Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hungry Hamster

Dinner time for cat and mouse

Did you know.........

Easy Ways to Conserve Gas
Take It Easy—aggressive driving ruins efficiency as much as anything. Revving the engine, quick acceleration, and high speed travel reduce your MPG a lot faster than you may realize. When applicable, use your cruise control to help keep the RPMs level.
Timing is Everything—Stop-and-go traffic, crowded roads, and looking for a parking space are all fuel-burners. Try running your errands outside of rush hours and peak shopping times. With the amount of stores that are open late or 24-hours, you can find most of what you need later or earlier than peak times. Not only can you save time getting there and parking, but it is often cooler at these times so you don’t have to run the air conditioner.
Proper Maintenance—inexpensive do-it-yourself maintenance such as replacing your air-filter and properly inflating your tires, and using only the necessary octane can make a big impact. In addition, using the proper weight of oil and performing scheduled tune-ups can make noticeable improvements as well.
If you have more than one car, use the more efficient one—Sure it is a little harder to squeeze the groceries into that small trunk rather than the back of the SUV, but this may help you afford to get that filet rather than chopped liver (unless of course you like chopped liver).
Lighten the load—the weight that an engine has to push directly affects the fuel efficiency. Take all unnecessary items out of your vehicle (you should probably keep the spare tire and related tools). In addition, although most people like going for rides, try to only take those that need to go.
Reduce your trips— On the way home, stop and pick up what you need so you don't have to go back out later. Not to support any one type of business, but try to buy what you need at a single location rather than driving to multiple stores (as long as you don't have to drive too much further to get there).
Clean out the fridge and cupboard rather than going out for a meal.
Order delivery. Sure someone is using gas, but the driver will usually be delivering to multiple people, thus having a more efficient trip..
"Carpooling, it's not just for work anymore"— Go grocery shopping with your neighbor.
Split the dropping off and picking up of the kids with the other parents.
Get together with friends and family at each other's homes. This way only some, not everyone, will be traveling.
Buy a Locking Gas Cap—Reports from several automotive parts stores report whenever a spike in gas prices occurs they see a run on keyed gas caps. Many of the people purchasing them tell the clerks the same story, "I went out in the morning and my tank had been drained."
No Joy-Riding— Remind the kids that driving is a privilege and not a right. The same bike that got them around when they were fifteen probably just needs some air in the tires (and I bet they forgot how much fun it is to pop wheelies).
This could be a good time to rebuild the carburetor on your classic weekend driver.
Explore More Activities at Home— Pay-per-view or home movies vs. the video store or theater.
Yard / Housework: finally clean out that attic / basement or weed that flower bed that keeps bothering you.
Athletic Activities: play catch, soccer, bike riding, hiking, jogging, walking, meditation, etc.
Miscellaneous: board games, darts, reading, family talk hour, call old friends, write letters, hobbies, etc.
Explore More Activities Close to Home—
A Little League, high school or youth organization game can be as much fun and a lot cheaper than taking a road trip or driving into the city for a college or professional game.
Explore the nature in the parks in your community rather than driving to the larger parks.
The local thrift stores can be more interesting than some museums.
Community Service—You could perform some roadside beautification (a.k.a. picking up trash) and give smug looks to all those passing motorists who are wasting gas.

Ten Gas-Saving Tips
Do your part to protect your wallet.

None of us can do much about the prices being charged at the pump these days. But once we've tanked up, there are a few things we can do to keep the needle away from "E" as long as possible.
These include:
Maintain engine tune. On a modern car, that means not driving around with the "check engine" light on. That light signals a fault with a component such as the oxygen sensor, which helps the engine maintain the ideal air/fuel ratio. A bad oxygen sensor can reduce fuel economy by as much as 40 percent - and will increase your vehicle's emissions output as well.
Pump the right gas. Burning the wrong grade of gasoline can reduce economy as well as performance - in particular, using high-octane premium in an engine designed to burn regular grade gas. Octane is a measure of burn rate, not the quality of the fuel. Higher octane fuels burn more slowly than lower octane fuels. Put high octane (slow burning) gas in an engine designed to run on regular (faster burning) gas and combustion efficiency is impaired, reducing fuel mileage as well as performance. Always use the grade of gas specified by the manufacturer of your vehicle for optimum mileage and performance.
Check those tires. Under-inflated tires are commonplace because most people neglect to periodically check for proper pressure. And it's hard to notice a drop of 5-10 psi or so under normal driving. But fuel economy drops by about half a percent for each psi below recommended inflation pressures - costing you as much as a couple miles per gallon if your tires are at 28 psi instead of 35.
Check the oil, too. Following the recommended service interval will help prevent crud from gumming up your engine's internals, increasing friction and lowering efficiency. And be sure to use the recommended viscosity (thickness) oil for your engine; a thicker oil - for example, 10W-30 vs. the recommended 5W-30 - can lower your fuel economy by up to two percent. Look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Ride with the windows up. On the freeway, any how. It is more efficient - and you'll burn less gas - running your car's air conditioner than it is to roll down the windows. The aerodynamic drag caused by open windows takes more energy to overcome than operating the A/C compressor. Plus, you won't muss your hair.
Drive smoothly. Building up speed gradually, as opposed to flooring it and running through the gears at redline, can improve your overall mileage by ten percent or more. Cruise control can help maintain smooth, steady speeds with little abrupt use of the throttle. The optimum "mileage zone" to eke the best-possible fuel economy out of your vehicle is approximately 45 mph; speeds of 70 mph and faster dramatically cut down on gas mileage.
Keep it off idle. When you're stuck sitting in traffic, your engine is getting zero mpg, about as wasteful as it gets. If you are faced with having to sit still for more than a minute, turning off the engine until things get moving again will save fuel.
Dial out 4x4. If you drive a truck or SUV with a part-time 4x4 system, be certain the system is in 2H whenever you're driving on clear, paved roads. Keeping a 4x4 system in 4H when not needed will accelerate wear of major parts such as axles and transfer case and cut down on your mileage considerably, as the engine is driving all four wheels instead of just two.
Ditch the roof rack. Avoid them unless you intend to use them. These create wind resistance and increase aerodynamic drag, which can cost you two to five percent in fuel economy at highway speeds.
Empty the trunk. Every extra 100 pounds of stuff you're carting around with you can reduce your vehicle's gas mileage by as much as two percent. Don't use your trunk as a permanent storage space for old boxes full of junk or cart around an old axle housing in the bed of your pickup.


Showing off her "Baby"

Happy Dog