Tips to get the best gas mileage

While gas prices haven’t pushed the $5 mark in almost a decade, nobody wants to spend more on gas than they have to. AAA cites the average price of gas was $2.85 September this year. We could limit our trips, car pool, use public transportation, or many other things to lower the amount of money we pay for fuel but, we are famous for our mobility. America is a country of drivers.

Slide4As a nation, Americans love to drive putting an average of 13,474 miles on the roads ever year according to Motley Fool contributor Matthew DiLallo. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration says the average American drives 13,476 miles every year. With Wyoming leading the 50 states in miles driven 22,306 per driver at an annual cost of $1,917.34 (second highest) per year. Those trips to the gas pump really do add up, so how do we keep fuel costs from taking such a large bite out of our wallet?

Trucking companies and others in the transportation industry know one of the keys to maximizing fuel efficiency is to keep the trucks in good top working condition. According to Fleet Hall of Fame inductee and Over The Road Truck blogger, Mike Antich, the 2019 forecast is filled with corporate strategies to procure the most fuel efficient and task specific vehicles to add to their fleets. Aging fleets can seriously impact the bottom line in several ways fuel consumption ranking at the top along with deprecation.

While no one can change deprecation, we can take a hint from the transportation industry. The professionals and well informed “DYI-ers” can use diagnostic tools to help pin-point the perfect ratio of oxygen to fuel, timing lights to adjust the spark plug firing, and aftermarket modifications (mods as those in the know call them), to alter the vehicles default settings. Some states have statutes limiting aftermarket changes to the fuel/oxygen ratio. Be sure you are up to date on your training and states’ emission laws before you make any modifications.

However, there are simple steps professional drivers as well as average commuters can take to improve fuel efficiency. Most of the remedies for poor fuel consumption are basic. Don’t run the A/C at full blast on every trip, cut back on auxiliary items such as navigation systems and refrigerators, ensure your gas cap seals tightly, and most importantly: slow down. Another overlooked fuel saver is the basic tune up. Keeping your vehicle in top shape can boost fuel efficiency.Slide2

You can take your car in to a professional or you can do the job yourself. Be sure you have the basic tools for the job: socket set, screwdrivers, and ratchet are items most people already have on hand. Other, not so common items you may need are a spark plug gap tool, spark plug socket, collapsible magnet, tire gauge, and tread tool (tires are a part of the tune up too). Don’t forget electrical grease and your camera. The electrical grease keeps contacts from rusting and lets the electricity flow. Use your camera to take before and after pictures to be sure you put everything back in the right place the right way. Don’t overlook your cars owners manual. It’s a great resource to guide your tune up.

Another excellent resource is YouTube. Yes, YouTube. This is a great way to brush up on your tune up skills and learn the latest in car maintenance. Try searching for videos using the term ‘Hypermiling’. Hypermiling is the latest slang term denoting all the ways to keep your fuel efficiency up and costs down. However, the same basic rules still apply: keeping it simple is the best way to improve your autos performance. Bear in mind there are plenty of fuel saving myths out there too.


Some of the myths such as buying gas when it’s cooler so you get more are theoretically correct but don’t work in practice. According to Consumer Reports, most fuel stations store fuel underground which results in only small fluctuations in temperature no matter what the temperature is on the surface. They also have found that Low Rolling Resistance tires may save a small amount on fuel, however, keeping the tires properly inflated will make up the difference. They suggest buying good, all around tires.

To truly maximize efficient fuel consumption, though, improve your driving habits. Reduce your speed, keep your vehicle tuned, and tires properly inflated. These simple steps will keep more money in your pocket without taking away your American love of the open road.




The 2014 Jaguar F-Type – WOW!

Good day, friends. Today we’re going to look at the 2014 Jaguar F-Type. The first time I saw the new design, I was in awe. I absolutely love it. It has beautiful sleek lines and an aggressive stance.


However, the look of this bad boy isn’t the only impressive thing. There are three models being currently offered, The F-Type Coupe, The F-Type Convertible, and the The F-Type Coupe R. They each have their own unique identities and different performance specs, and all are fast, sound amazing, and are fun to drive. Unfortunately for me, I don’t own one; but I did jet over to my local Jaguar dealership and take one out for a test drive.

