Stay Safe & Save Fuel

As snowbirds and other RVers prepare for travel during the coming weeks and months, two things will be on their minds—safely navigating the highways and byways, and at the same time, save costly fuel.

Nestled within the red rocks, Sedona attracts four million new and returning visitors each year, making it the second-most-visited place in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Nestled within the red rocks, Sedona attracts four million new and returning visitors each year, making it the second-most-visited place in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The first step toward a safe trip begins in the driveway before you leave home.

1. Service vehicles regularly

Follow the recommended service and maintenance schedules; keeping an RV tuned up and in top running condition saves fuel. A clean air filter keeps impurities from damaging your engine and can significantly improve fuel economy. Failure to follow recommended maintenance schedules may void warranty.

2. Prepare your vehicles for long distance travel

Check your wipers and fluids. Simple preventative maintenance before you leave home can prevent many of the problems that strand RVers on the side of the road.

3. Properly inflate your tires

Properly inflated tires can save you up to four percent in fuel mileage, while under and over inflation can lead to premature tire failure. Ensure that you routinely check your tire pressure.

4. Lower your speed

Lower speeds not only save money at the pump, they also make you safer on the road. While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed or range of speeds, fuel mileage usually decreases rapidly above 55 mph. By maintaining a constant moderate speed, drivers can save up to 30 percent on fuel and are better able to react to road conditions and other drivers—so slow down!

5. Save fuel

Tucson, Arizona is home to North America’s largest Cacti. The Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Tucson, Arizona is home to North America’s largest Cacti. The Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To save fuel, take direct routes, minimize side trips, and maintain a steady speed. Also, a well-tuned engine, properly inflated tires, and reduced speed will result in noticeable fuel savings.

6. Use cruise control

Using cruise control can be a fuel-saver. When driving long stretches of open road, cruise control can be a very valuable asset, maintaining your speed within the least fuel-guzzling gear, plus eliminating your chances of accidental speeding.

7. When NOT to use cruise control

Cruise control can take a bite into your fuel mileage potential on hills where it tends to coast up the hill until it realizes that it is losing speed and quickly attempts to make up for it by pushing the throttle, increasing your speed and your fuel use. Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills. Use downhill momentum, rather than applying accelerator, to build speed back up.

8. Flexible Travel Plans

Weather conditions play a major role in fuel economy. Driving into a strong headwind will lower your mileage and driving with a strong tailwind will give you better mileage. Stay flexible in your travel plans and consider only traveling when weather conditions are favorable.

9. Large trucks have blind spots

Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be aware that tractor-trailers have large areas around their trucks where other vehicles are not visible. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver is unable to see you. Keep in mind that this applies also to large recreational vehicles, especially Class A motorhomes.

10. Do not cut in front of large trucks and other RVs

Since trucks and recreational vehicles are heavier than cars and take longer to come to a complete stop, avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

11. Honor the Right of Way

Keep in mind that highway traffic has the right of way on entrance ramps; maintain proper speed, using smooth merging techniques, and don’t slow down in front of a large rig or RV.

12. Wait until parked to use cell phones or text

Driver distraction is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident.

Now Let’s Go RVing!

Please Note: This is the second in a two-part series on Saving Fuel and Arriving Safely

Part 1: 5 Ways to Save Fuel and Money

Worth Pondering…
Take time to see the special in the ordinary this weekend. Every sunset is a gift.

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

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Tips for Smarter Driving

High fuel prices and an uncertain economy are putting vehicle fuel efficiency at the top of many drivers’ priority lists. A 2011 survey by Consumer Reports found that 62 percent of those surveyed are planning on making their next car much more fuel efficient.

Maintaining recommended air pressure can improve your mileage by more than three percent. (Credit: Serendigity.com)

Even if a new vehicle isn’t in your budget, there are steps you can take NOW that can help increase fuel efficiency, reports Shell in a recent new release.

John and Helen Taylor, known as the world’s most fuel efficient couple, hold 89 world records and travel the world stretching the boundaries of fuel efficiency. The Taylors say that by simply following the MAP to Smarter Driving, drivers can become more fuel efficient and do it on a budget.

The MAP to Smarter Driving

Maintenance

Perform “smart” maintenance before you drive:

  • Maintaining recommended air pressure can improve your mileage by more than three percent
  • Keep your engine well tuned and repair problems immediately
  • If your vehicle has failed an emissions test or is noticeably out of tune, repairing the problem could improve your fuel mileage by four percent, on average
  • Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent
  • Removing excess weight can improve your fuel mileage; an extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your mileage by up to two percent

Actions

Drive smart! Don't be a grumpy old man when you're behind the wheel.

Practice “smart” actions and behaviors while you’re behind the wheel:

  • Speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking can lower fuel mileage by five percent at lower speeds and by 33 percent at highway speeds; every five mph driven over 60 is the equivalent of paying an additional $0.29 per gallon for fuel (based on an assumed fuel price of $3.65 per gallon)
  • Use cruise control on major roads and in free flowing traffic; maintaining a constant speed can improve fuel mileage
  • Avoid higher speeds; fuel mileage usually decreases when driving at speeds over 60 mph
  • Combine your errands into one outing to avoid short separate trips
  • Avoid idling—idling gets zero miles per gallon

Products
Purchase smart products at the right price without sacrificing quality:

  • Use a loyalty or rewards payment card to save
  • Following your manufacturer’s motor oil recommendation can improve gasoline mileage by up to two percent
  • Smarter Driving can go a long way to help you stretch your budget while helping protect your vehicle.

Details

Shell

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies with around 93,000 employees in more than 90 countries and territories. Shell’s presence in the U.S. dates back nearly 100 years, first as a Pacific Coast gasoline marketer and Midwest oil producer.

Shell Smarter Driving Program

Smarter Driving can go a long way to help you stretch your budget while helping protect your vehicle.

Additional information is available about the Shell Smarter Driving Program.

Worth Pondering…
Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space.

—Words and music by Mars Bonfire

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