My Check Engine Light

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The Truth Behind Your Gas Mileage

It’s a pretty fair statement to say that good gas mileage is something that interests us all. With the national average price for a gallon of regular fuel at $3.52, and premium fuel at $3.89 per gallon, (AAA’s daily fuel gauge report) getting the most out of the gas you put in your car, is more important than ever. Yet it never seems to work out quite the way it should. You read the sticker on the window when you buy the car, or do your homework online for buying a used car, and armed with the info from the EPA, or other authorities on the subject, you buy your car and proceed to drive. It happens slowly at first. You notice that you stop at the gas station more than what you had originally intended, but it doesn’t really intrude on your conscious thoughts very much. Then you gradually begin to notice that you seem to be at the gas station twice a week, and you still have a fairly new car that was supposed to help you save at the pump. So you go through the process of determining what your actual gas mileage is (fill the tank completely, find out how many gallons your tank is, drive until it’s as empty as it can be and still get you to the gas station, see how many miles you've gone, and then divide the number of gallons in your tank by the number of miles driven) and you find out it’s a couple to several miles lower per gallon than what was advertised. So what gives? Why isn't your car getting the 27 mpg on the highway that it advertised, or the 17 mpg in the city? The answer lies in the way the fuel mileage is calculated, and in the way it’s reported.

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Meet Sam Dillinger

My name is Sam Dillinger. I've been a professional, dealership technician for 18 and a half years. My first introduction to mechanical repair was when my own vehicle broke down in the fall of 1995. I was 18 and couldn't afford to pay to have it fixed. So I borrowed tools and asked a ton of questions and, eventually, was able to replace the clutch on my truck by myself. During the course of that project, I found that I really enjoyed having a wrench in my hand and figuring out the puzzle of disassembly and reassembly of a motor vehicle.

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