“The F-Type Coupe carries over the same engines as the convertible, but replaces the V8S convertible model with the F-Type Coupe R, which makes an impressive 550-horsepower.

We loved the exhaust note of the F-Type, so it’s safe to say this V8 R will sound like a herd dinosaurs charging down the street.

Also new for the F-Type coupe is a set of carbon ceramic brakes, which will help turn this car into an ultimate performance machine capable of delivering the goods on the track or the street.” –


They do come with a hefty price tag, but you’re definitely getting a big bang for your buck. Here is a look at the pricing for the convertible option.

$69895      F-TYPE 2dr Conv V6
2-Door Rear Wheel Drive Car, 340 bhp, 332 lb-ft, 8-sp Automatic, 20/28 mpg
2 passengers, 3525 lb, 3-liter, supercharged, turbocharged, V-6 engine, 10.4 lb/bhp

$81895      F-TYPE 2dr Conv V6 S
2-Door Rear Wheel Drive Car, 380 bhp, 339 lb-ft, 8-sp Automatic, 19/27 mpg
2 passengers, 3550 lb, 3-liter, supercharged, turbocharged, V-6 engine, 9.4 lb/bhp

$92895      F-TYPE 2dr Conv V8 S
2-Door Rear Wheel Drive Car, 495 bhp, 460 lb-ft, 8-sp Automatic, 16/23 mpg
2 passengers, 3675 lb, 5-liter, supercharged, turbocharged, 8-cylinder engine, 7.4 lb/bhp

The F-Type Coupe R gets even pricier

“With soaring performance, the F-TYPE R Coupe offers outstanding levels of dynamic capability and control. Its 5.0 liter supercharged V8 engine produces 550 horsepower, accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds3. The F-TYPE R features an Electronic Active Differential, Jaguar Super Performance Braking System, and Sport Suspension with Adaptive Dynamics. MSRP starting at $99,000” – Jaguar Website

With that said, the new Jaguar F-Type is our second favorite elite sports car for 2014. Falling into second place behind the amazing new Corvette Stingray
Sources: – Car & Driver – Motor Trend –

Starting the Year Off With a Bang – 10 Tips to Make Your Car Go Faster

This post is for those of us who like to go fast. As we start 2014, let’s look at the best ways to make our cars and trucks go faster. Some of these are cheap, and some will cost you. But as well all know, you get what you pay for. And here at National Tool, we like to do things right the first time.

1. Take Care of It
Regular servicing, including changing the various fluids and filters, is vital if you want to keep your car delivering the performance it was designed to give.

Not only that, but on tuned motors it’s a good idea to take your car to a respected tuner once a year so, as well as regular servicing, they can check and adjust fuel and boost pressures, ignition timing, and if necessary, the mapping of the car’s ECU to keep the car running at peak performance.

It’s not unusual for some cars to need large adjustments, even when they seem to be running perfectly fine. In the past we have seen gains of nearly 30 horse power to the wheels, just from a dyno operator adjusting the ignition timing to its optimum.

2. Let it Breathe.
Almost all cars come with restrictive inlet and exhaust systems as standard, mainly to cut down on noise, but also to deliberately reduce power levels for economy and reliability reasons. Catalytic converters are very restrictive too (there isn’t really a way around this one though)

Because of this, it’s not uncommon to gain 5-10 percent extra power from a full exhaust system, cat-back pipe and induction kit on a modern car. Filter and exhaust combos don’t cost a fortune either, so should be the first performance mods you buy.

A performance ECU chip is also a simple mod, improving power for relatively little cash. You’ll only get small gains on a N/A car, but turbocharged cars can sometimes give upwards of 25 hp.

3. Gas It!
Once you’ve fitted an exhaust and filter, tuning gets more expensive. One exception to this is nitrous, which can give huge gains for the least amount of money.

Nitrous is an oxygen-rich compressed gas, which, when injected into the engine with the corresponding amount of extra fuel, gives an immediate boost in power.

Most standard production cars can happily withstand a 50bhp increase in power via nitrous with no ill-effects, and that’s enough to make any car a load faster. Remember the gas doesn’t last long, so you’ll need to pay for re-fills and that adds up.

4. Strip it Out
You’ve probably noticed the difference in performance of your car when you’re on your own in it and when it’s fully loaded, especially in small cars.

Well, apart from not giving fat birds lifts, another good plan for more performance is to strip the car out. Things such as seats, interior trim, ICE, sound deadening, the spare wheel and air conditioning systems all weigh a hell of a lot. With them removed you’ll not only have faster acceleration, but also better braking and handling, too.

However, the best thing about it is that it costs nothing! Once you want to spend some money you can replace your standard seats with lightweight fiberglass or carbon fiber buckets, glass windows with Perspex, and steel panels with fiberglass or carbon ones.

5. Stroke It
This is neither cheap nor easy, but increasing the capacity of your engine is always a great way to improve all-round power and torque. This is done by totally rebuilding the engine with a new longer-stroke crankshaft to increase the swept capacity of the engine.

There is a double advantage when this is done to a turbocharged motor, because when you increase the capacity you don’t just get the aforementioned gains in power and torque, but a bigger engine means more exhaust gas too. This means your turbo will spin up much sooner, and also enables you to run a much bigger turbo than you could on the smaller engine, but without giving any more lag.

The only disadvantage is that some stroker kits can make your safe rev limit slightly lower, but the fact the new stroker crank is often far stronger than standard means the safe rev limit can sometimes actually be higher.

6. Engine Transpalnt
What better way to make your car quicker than to rip out its wheezing old lump and fit something bigger and more powerful?

Some engine swaps are easy, where it’s just a drop-in replacement, but really the only limits to the swaps are your imagination and your wallet! And who’s to say the engine has to go back in the same place? You could go rear-engined, or if you’re really nuts fit twin engines!

As well as the engine you will need the wiring loom, ECU, and all that sort of thing from the donor car, and often the gearbox and other parts, too. It’s not the most straightforward mod in the world, but can totally transform your car and can even work out cheaper than tuning your existing engine.

7. Blow It
Engines give power by compressing and igniting the fuel/air mix inside the cylinders, and the more that’s in there, the more power you will get. Well, the best way to get more in there is to force it in under pressure with a fan.

Turbo and supercharger conversions are never cheap, but if you want the maximum amount of power possible from your engine, it’s really the only way to go.

On a normally aspirated engine even 100bhp per liter is considered highly tuned, and 150bhp per liter is usually reserved for mega-budget race engines. But in turbo engines, 100bhp per liter is considered ordinary, and upwards of 250bhp per liter is possible from the majority of engines.

8. Diff It!
This is hard to imagine unless you’ve experienced it, so you will have to take our word for it, but lowering the gearing of your car (either with a close-ratio gearbox or low-ratio diffs) will drastically improve your car’s acceleration, in exchange for a lower top speed.

Often this can be achieved by swapping your gearbox or diffs with a unit from a different model from the same company, but if there are none available there are many aftermarket transmission specialists than will be happy to help you out.

Performance isn’t all about power and acceleration. If your brakes are crap then you’ll be off the accelerator and jumping on the stoppers far earlier than you would with a good brake setup, and over a long stretch of road or track this will make you significantly slower overall. If you’ve got good anchors you can stay on the gas until the last minute, maximizing acceleration time and minimizing braking time, improving your average speed and making you faster in the long run.

Best of all, basic brake upgrades such as better discs and pads are pretty cheap, so you don’t need to break the bank to achieve some big performance gains. The most basic mod would involve some uprated brake pads.

The next step is some drilled or grooved standard-size discs, and again it’s quite a cheap and straightforward upgrade. If you want a serious brake setup then many companies can do you a big brake conversion that consists of massive discs and equally huge calipers, giving unbeatable stopping power.

Discs, pads, and calipers aren’t the only important brake parts. Uprated fluid, brake lines and braces to keep the master cylinder steady are also important and fairly cheap upgrades that can be done.

10. Rubber
Having tons of power is no good if you can’t transfer it to the road. You might have 300 hp, but when a standard car leaves you for dead as your car just sits there in a cloud of wheel smoke, it’s pretty pointless isn’t it?!

Sticking with standard-width normal road tires won’t do much good when you’ve seriously bumped up the power, so it’s time for some fat, sticky tires. There’s a huge range available, and not only will the extra grip help your acceleration, it will improve your cornering speeds, and reduce braking distances too.

Many modern hot hatches can take 225-wide tires, and performance RWD
cars can often take 255-wide rubber or more on the rear, so there are no excuses to run on standard-width tires!

Happy New Year everyone. If you have any questions, please post them below. We would love to learn more about your projects and upgrades.

10 Best Motorycles for 2014

It is a sad day for those who us who have been loyal Sons of Anarchy fans for the past 6 years. I could go on a long rant about everything that has happened and my thoughts on the series finale that we will be watching tonight, but I won’t. In honor of the series finale I am going to share with you, my 10 favorite buys for motorcycles in 2014. We’ll count down from 10 to 1 to keep the suspense like our friend Kurt Sutter does in SOA.

10. Star Bolt

Price: Starts at $7990

The Japanese bike builders are never shy about emulating American cruisers, but this time Star (Yamaha’s cruiser division) has not only cloned the legendary Harley-Davidson Sportster, but somehow improved on the American classic. The new Bolt is an entry-level cruiser bike that targets the Harley Iron 883. But the Bolt’s 942-cc twin delivers more torque, so it’s probably slightly quicker than the Harley. There’s more suspension travel, as well, so there’s a definitive ride quality advantage too. And at just under eight grand, the Bolt costs about $400 less than the Iron 883. It’s one of the best deals out there for an affordable, classically styled cruiser.

9. Indian Chief Classic

Price: Starting at $18,999

Remaking an icon is a risky business. You can tarnish the name of something that was once great. This time, the team at Polaris did it right. Isn’t she beautiful?

To start, they developed an enormous 111-cubic-inch V-twin. This bad boy boasts a respectable 119 lb-ft of torque. The engineers dressed the motor in a new frame and gorgeous retro bodywork.

The new Indian bikes are available in three models: the Classic, Vintage, and Chieftain. And while it might be hard to look at a nearly $20,000 motorcycle as a good value, in the world of cruisers, the Indians offer a lot of standard equipment for the price. For instance, full leather seats and saddlebags come standard on the Vintage model, and a power windshield comes standard on the Chieftain‚ all though those two cost more than the Classic. All bikes come with keyless starting.

8. Yamaha FZ-09

Price: Starting at $7990

It’s usually the bikes that have been on the market for a while that tend to be the best values. Not in this case. The new FZ-09 costs around $800 less than the outgoing model, and it gets better. The new Yamaha also undercuts the competition by more than a grand, making the FZ-09 one of the best deals of the year.

Beyond the money, this is one fun-to-ride and tough-looking machine. The new 850-cc triple belts out 115 hp and enough torque to have you squirting through traffic. As fun as the FZ-09 is in the canyons, it doesn’t beat the rider up on city streets‚Äîthe suspension is on the soft side, which we appreciate.

7. Victor Cross Roads 8-Ball

Price: Starting at $15,999

In our opinion, this is the best deal you’re going to get on a new Victory bike. These blacked-out models look sinister because there’s nearly no chrome on them at all. We like the look, and, in the case of the new Cross Roads 8-Ball, it saves two full grand over the standard model. And the riding experience is no different than any other Cross Roads, because under the tank is the same torquey 106-cubic-inch V-Twin paired to a six-speed.

The Cross Roads is one the purest bagger-style cruisers around‚Äîthere is no windshield or extra bodywork, just a couple of hard, lockable saddlebags. If you’ve got a few extra dollars in your wallet, there are plenty of Victory accessories that can help the 8-Ball stand out at the local Sunday biker spot.

