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Hypermiling, Does it Really Save Gas?

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Using Your Car’s Engine Intuitively to Get Better Gas Mileage.

There are lots of Hypermiling techniques being preached all over the internet and a lot of people employing them. Some of these are good common sense driving tips and some of these are just plain dangerous.

Some of these dangerous tips include tailgating (like a NASCAR car drafting the car in front of them) or over-inflating their tires (which they say is ok because the risk of injury from a blow-out is reduced because they will only drive under 50mph. Really?). The art of Hypermiling is very useful for saving fuel energy if it is done correctly.

Accelerating and Braking

Driving sensibly is always a good thing to do, but as it turns out, it also saves gas. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and their Fuel Economy Guide, gas mileage can be drastically improved by simply driving smoothly – not accelerating and braking harshly.

When a driver accelerates he should do it slowly and evenly and do the same with braking when possible. Keeping a close eye on what is ahead, and trying to anticipate what other drivers are going to do will help to prevent sudden stops and starts. If this is the only Hypermiling technique used, it will save the driver substantially. The EPA estimates that non-aggressive drivers can save up to 33% at highway speeds.

How to:

To learn slower acceleration, the driver should pay attention to how long it takes to normally accelerate from 0-60 mph. If it normally takes 10 seconds, slow that process to 15 seconds. This alone will save a lot of gas.

Use Cruise Control

Using the car’s cruise control is a helpful way to save energy. The cruise control aids the car in efficiently accelerating and slowing instead of possibly over-acceleration by a person. It also assists the driver by encouraging that he look further down the road and pay more attention to what is going on around him, in anticipation of what other drivers are going to be doing. This in refers us back to the previous point.

How to:

The driver should calculate the gas mileage during normal driving for 1 week. After this week is up, he should drive using the cruise control as much as possible for 1 week and compare the difference. NOTE: In mountainous or very hilly areas, cruise control can actually reduce the mileage because of it’s tendency to try and keep the car at a specific speed, accelerating and decelerating when it might not be necessary.

Windows Open vs. Air Conditioning On

This one seems to be in constant debate in the Hypermiling circles. Some say that the air conditioner puts a drag on the motor which in turn, decreases gas mileage. This is true. Some say that opening windows decreases aerodynamics and puts a drag on the car, decreasing gas mileage. This is also true. So Edmunds.com tested the theory out using cars going 65 mph with the windows down and one with the windows up and A/C on. They determined that there is no real benefit to gas mileage either way. For this they recommend doing what is comfortable. Edmunds.com: “We Test the Tips”

Other Tips from the Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA also recommends slowing down (as do many other organizations). They state that every 5 mph over 60 mph can reduce your fuel economy by 7-8%.

Avoid idling. While this is a good tip since when the car is idling and not driving anywhere it is getting zero miles to the gallon, sometimes this can’t be helped. Some people will turn their engines off in traffic to save the gas when they are sitting still. This practice doesn’t seem to make much of a difference since the surge of restarting the engine every few minutes negates much of the gas that is saved when it is turned off. Unless the car is going to be off for a while (at least a few minutes) then, leaving it running is the best bet.

Keeping a car properly maintained helps to increase fuel economy. If a car is running rough or has clogged filters fuel economy can plummet. The more efficiently an engine runs and suspension drives, the better the fuel economy.

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GetUpside Review: Save up to 50¢/Gallon on Gas – Promo Code: HXCHV

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GetUpside is a new app on the scene, looking to shake up the cash back rewards market. This app provides users with cash back on groceries, gas purchases, dining out, and everything in between.

This app is in the expansion phase, and is available mainly on the US east coast, in the following states: Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

If you are outside this geographic area, fear not. GetUpside is rapidly expanding operations. In the meantime, there are plenty of similar options in the app store, including Ibotta, Dosh and Drop.

But is GetUpside legitimate? How does it work? How do you get paid? These questions and more will be answered below.

GetUpside: An Overview

When signing up to cash back programs, users generally receive cash rewards for specific purchases at noted stores. These apps are ideal to make extra pocket money for purchases you are already making.

