[note:  new video has been added on step 1!]
[note 2: Most of what I write isn't relevant to Instructables.  My main blog is here: biodieselhauling.blogspot.com]

[note 3: Also save energy at home.  See my energy guide: instructables.com/id/Not-your-average-save-energy-advice-use-less-en/ ]

Go 50-100% farther on a tank of fuel.

Due to its size and weight this truck is considered a commercial vehicle and is exempt from even light-truck CAFE standards. Even so, with the modifications I have made, I am getting higher mileage than CAFE standards for 2009 cars.

I read an article in Mother Jones Magazine about Wayne Gerdes, mileage champion, and was inspired. I have read that people tend to get between 10 and 16mpg on average in the same truck I have. I was getting around 15. After the mods described here, on a recent tank I got 30.28mpg.

The best thing to do is to not drive at all. Ride a bike, take the train, carpool.
If you do drive, buy the absolute smallest car you can. If you only need a big vehicle occasionally, rent one.

I bicycle or use my 70mpg 250cc motorcycle for personal transport, but my truck still gets a lot of miles, so I wanted to make it as fuel efficient as possible.
I use this truck for work, moving up to 3 tons of soil or broken concrete, entire 1 bedroom apartments worth of belongings (including furniture) in a single trip, etc.
I also need something with enough power to move my 7500lb RV trailer (which is also my home - a very efficient way to live: I use as much electricity in a month as the average American home uses in one day)

Most of these steps could be done to any vehicle, increasing mileage from 50% to 100% or more.

Step 1: The cheapest, and most important step

Modify driving habits

Single most significant difference, in any vehicle: "Adjust the nut behind the wheel"
(Drive more efficiently.)

Stay at (or below) the speed limit.
(Remember, you only save 7 seconds per mile going 75mph instead of 65mph, but stopping distance and wind resistance increase exponentially; twice as fast = 4 times the force)
(I have a much more in-depth look at speed at ecomodder.com/blog/slow)

Accelerate gently (Keep RPMs low whenever possible)

Never accelerate towards a stop light. (Every time you brake you are wasting momentum.  Remember this with the rhyme: "if you have to break, you made a mistake)

Never idle. A popular misconception is that it uses more gas to start than to idle. This was true of older (carbureted) engines. This is not true of modern (fuel injected) engines.

More advanced techniques include actually shutting off the engine and coasting as often as practical. (This can change the feel of the brakes and steering, see step 4)

(PLEASE READ the entire instructable and all the comments before commenting about how dangerous it is to coast.)

NOTE: many automatic transmissions can be damaged by coasting with the engine off.
To find out if yours is one of them, consult this list: http://www.motorhomemagazine.com/dinghytowingguide/
If you have an automatic, and your car is on the list, you can shut the engine while moving.
If it is not, do so at your own risk. You may still benefit from shifting into neutral (engine on) when coasting downhill or towards a stop, depending on whether or not your car has automatic deceleration fuel cut off (DFCI) built in (many newer cars do).

<p>ive never thought it made any sense for the headlights to not go off with ignition. Yet the radio does. </p>
<p>Living in a hot climate where the cabin temperature exceeds 55C with the car parked in the sun, you definitely will need air conditioning. Some folks just cant comprehend there are countries that experience hot weather every day of the year!</p>
<p>Inspiring! I had no idea you could get such big improvement. Its strange actually that many of your mods were standard up until the 1960s. for example most people here in Sweden used radiator covers in wintertime Since it made the heating work better. I am curious if you have thought about converting to electric? I havent found much info on converting bigger trucks.</p><p>Kind regards from Stockholm</p>
<p>Its easier to get a big improvement when you are starting from so low a point!<br><br>Electric works better with as light a vehicle as possible, with the limiting factor being batteries. There are a few hybrid trucks and buses (which have plenty of space for huge battery packs) but I think pure electrics in big vehicles is still pretty rare.</p>

About This Instructable


186 favorites


Bio: I am an ordinary guy. Except that I live in an RV, drive a 250cc motorcycle, have a truck that runs on bio-diesel, am vegetarian ... More »
More by JacobAziza: Super Stratego Reuseable sandwich holder Increase your refrigerator's efficiency in 10 minutes for about $2
Add instructable to: