Category Archives: Fuel


While market excitement for corn-based ethanol’s use as an alternative fuel for vehicles abounds, Prudential Equity Group analyst Michael Bruynesteyn said he sees little medium to long-term advantage for Big Three automakers.In a recent report, the analyst estimated approximately 900,000 unit sales in 2006 of vehicles enabled for E85 (a blend of 15% Fuel and 85% ethanol), mostly by Ford Motor (nyse: F – news – people ), General Motors (nyse: GM – news – people ) and Daimlerchrysler. While he called the advantages for corporate average fuel economy, or “CAFÉ,” clear, the analyst noted that the companies may also see a good public relations opportunity. “Much like Toyota burnished its image with its push into hybrids, the domestic original equipment manufacturers may be able to generate some goodwill with customers by taking the lead on E85 vehicles, although quantifying that benefit is difficult,” said Bruynestyn.If true demand for E85 vehicles materializes or increased production of E85-equipped vehicles is encouraged by the government, “domestic automakers should initially benefit more than their import and transplant peers,” said the analyst. However, it won’t be difficult for other automakers to follow suit, he said, leading him to estimate that short-term advantages for Ford, GM, and Daimlerchrysler could evaporate in approximately two years.Currently, less than 5% of U.S. gas stations sell E85, the analyst said News source:

Saving Fuel

Tips for Saving FuelIf you’re not ready to buy a more fuel-efficient car, you can still save money in whatever vehicle you drive. provides the tips and dispels the myths. News source: Revive the ClassicsThe biggest fuel savings comes not from hybrid technology but from the old standards: car pooling and public transportation. If you and just one friend or neighbor trade off commuting to and from work, you cut your fuel usage by about 50 percent. No other step will save you as much money. Also, if you have two vehicles in the family motor pool, leave the thirstier one in the garage as often as possible. Public transportation saves fuel, and possibly money. It also decreases congestion, which saves everyone fuel. Help yourself and everyone else; be part of the solution.Get the Lead OutWeight is fuel economy’s natural enemy, so removing unnecessary items – or people – from your car can translate to real fuel savings.Get the Leadfoot OutYou can save fuel immediately in whatever you drive by going easy on the accelerator. Jack rabbit starts and full-throttle acceleration boost fuel consumption dramatically. It’s all a matter of degree: Light acceleration saves more than moderate acceleration. Top speed also plays a part. Most vehicles are most efficient when cruising in their top gear at a relatively low speed. For example, a car with a five-speed transmission would be most efficient in 5th gear at 40 to 55 mph. Wind resistance increases exponentially with speed, so as your pace increases from this point, fuel economy drops dramatically. Onboard trip computers that show instantaneous and average fuel economy are remarkably accurate. Keep an eye on this and you’ll learn how to drive in a miserly fashion.An Ounce of PreventionKeeping your tires inflated properly and your engine running right is critical to efficient motoring. Underinflated tires can lower your fuel economy by full miles per gallon. (Get the proper inflation pressure from the sticker on your car’s doorjamb or the owner’s manual, and not the tire’s sidewall.) Even if your car seems to be running well, that perplexing Check Engine light could represent a dead oxygen sensor or some other emissions control problem that causes the vehicle to waste several miles per gallon. Open Windows or Air Conditioning?This is an age-old conundrum. (Unlike a car’s heater, which uses free engine heat to warm the cabin, the air conditioner robs engine power and lowers fuel economy.) So which approach is better? Sorry, but it’s not as simple as one or the other. If your car has been sitting in the sun and is hotter than the outside air, drive for a few minutes with the windows open to cool it off. Then, if you’re hitting the highway, close ’em up and turn on the A/C. Aerodynamics are more important at high speeds, so if you’re not exceeding 35 or 40 mph, open windows won’t make as much difference. It also depends on the vehicle. The detriment from driving with the windows down is greater, say, in a Chevy Corvette, which has excellent aerodynamics, than in a Hummer, which has … none. The same applies to convertibles; you’ll burn less fuel with the top up.Keep It SleekSpeaking of aerodynamics, roof-top carriers and bike and ski racks don’t do you any favors – even when they’re empty. If you keep all your cargo inside the car, you’ll slip through the wind better. Also, strip off any aftermarket add-ons such as bug deflectors and window and sunroof wind deflectors. By design, these items work by wrecking your aerodynamics. Sure, bug entrails on your windshield are gross, but they aren’t known to cost you any fuel.Premium or Regular?Lower octane costs less, but should you use it? Most modern cars that call for premium fuel can run on regular Fuel without knocking or any long-term penalty. Technically, this makes the car less efficient, but not to a degree that negates the cost savings from the cheaper fuel grade. NOTE: This is true of cars for which premium is recommended, not required. If in doubt, look for terms such as “for best performance” and “recommended” as opposed to “only” or “required.” If your car has a turbocharger or supercharger, you probably should stick with premium fuel. Of course, if your car calls for regular Fuel, there’s no reason to run it on anything higher in octane.By Joe Wiesenfelder, News source:

Gas Prices

With gas prices holding steady – and even dropping a bit in the past few weeks – the consumer outrage that flared up this spring has calmed down considerably. Pump price photos have fallen from front pages and politicians proposing solutions are visibly absent from cable TV channels. But as the July 4th weekend kicks off an exodus of vacationing motorists, U.S. Fuel supplies remain tight – which raises the odds that gas prices are about to make another move higher. After a sharp run-up in March and April, pump prices have fallen slightly in the past two weeks from peak levels reached in mid-May. Still, at $2.87 a gallon, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded logged by the Department of Energy this week is still 65 cents higher than this time last year.Pump prices typically head higher between July 4th and Labor Day, as an armada of RVs and fully loaded SUVs roll out across the country for the peak vacation season. That increased demand puts upward pressure on Fuel prices. The goods news is that pump prices typically fall back again when summer winds down. But it’s far from clear just how high prices will go before they fall again. News source: MSNBC