With GetUpside, this “money for nothing” concept is a reality. By turning the way cash back companies operate on its head, GetUpside provides ample reward opportunities for purchases at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and big-box retailers.

The service has partnered with hundreds of popular local businesses to ensure they remain one of the most diverse cash back options available. They tout it as a win-win for both customers and businesses, with the businesses increasing their customer base, and the customers receiving cash back on their essential purchases.

Here are some of the available opportunities GetUpside has advertised:

  • Up to 25 cents per gallon cash back on gas purchases from over 1,000 gas stations up and down the US East coast, from Washington DC to Florida. This includes all the standard large-scale stations, like Shell, BP, Marathon, Exxon and more.
  • Up to 15 percent cash back on grocery purchases in the greater Washington DC area.
  • Up to 25 percent cash back at hundreds of restaurant options in the greater Washington DC area.

How do I get set up to make money on GetUpside?

This part is shockingly simple. First, download the GetUpside app from the Google Play or Apple Store. While anyone can download the app, the scope of participating locations is currently limited.

Once downloaded, sign up with either your email address, or directly through Facebook or Google+. The sign-up process is a breeze.

Once you are registered and ready for action, allow GetUpside to determine your location. After doing so, you will see a map and list of available grocery stores, restaurants and gas stations in your immediate area.

When you click a participating location, you will see the amount of cash back paid either per gallon (for gas purchases) or based on a percent of the total purchase price at restaurants and grocery stores.

Restaurant options are not just hole in the wall places. Some current options include Botanero, Little Dipper Hot Pot, and Angelico. The same goes for grocery stores. Some current options include Moti’s Market and Street Market. The number of available locations is growing daily.

Find a location and claim an offer, then you’re ready to rock and roll.

Claiming offers on GetUpside

Pay close attention now. When you discover an offer you are interested in pursuing, claim it inside the GetUpside app, and prepare to redeem after making the purchase.

You can see the process for gas stations and grocery stores from the app itself, and the available offer for cash back. The most important piece, though, is to get a receipt. This is crucial, as a scan of the receipt is required to properly activate rewards. Also crucial is paying with a credit or debit card. Paying with cash or gift cards is not an option with GetUpside.

Within four hours of claiming an offer, you must upload your receipt. It is recommended to claim an offer before making a purchase, as offers change in real time, both in reward potential and availability.

Use the app to take a photo of the complete receipt. Ensure that the receipt has the following pieces of vital information visible:

  • Date and time of purchase
  • Address of the location
  • Items that were purchased
  • Last four digits of the card used to pay (to ensure credit or debit was used)

Provided a high-quality photo of the full receipt was taken, this information should be easily displayed without much hassle. Ensure the receipt is easy to read, and that the text is clear. This will negate any chance it would be rejected.

Also to note, GetUpside does not accept prepaid purchases for gas. Make sure not to prepay for your gas if you are looking to take advantage of their cash back offers at gas stations.

Redeeming rewards and additional benefits

One of the many benefits of GetUpside is that there is no minimum balance required to withdraw funds. This means you could get cash back of two dollars, and still can withdraw this to a PayPal account. PayPal transfers become available in one to two business days after the withdrawal request is made through the GetUpside app.

If you don’t have a PayPal, no need to be concerned. GetUpside also has an option for users to withdraw money for a check, mailed directly to their address, or gift cards where applicable.

However, please note that there is currently a fee of $1 for PayPal withdrawals under $15, and the minimum for a mailed check is $50. There are workarounds, though, and they come in the form of referrals.

Referring friends to GetUpside for bonuses and benefits

GetUpside has a wonderful referral program in place to grow its user base. This helps current users earn even more, and even obtain some hefty bonuses!

When you refer a friend to GetUpside and they use the app for the first time, you receive a 20 cent per gallon bonus on their receipt uploaded.

Additionally, you earn two cents for each gallon of gas that referred friends purchase and redeem through the app. Also, as mentioned above, there are bonuses for withdrawal fees as well. If you refer a friend to the app, and they use it once, any cash-out fees on the referrer’s end are eliminated.

This sounds too good to be true. Is GetUpside legit?