6. Kawasaki Ninja 1000

Price: Starting at $11,999

The new Ninja 1000 could be called a crossover sportbike. Yes, it’s an aggressively styled, hyper-quick sportbike, but it’s also mellow enough in temperament to appeal to the everyday rider or weekend tourer. The Ninja 1000’s 125-hp motor is an animal‚Äîbuilt to provide serious back-road thrills. Good thing, then, that this bike comes standard with the same three-mode traction control system as Kawasaki’s top-level ZX-14R, as well as ABS. Getting that level of technology on a bike under twelve grand is bargain. Best of all, the Ninja 1000 can be optioned with hard saddlebags, so this sportbike can handle many long miles just like a real sport tourer.

5. Ducati 899 Panigale

Price: Starting at $14,995

Ducati’s heroic and hard-edged 1199 Panigale superbike is a monster that delivers nearly 200 hp of nearly racing bike performance on a track. It also costs just shy of $20,000. Opt for the even more focused R model and that price tag moves up to nearly $30,000. But the new 899 Panigale brings a taste of that performance down to where many more wallets can enjoy the fun.

The 898-cc twin still belts out nearly 150 hp—plenty on any back road. The smaller Panigale borrows from the chassis of the larger bike and packs many of the advanced technical features too, including traction control, switchable engine tuning maps, a ride-by-wire throttle, and more. When you consider the engineering, the tech, and the Ducati racing pedigree, fifteen grand for a top-flight Italian sport bike is a descent value.

4. Harley-Davidson Sportster Superlow

Price: Starting at $8249

For many bikers, the only ride worth owning has the name Harley-Davidson stamped on the side of the fuel tank. There’s an authenticity to the brand that can’t be duplicated. Unfortunately, many of the more elaborate bikes in Harley’s stable are quite expensive. But way down at the bottom of the range is the Sportster Superlow, an entry-level cruiser that still delivers the Harley experience.

The Superlow, as the name suggests, has the lowest seat height (27.4 inches) in the Sportster range. It’s about a half-inch closer to the ground than other Sportsters. That makes it a great bike for new or shorter riders. The Superlow might be the least expensive Harley, but it still benefits from a host of improvements for the brand’s 2014 model year, including a larger and more powerful braking system with optional ABS. And the best part about owning a Harley is that there are plenty of custom parts available to make the bike your own.

3. Victory Judge

Available in Gloss Black, Sunset Red, or Suede Nuclear Sunset for 2014, the Judge’s retro muscle car looks are sleek and inspired. Victory listened to customers who complained about the ergonomics on the original Judge and added some ergonomic refinements a couple years back, such as bringing the bars back to meet the rider and moving foot controls rearward as well.

Its 1731cc Freedom V-twin gives you 113 ft.-lbs of torque for the taking. It also boasts a 6-speed overdrive transmission, so you won’t get up into 5th, leaving you wishing you had one more gear. This is retro done right.

2. Star VMAX

Price: Starting at $17,990

So what’s the big deal about the VMAX? Just, you know, the fact that it’s a 1679cc V4-powered beast that makes 174 hp and can do 0 to 60 in a mere 2.5 seconds. It boasts a 30.5-inch seat height, just like the Ducati Diavel. Pricing is similar to the Diavel Dark, but at least a grand less than the other Diavel variants. The Diavel is its closest competition, and like the Duc, its madly futuristic style is polarizing. No matter how we ultimately feel about individual designs themselves, we love it when manufacturers make bikes that don’t look like anything else on the road

1. Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle (VRSCF)

Price: Starting at $15,489

Powered by the 1247cc Revolution V-twin, that makes 122 hp with 86 ft.-lbs of torque, this bike was made for the drag strip. Since its introduction, the V-Rod has divided fans of The Motor Company. Its styling is a clear and modern departure from the venerable classic styling for which H-D is known worldwide, and that engine … well, that engine is also in a liquid-cooled class of its own.

We’ll throw in one more for good measure!

Confederate X132 Hellcat

Price: Starting at $55,000
Featuring the 2,163cc X132 Copperhead engine, with a claimed 132 hp and 150 ft.-lbs of torque, and only weighing in at 500 lbs., this thing is a weapon. Innovative lightweight features including carbon fiber wheels make this monster possible. On a list full of performance machines that will turn heads for various reasons, this is clearly the one to beat — but it’ll cost you.
Sources: Motorcycle Week, Popular Mechanics, Complex, and StreetFiend
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