Editor’s Notebook: No Brainer! Vehicle Maintenance = Increased Fuel Efficiency

Editor’s Notebook: No Brainer! Vehicle Maintenance = Increased Fuel Efficiency

With gas prices inching above the current national average of $3 a gallon for regular gasoline, the news of a vehicle that achieves 130-150 mpg would be music to anyone’s ears.

Enter the highly fuel-efficient Loremo concept car. The German automaker plans to begin production of the car for European markets in 2009 (base model would cost about $22,000) and for the U.S. a year later, as detailed in a recent edition of SEMA eNews.

This spells good news for consumers who are increasingly becoming financially strained by the cost of refueling, altering driving habits to offset increased gas prices and buying hybrids in increasing numbers (interestingly, sales of hybrid vehicles increased 39% last year).

Two Loremo models are planned: An LS version powered by a 20 hp, two-cylinder turbo diesel, and a GT that gets an additional 30 hp from a three-cylinder engine. The car’s total weight of around 1,300 pounds and 0.22 coefficient of drag help it achieve its fuel economy ratings.

Whether or not the Loremo ends up in the U.S. is questionable, but the demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles is certainly not.

While buying a hybrid or a concept vehicle claiming to get up to 150 mpg might not be everyone’s answer to dealing with escalating gas prices, routine vehicle maintenance should be! Now more than ever, consumers seem to be dialed into this concept. In fact, 95% of consumers say they “understand that proper vehicle maintenance improves vehicle performance and increases mpg,” according to a consumer study conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).

Bingo! Consumers want fuel efficiency and YOU have the knowledge and expertise to ensure their vehicles perform in top-working order. Says Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO, “Never before has the aftermarket service and parts businesses been handed such a clear-cut marketing strategy. Communicating and marketing the gas savings aspect of DIFM and DIY vehicle maintenance will drive more traffic to shops and stores.”

With that said, be sure to check every vehicle that enters your shop’s bays for gas caps that might be damaged, loose or are missing altogether, underinflated tires, worn spark plugs, clogged air filters, dirty engine oil, damaged parts that need to be replaced (like worn belts and hoses), and the like. And seriously consider holding a car care event to tie into National Car Care Month in April (see Publisher Jeff Stankard’s column on page 72 for 10 tips to make your car care event a success).

Now more than ever, your customers need your help in maintaining their vehicles for peak performance and the resulting significantly improved gas mileage.

What are you waiting for? Get going…

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