It absolutely is! GetUpside is a well-known program in the DC metro area, providing real cash back opportunities for local purchases.

With over 25 cents cash back on each gallon of gas, up to 15 percent cash back on groceries, and up to 35 percent on restaurant purchases, there are ample methods for earning some great side money through GetUpside, without changing your buying habits!

This might sound too good to be true, but take it from us that this is a legitimate opportunity, and works just like the cash back power players Ibotta, Drop and Dosh.

Signup is quick and easy, and the interface is intuitive and user-friendly. What are you waiting for? Click here to get started with GetUpside today!

Use Promo Code: HXCHV to save an additional 20¢ a gallon!

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Surviving Long Car Trips with Babies & Toddlers

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Travel Activities for Infants and Tots during Family Road Trips

Traveling with kids, particularly babies and toddlers, requires a lot of planning and preparation. Older children on long car trips can be distracted with a variety of activities due to their ability to read, write and count. But for babies and toddlers, the activities are somewhat limited. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be good traveling companions.

What parents need are some essential items for the car such as a diaper bag, tissues and wipes, first aid kit and food as well as a few fun car games to keep the little ones happy and occupied while on long car trips.

Baby Toys

Babies and toys get along just fine. And that’s why it’s a good idea to bring several small toys along. Don’t take them all out at the same time, though. Take them out one at a time so that they all stay “new”. When the baby seems to have grown bored with one toy, put it away and present her with another one. Parents can also buy some cheap and small toys when making stops during the journey.

Playing Peekaboo

Babies are often fond of playing peekaboo. Adults or older children in the car can all take turns to play peekaboo with the baby. Pulling funny faces is also highly entertaining for babies!

Dealing with Crying

The good news is that most babies can sleep through most of their journey. The bad news is when they get cranky, they may cry non-stop for a long while. Here are some tips to deal with crying while on the road.

  • Make sure the pacifier, blanket, and favorite toy are within easy reach.
  • If the crying continues, stop the car and check for rashes and other signs of discomfort.
  • Maintain the baby’s routine, particularly when it comes to feeding time and sleep time.
  • If the journey takes a few days, lodge at hotel rooms with a small kitchen or at least a microwave oven to heat up milk and cook simple, fast meals.
  • Assign someone who can tolerate loud and incessant crying for more than 10 minutes as the driver.

Surprise Goodie Bag

Toddlers will enjoy surprise goodie bags. Give each toddler a small bag filled with five to seven items such as small toys, stickers, balloons, picture books, coloring books, crayons, pencils, and erasers. Don’t open the bag and let them see the contents. Instead, get them to feel the bag and guess what the things inside are. Ask the children to guess the item one by one.

The guessing game itself will have eliminated a few minutes of boredom in the car. And when all the contents are revealed, the kids can get busy with them. To make drawing and coloring activities easier, invest in a snack and play travel tray for each toddler in the car.

Naming and Counting Objects

This is a good and fun way to learn new words and grasp numeracy concepts for toddlers. Use the objects you see as learning tools. Watch out for cows, horses, sheep, rivers, farms, houses, hills and other vehicles on the road. Name and count them as the car passes them by. However, be sure not to count to more than 10. Keep things simple and fun for the kids.

Singing and Rhyming

What’s a car trip without singing and rhyming? Get some CDs with children’s songs and nursery rhymes and sing along. Again, it’s a great way to learn new words. No children’s CDs? No worries! Just belt out any song to keep things alive in the car. Kids will love it too if Mum or Dad can sing off-tune or make silly sounds when singing.

Keeping babies and toddlers happy and amused on a long family road trip is challenging but not impossible. Just be sure to bring along their toys, coloring books, and crayons, have a contingency plan to manage crying and be prepared to play silly games and sing funny songs.

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Diesel

Recycled Grease Makes a Cheap and Green Fuel for Cars and Trucks

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Powering a Diesel Vehicle on Vegetable Oil

In 1898 Rudolph Diesel showed off his invention at France’s Exhibition fair. It was the first diesel engine, and it ran on peanut oil. It’s no wonder that automotive masters are returning to these roots, popping up everywhere with new ways to power a diesel car or truck with recycled vegetable oil.

