|I love my SUV, but I hate the gas bills. What can I do?
Some romances are born in showrooms and not in heaven. If you want to continue partnering with the bold and the beautiful (and the thirsty), you'll have to pay the piper -- or, in this case, the Texaco, Shell, Mobil or whatever your motorized companion is drinking these days.
If this relationship is worth saving, one or both of you must:
- Get in shape. The spark plugs should be sparking, filters should be filtering, and other small, but critical parts should be doing their small, but critical parts.
- Make sure that where the rubber meets the road, the rubber has the maximum recommended air pressure and that the wheels are correctly aligned.
- Get that extra weight off. Clean out the cargo area, the cubbyholes and even the glove compartment. That extra pudge costs extra energy to move it.
- Watch when, where and why you drive. Combine trips, organize stops, and go out when there's less traffic.
- Watch the weather. Driving in snow, slush, and rain, can increase your gas consumption. Headwinds even as low as 20 mph can cut your fuel efficiency by 6%. A 7% grade hill can set your mileage back about 25%.
- Swear off sudden moves, except for emergencies. No more jackrabbit starts, kickdown acceleration or sudden braking.
- Avoid speeding. Driving at 65 costs about 15% more than cruising at 55.