Amazing. Among the thanks-but-we'll pass entreaties that have flooded our in-box lately - are we interested to know Bon Jovi is the first rock star with a No. 1 hit on the country charts? - was a practical email from our friends at Purdue University.
It suggests ways of saving gas.
Heather L. Cooper, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering technology, has a couple tips I've never considered. I called her and asked if she could explain some things r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y, and this is what I learned:
In hot weather, it's better to let the car's air conditioning run continually at a reasonable temperature than turning it off and on all the time. And set the blower on 'recirculate' to use less gas as well.
This one might not make sense if you picture it, but there's lots of evidence indicating it's more fuel-efficient to drive a pick-up truck with the tailgate in place. It's actually more aerodynamic than driving with the tail down or gone, these studies show. Best way to reduce drag is to use a sealed cover or cap.
Her explanation why: They're designed to work that way. "When you put the gate down, you disrupt the air flow at the back of the vehicle. In many cases it creates more turbulence, which increases the drag."
Save money on a highway trip by driving slower than the speed limit. Keep it at about 55 m.p.h., tops. Cruise control saves money. So does keeping your tires inflated at mfg specs. She squeezes about 30 m.p.g out of her Mazda Three this way, she says.
One more thing: use lower octane gas "unless premium is required for your vehicle." This raises a question. My father has forever used the cheaper, lower octane fuel. Swears by it. Another dear member of my family goes with premium, much to my dismay and financial distress.
Anyone know just how "required" premium fuel is for various vehicles????