Not Biodiesel, Just Straight Vegetable Oil

Biodiesel is a great way to run any non-modified diesel vehicle on vegetable oil. But, making biodiesel requires chemicals, start-up costs, and a garage full of equipment. Users often purchase it from a professional, just like any other fuel. It’s greener, but can be more expensive than using standard diesel.

The attraction to running a vehicle on straight vegetable oil (SVO) is that the oil does not have to be processed chemically. The only processing needed is good filtering, since SVO, also called waste vegetable oil or WVO, is obtained free of charge when restaurants are done using it for cooking. The other two elements needed are adding equipment to the vehicle to enable it to run on grease, then finding an oil source.

Dual Tank and Single Tank SVO/WVO Conversion Systems

“Conversion” isn’t the best way to describe the process of altering a vehicle’s fuel system to allow it to use vegetable oil since cars and trucks that run on grease can run on standard diesel and biodiesel too. A better term would be adding a “dual fuel” system.

The fuel components need tinkering because SVO needs to be hot before entering the engine to make it the same viscosity as diesel fuel. Vegetable oil hardens more easily and tends to be thicker than diesel, and thick fuel can damage an engine.

Various SVO systems heat the oil differently. Companies like Greasecar and Dino Fuel Alternatives recommend putting a second fuel tank in the vehicle’s trunk or bed. This extra tank is specially designed to heat the vegetable oil, so it’s thin when it enters the engine. The stock fuel tank remains in the vehicle and can run regular diesel, and special controls allow the driver to switch between diesel and SVO.

Another method, the single tank system, can be used in some circumstances. Companies like Elsbett and PlantDrive offer systems that employ the stock tank to hold either diesel or SVO and instead modify the fuel injectors and other parts to heat the fuel. Although these systems save cargo space by eliminating a fuel tank, they are not as fail-safe as the two-tank system and are recommended on older diesel cars in moderate climates (for instance a 1985 Mercedes in southern California). For the latest model cars and big trucks (Ford F-250s and the like), the two tank system is the safe bet, especially if the SVO user’s hometown gets cold in the winter.

Best Places to Find Waste Vegetable Oil

The key to finding a good oil source is to pursue quality rather than quantity. Ideally, the oil will be liquid at room temperature, and non-hydrogenated. Any type of vegetable oil normally used for cooking may be used, be it canola, peanut, or corn oil. The higher quality the restaurant, the better the cooking oil is likely to be. Chinese restaurants, for example, tend to use high-quality oil and change it often. The result is liquid oil that doesn’t have too many food particles or other debris.

Steer clear of fast food restaurants, since they use mostly hydrogenated oils that could be in solid form, making it hard to filter. Getting it into a fuel tank could be even harder.

Be sure to get permission from the restaurant’s owner before taking vegetable oil. Usually, owners are happy to give it away, since they may have to pay to dispose of it. An SVO user should coordinate with the restaurant owner by setting up a regular time and method of pick up. Then the owner knows, for instance, to put a five-gallon container by the back door every Tuesday evening.

Filtering Recycled Vegetable Oil

Perhaps the most important step in using SVO is to filter properly. Without good filtering methods, the vehicle’s fuel line and filter will be clogged with food particles and debris left by the restaurant’s cooking staff.

The good news is that filtering doesn’t require expensive equipment and can be done at home or even on the spot at the restaurant. Setting up the right system of hoses, filters, and drums, along with some trial and error, will ensure good methods. For some additional equipment costs, Greasecar even sells filtering kits that mount to the vehicle and pump and filter the oil in one step, right into a container or the vehicle’s SVO fuel tank.

Get Kudos for Being Green While Saving Money Too

Recycling vegetable oil for transportation saves the environment from harsh diesel fumes while saving the driver money. After initial vehicle conversion costs, the user can save thousands of dollars in fuel costs over time. It’s true what they say, it’s not easy being green; using SVO has to be a love and a hobby since it’s not as easy as stopping at the local gas station. But the rewards are priceless and empowering, knowing how to be green and save green too.

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