This sticky is loosing it's sticky.
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A article I found.
Dayna and Ron Laseter noticed an unexpected change after moving from St. Louis to a small Iowa town outside the OmahaCouncil Bluffs metro area.
Their 1999 Buick Century started getting better gas mileage.
"Four or five miles per gallon more than in St. Louis," Dayna Laseter said as she filled up Thursday morning at Buchanan BP Service Center at 50th and Dodge Streets.
The reasons weren't hard to figure out, she said. Instead of racing along at 75 to 80 mph and braking in stop-and-go city traffic, the Laseters are driving in rural Carson, Iowa, and in the lighter traffic of Omaha.
Commercial drivers who climb behind the wheel every day for a living know that driving habits can affect fuel efficiency. And with fuel prices continuing to rise, squeezing the most out of every gallon is on more motorists' minds, Dayna Laseter's included.
"I'm using cruise control, and I'm keeping at the speed limit," she said.
Nance Harris, vice president of the Nebraska Trucking Association, said the cost to consumers goes beyond the hit in the wallet when they fill an empty tank.
"For commercial trucking companies, it's become the industry standard that when fuel prices increase, their rates go up proportionally," she said. "If we all, as users of fuel, don't get a grip on this, we're going to be surprised at what we're paying for a loaf of bread. It will ripple through the economy."
Professional drivers offered recommendations for average motorists, including several that were echoed in the Laseters' experience. Speed is so much a factor, for example, that some trucking companies have policies prohibiting drivers from exceeding 65 mph, even if the speed limit is higher.
Other companies, including the Sarpy County-based Werner Enterprises, take it a bit further.
Every Werner truck is "governed," meaning the truck's fuel injection system is configured so that the truck is incapable of going faster than 65, said Guy Welton, vice president of operations.
"When you get up over 72 to 75 mph in a truck, your miles per gallon goes down greatly," he said.
Fuel costs took 12.2 percent of Werner's overall revenue in the second quarter this year, nearly 2 percent more than the same period last year, he said.
"That does not include our fuel taxes. You could add another 5 to 6 percent of revenues on top of that," Welton said. "This is a very big piece of our operating costs, so we've actively managed it over the years."
Werner also analyzes data from each truck's global-positioning unit and reviews them monthly with the driver. The data can indicate how much time the truck spent idling and other ways fuel is spent.
Average motorists should not accelerate too quickly and not over-rev a vehicle's engine, Welton said. And make sure the vehicle is serviced regularly.
"Normal, preventative maintenance done on schedule will make sure your engine is operating at peak efficiency," he said.
Simply keeping tires properly inflated also will make a difference, said Rose White of AAA Nebraska.
"Improperly inflated tires can reduce efficiency as much as 5 percent," she said.
According to AAA, the national average price of diesel fuel hit another record Thursday at $2.038, and regular unleaded averaged $1.916.
The organization publishes a guidebook of tips on enhancing fuel efficiency, "The Gas Watchers Guidebook," that is available free to the public at any AAA office.
Harris, of the Trucking Association, said that driving in town can reduce gas mileage but that motorists can try to avoid fast starts and stops. More fuel is used during acceleration, she said.
"In stop-and-go or city traffic, a good exercise is to try to pace yourself so you never have to come to a complete stop," Harris said. "Keep a really steady touch on the accelerator."
Dayna Laseter, whose move from St. Louis was prompted by her husband's transfer with Union Pacific Railroad, said she's hoping to see savings beyond the better gas mileage she's getting. She thinks her car's brakes will last longer, too.
With all that stop-and-go traffic, "every two years, we went through a set of brakes."
Tips for vehicle
Keep tires properly inflated. Follow vehicle's maintenance schedule. Check that air and fuel filters are clean. Avoid extended idling. Use air conditioning only when necessary.
Don't speed. Shift properly, and don't race the engine. Avoid hard stops and fast acceleration. Maintain as steady a speed as traffic allows. Use cruise control on highways and Interstates. Plan travel, even around town, to reduce unnecessary side trips. Know where you are going. Sources: Nebraska Trucking Association, Werner Enterprises and AAA Nebraska.
(C) 2004 Omaha World-Herald.
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