Book Review — Gas Smarts

Hundreds of Small Ways to Save Big at the Pump

How appropriate it is for an author to write a book addressing a problem every car driving consumer faces: high fuel prices. That’s exactly what Dr. Ronald M. Weiers has done with his book, “Gas Smarts: Hundreds of Small Ways to Save Big at the Pump.” [1] I was given a copy of this book over the summer and have been reviewing his tips to see if what he says is sensible and doable.

Fuel Saving Tips

Weiers book makes for an easy read, one where you can flip open any page, find a tip and consider the suggestion. For example, on page 107 he advises drivers to use a windshield sun reflector to keep the car cooler. That way, when you get into the car, you won’t need to run the air-conditioner at full blast. Your climate control system consumes extra gas, therefore simple action on your part can limit consumption. Notably, the flip side of the reflector may offer a “need help” advisory which is useful for breakdowns.

On page 66, Weiers advises the reader to “follow the maintenance schedule” to achieve better fuel efficiency. That means finding and reading your car’s care manual, following the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance. Weiers cites a Federal Trade Commission study which notes that you can increase gas mileage by an average of 4 percent with a tuned vehicle. [2] The author also mentions other FTC tips for saving gas elsewhere in his book including cleaning out your trunk to reduce gas consuming weight for a savings of 1 percent for every 100 pounds removed, keeping your tires properly inflated to save up to 3 mpg for tires under-inflated by 10 pounds and other tips. All good advice, but all easily found elsewhere including on the FTC site and through the U.S. Department of Energy.

Undefined Fuel Savings

Not every tip offered by the author yields clearly defined fuel savings which leaves the reader wondering what, if anything can be achieved. For example, the suggestion to not use auxiliary lighting unless absolutely needed is sensible as extra lighting consumes more electricity which uses energy derived from fuel. The author doesn’t define auxiliary lighting, but we can assume that he means fog lights which are useful under certain visibility conditions. Likely, the driver isn’t using these lights for any other reason, thus the tip is not especially helpful.

Weiers’ advise is not limited to using your car more efficiently, rather he also brings in scores of tips on how to drive at all. As in shopping online instead of making the trek to the mall. Using the warmest part of the garage in cold weather so that your car warms up quicker, thereby consuming less gas. Riding a bicycle or buying a motorbike or scooter instead of a car. Using fewer plastic products to impact the price of gasoline – bottled water alone consumes some 17 million barrels of oil per year, enough to power 1 million vehicles for a year.

Buying a Car

The author also offers up extensive tips on buying a new or used vehicle and the usefulness (or not) of certain aftermarket parts. Those tips include finding a car with a low frontal area to offset wind resistance, choosing a lighter vehicle to save on gas, considering a car with a manual transmission to enjoy improved fuel economy to many other tips which can help you save fuel. You may not take each tip into consideration when making your purchase, but these should make you consider what type of vehicle you buy and its impact on fuel economy.

So, the bottom line with “Gas Savers” is this – should you buy this book? Only if are a novice in all matters of saving fuel. Over the past three years, scads of articles have been written that cover the same topic, some of which are shared here on “Auto Trends Magazine” for your perusal. [3] You can search for those tips online, but be mindful that some of the information is sensational and not backed by analytical research.


References

[1] Gas Smarts: Hundreds of Small Ways to Save Big at the Pump; Ronald M. Weiers; Adams Media; 2011

[2] Federal Trade Commission: Saving Money at the Gas Pump

[3] Auto Trends Magazine: AOCA Offers Timely Gas Saving Tips


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See Also — Top Tips for Getting Better Gas Mileage

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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