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Fuel-Saving Tips for NASCAR Fans

Crew Chief Kenny Francis (select to view enlarged photo)
Crew Chief Kenny Francis Giving Advice

With the continued economic downturn that is plaguing our country, Americans are increasingly concerned about what they can do to decrease their spending while still living the way they are accustomed. One key area where people throughout the country are trying to reduce spending is at the gas pump, and why wouldn’t they? Even with the recent reduction in gas prices, no one is certain how long this will last and as much time as people spend in their cars these days, commuting, traveling, etc., these costs quickly add up.

As you know, gas prices are at an average of $2.20 a gallon across the U.S. and the nation’s tough economy is causing consumers to budget how much they travel and spend at the pumps. And recently, due to Hurricane Ike, which damaged many oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, major U.S. cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte experienced gas shortages of epic proportions that for a period of time saw most of the cities pumps bone dry. These situations make it imperative that motorists get as many miles per gallon from their car as they can or risk running out of gas. According to the Allstate Motor Club, calls for roadside assistance due to lack of gas is up 52 percent nationwide.

So what can motorists do to maximize the fuel efficiency of their cars and ultimately spend less money at the pump? Allstate has enlisted the expertise of NASCAR Crew Chief Kenny Francis, whose job it is to take care of Kasey Kahne’s No. 9 Dodge on a weekly basis and make sure he gets the most out of his Sunoco fuel, and Kahne’s Allstate agent Jason Efland who regularly provides his customers with safe-driving tactics that can make their cars even more fuel efficient.

KF: What are the worst mistakes a race car driver can make on the track to negatively impact fuel mileage? What’s the best thing a driver can do?

“The worst thing a driver can do for fuel mileage is consistently pump the throttle. When this happens, unneeded fuel is sprayed into the engine with each pump of the accelerator. If the driver is smooth and gets the throttle down with a single motion only the fuel that is needed will be pumped into the engine and the car will get better fuel mileage.”

JE: What are examples of driving practices that drivers may not be aware of that can negatively impact the fuel mileage of their car?

  • Revving the engine, accelerating quickly, traveling at high speeds.
  • Stop-and-go traffic, crowded roads and looking for a parking space all burn fuel as well.
  • Streamline your car. Don’t fly flags and remove ski or bike racks after use. These items cause additional drag on your car.
  • Park in the shade. Gasoline evaporates out of your tank faster if you’re parked directly in the sun. If there is no shade available, park so your tank is facing away from direct sunlight.
  • Lighten up your load. Remove unnecessary items from the trunk of the car and don’t fill up the gas tank all the way. Depending on your tank size, your car will have 50-100 pounds less to haul all the time, which will equate to less gas used.