For example, the performance of a spark plug is directly related to how much fuel the engine consumes. Research by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence shows that old, worn, and dirty spark plugs are prone to misfires, reducing fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent. "When changing spark plugs, consider upgrading to ones that provide a faster, more efficient burn," says Buckley. Clean, high-performance plugs efficiently ignite the gas and air mixture inside the cylinders, resulting in improved throttle response and acceleration. This helps improve fuel efficiency, thereby saving money for consumers.

Artistic-Changing-air-filter Another way to improve a vehicle's fuel economy is by changing that dirty air filter. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a dirty air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10 percent, and at $2.50 per gallon of gas that could mean a savings of as much as $5.00 every time a motorist completely refuels.  You can save even more by installing a washable, reusable air filter (such as the Fram SynWash long-life air filter). Changing, or in this case cleaning, a vehicle's air filter regularly can both help increase fuel economy and save even more money over the long reusable life of the filter. 

"It's recommended that consumers should change their air filter once a year. By installing a washable long-life filter, like the SynWash filter, a motorist can save money on annual filter replacement while at the same time help cut down on the number of filters that are disposed of each year," says Craig Hamilton, product manager for the Fram brand.

Engine_gunk Finally, if a vehicle has intake valve and fuel injector deposits, the engine has to work harder to run. Using a fuel additive every 4000 miles can help improve acceleration and fuel economy by unclogging fuel injectors and cleaning intake valves and combustion chambers.

"Clean fuel injectors help ensure more complete combustion and maximum fuel benefit," says Buckley.         

Maintaining vehicles with good quality spark plugs and air filters in addition to utilizing a fuel additive can definitely help consumers improve their vehicle's gas mileage.

Creative commons engine gunk photo by paulsherman at

Jody-devere_president_askpatty Jody DeVere

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