Chuck Mack: Craig

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We had to make a trip up to Rock Springs, Wyo., to pick up a part. We stopped at the Flying J Truckstop and topped off the fuel tank. It cost us $2.21 a gallon.

Diesel in Craig is $2.50 or more a gallon, I noticed that, in Maybell, it was $2.59 a gallon. From what I keep hearing, prices are going to keep rising. I'm just glad that the Cummins Diesel engines are so fuel efficient. As I've said before, our Humdinger, the Dodge pickup, will turn out 24 to 25 mpg if it's driven right, and you can bet your boots that, with fuel prices the way they are, it's going to get driven right!

People keep griping about the high price of fuel, and there isn't very darned much they can do about it. But people could save a lot of money on fuel if they would just adjust their driving habits.

It seems as if the biggest factor determining the amount of fuel any given vehicle will burn is the amount of weight placed upon the throttle! So if you want to squeeze more miles out of every gallon of this high-priced fuel, put your right foot on a diet.

Of course, keeping the proper amount of air in the tires is very important. Just one underinflated tire on a vehicle will cause that vehicle to burn lots more fuel, and such tires make a car kind of wiggly in the driving department.

Keeping your car clean has an effect on fuel mileage. In Northwestern Colorado during this time of year, a vehicle easily can be packing a few extra pounds of mud on the undercarriage, under the fender wells, etc.

For every pound of additional weight a vehicle is packing, it takes a little more fuel. As hard as it might be to believe, a dirty car creates more wind resistance than a shiny clean one. Think of it this way: Something smooth and slick has a lot less resistance than something that feels like a piece of sandpaper!

A vehicle with a well-tuned engine is far more fuel efficient than a vehicle needing a tune-up. So keeping your engine in top running order will pay off in greater fuel efficiency.

I always figured that the price you saved on fuel easily would pay for the cost of keeping a vehicle properly tuned. At today's fuel prices, you can pay for the tune-up and have a lot of money left over!

How long has it been since the oil was changed in your vehicle? An engine operating with dirty oil creates a lot more friction than the same engine running clean oil. Friction means the engine works harder to do its job, and more work for the engine means fewer miles per gallon.

Using the cruise control on the open road means more miles per gallon.

Of course, cruise control should be used with a little common sense. Never operate your vehicle using the cruise control on slick roads or in congested traffic.

When not using the cruise control, we can use our foot on the throttle in the same manner. Just keep a steady foot on the throttle, maintaining a steady speed whenever possible. Avoid jackrabbit starts and stops.

What I'm trying to say is spend less time worrying about high fuel prices and more time thinking about squeezing more miles out of that high-priced stuff!

Chuck Mack

Craig

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