Clean Your Car to Increase Fuel Mileage

October 21st, 2008 BY njkaters | 10 Comments

We have been focusing largely on driving behavior and technology when giving our Tuesday fuel saving tips at HybridMile. While a hybrid car or a truck with a continuously variable transmission may cut your gas usage, you may be losing mileage as rainwater and debris collects on your hood. You can make up some of this gas mileage by washing and waxing your car regularly.

This tip may not seem as important as oil changes and using cruise control but it has been proven to cut down on gas mileage. Engineer Tom Wagner Jr. has found that a simple car wash and wax at a local gas station can increase fuel economy by 7% over a long trip. Wagner Jr. drove a decade-old Dodge Ram over 1,600 miles in a single trip, saving plenty of money in the process. While Wagner’s example is anecdotal, it is plausible for a clean car without debris to require less fuel than its dirty counterpart.

The claims made by Tom Wagner Jr. have been repeated frequently throughout the Internet though major publications have not yet taken up this test. About.com, Daily Fuel Economy Tip and other informational websites have encouraged drivers to get their cars cleaned to fight high gas prices. This tip may seem unsubstantiated but it is no sillier than removing boxes from your car or changing your hub caps to reduce drag. Every automaker measures the angles and shapes of each vehicle within millimeters to provide the best aerodynamics possible. Each step you take to keep your car as close to the factory standard as possible keeps money in your pocket.

The fuel saved by cleaning off thin layers of dust can be offset with the environmental damage caused by cleaning agents. You can save money and reduce your footprint by using eco-friendly car soaps like Simple Clean’s Green Car Wash Cleaner. This soap is biodegradable as well as powerful in stark contrast to the soaps used at local car washes. This product is packaged in a fully recyclable bottle to top off your excursion into green car washing. By using your own green soap, you can conserve water, recycle the bottle and save gas spent idling in the car wash.