Posted Tuesday, September 6/05
This spring when it came time to replace my 16 year old Honda Accord, I decided to put my money where my interests were and try one of the Suzuki clones.
Review: 1998 Pontiac Firefly - should you get one??
Posted Wednesday, September 7/05
Welcome to the bottom of the automotive food chain! When this car was new, it was the cheapest car for sale in the Canadian market. But is cheap bad? Depends what you mean by bad.
The government lies, and my car is fat
Posted Monday, September 12/05
My suspicion that the official mileage figures for the Firefly are overly optimistic are gradually being confirmed.
The EPA vs the EX (and the V8): beating the ratings
Posted Tuesday, September 13/05
After claiming yesterday that I could regularly beat the EPA ratings in my old Honda Accord EX, I looked it up just to confirm.
Firefly efficiency mods
Posted Friday, September 16/05
Tools, additions & modifications I've done in the quest for greater efficiency.
Honda hybrid quiz answers
Posted Monday, September 19/05
"So what! I drive a 15-year-old Metro!" Well, there is one feature on the Honda hybrid that applies to you. All Metros came factory-equipped with the "idle-stop" feature: the ignition key.
Honda hybrid math quiz
Posted Monday, September 19/05
Ever wonder how much of a difference specific car mods (or driving techniques) make to fuel efficiency? So did the engineers at Honda.
Don't take my word for it
Posted Monday, September 26/05
"Transportation pods" - now there's a diplomatic (and apt) description of the Suzukiclones. It's from a Toronto Star article, "Five cheap used cars - good on gas," that includes the lowly Metro.
69 mpg: I beat the Canadian rating
Posted Sunday, October 2/05
For those of you who are watching (i.e. me), it would appear I've finally beaten the elusive Canadian hwy fuel economy rating.
Online video: economy driving
Posted Tuesday, October 4/05
Reduce fuel consumption, lower emissions, and minimize wear and tear on your car. That's the message in a video I produced in 1993 which is online now and available for your viewing pleasure.
Your mileage may vary
Posted Tuesday, October 11/05
"Hybrid or not, if you want good fuel economy you have to drive like you want it." Truer words were never spoken. These came from autoblog.com, in an item about backlash against current EPA ratings.
Dutch 'new driving' techniques steer for efficiency
Posted Monday, October 17/05
The Dutch call it "the new driving" - and it's yet more evidence that Europeans take their driving more seriously than us North Americans.
Better mileage through video games
Posted Thursday, October 20/05
Two very different games are available online that try to teach users how to drive efficiently.
Economy driving: fun, illegal, or dangerous?
Posted Tuesday, October 25/05
Economy driving equals boring, slow and safe, right? Tell it to the judge!
The holy grail: 82 mpg in a Geo Metro XFi
Posted Thursday, October 27/05
as hard as it may be to believe, there was once an even more stripped-down, even more efficient version of the already legendarily stingy Metro 3-cylinder hatchback.
Gone in sixty seconds
Posted Tuesday, November 1/05
I missed out on a few incredible low-mileage cars during my search. The Suzukiclones that were in fantastic shape were in serious demand; four got snapped up by other buyers before I even had a chance to see them.
ScanGauge: electronic crack for the MPG addict
Posted Saturday, November 5/05
I just bought a nifty gadget that shows my fuel consumption in real time, while driving. I've only tried it once so far (and only for a few minutes, I swear), but I can already tell that the folks at rehab are going to have serious trouble with me.
9 reasons why your winter fuel economy bites!
Posted Saturday, November 12/05
Even with diligent all-around maintenance and continued careful driving, cold weather fuel consumption can be dramatically worse than in warm temperatures.
Ad nauseum: three articles updated
Posted Saturday, November 19/05
I've added a few bits of information to several older articles since originally publishing them.
A tale of two Metros
Posted Wednesday, November 23/05
Fast forward eight years to 2005 and there's a reunion of sorts: both 1998 Fireflies ultimately end up in my driveway with me as their owner. But their paths through life couldn't have been more different.
Posted Thursday, November 24/05
What is it with the Internet, Canadians, and their Suzukiclones? Automotive exhibitionists, eh?
Testing a 'performance' air filter for MPG - Part 1
Posted Monday, November 28/05
Will a high-flow air filter result in higher MPG? To find out, I put 3 filter types to the test using the recently acquired ScanGauge.
Papier mache aerodynamics: +1.5 MPG?
Posted Thursday, December 1/05
I tried a simple aerodynamic mod known as grille blocking, because it's quick and easy to set up. The results were surprising.
Testing a 'performance' air filter for MPG - Part 2
Posted Saturday, December 3/05
Let's get right to it. The second round of tests on the 3 filter types support the results from the first round. That is, there's no consistently measurable difference in MPG between the filter variations at a fixed speed.
Testing grille blocking & wheel skirts: +5.7% improvement
Posted Tuesday, December 6/05
Find out how my first steps into DIY aerodynamics increased my highway mileage by nearly 6% under controlled conditions.
In praise of the lowly block heater
Posted Sunday, December 11/05
In the hierarchy of exciting efficiency mods, the lowly engine block heater is sure to be found near the bottom.
All I want for Christmas is a plug-in hybrid pusher trailer
Posted Wednesday, December 21/05
I've often wondered if there's a way to hybridize my Firefly. Turns out that maybe there is.
MPG gadgets: Separating the wheat from the chaff
Posted Friday, December 30/05
Two links of particular interest -
Driving technique: exploring 'Pulse and Glide'
Posted Sunday, January 15/06
"Pulse and glide"... When I first read about this driving technique, I mistakenly assumed that it was possible only with hybrid technology. I was wrong. Pulse and glide works - in theory - on any car.
Testing a warm air intake (WAI)
Posted Thursday, February 2/06
A WAI set-up is easy to make, so about a month ago, I put one together for my car. It immediately suceeded in increasing my intake air temperature significantly, and I ran a controlled-as-possible test to see what it did for MPG...
1000 km by Blackfly: a 52.5 mpg (US) journey
Posted Thursday, February 9/06
Full MPG details of a 1000 km mid-winter trip. Plus: how a good tailwind helped me along to an astonishing 73 mpg (US) on one leg of the journey.
Posted Tuesday, February 14/06
Miscellaneous news, site updates, links of interest.
Posted Saturday, February 18/06
Here are some of the comments that have been e-mailed or submitted through the site's contact page.
Mini-experiment: cold start fuel consumption and warm-up time
Posted Wednesday, March 8/06
How long does it take an idling engine to warm up, and how much fuel does it use in the process? I didn't really know. Time to get some data!
Showdown: testing RPM vs. MPG at a fixed speed
Posted Monday, March 13/06
If you row your own gears (as most fuel economy nerds do), here's a mini-experiment that should be of interest.
MetroMPG miscellany 2
Posted Monday, March 27/06
Miscellaneous news, site updates, links of interest.
Using Google Earth to verify your odometer accuracy
Posted Wednesday, April 5/06
The further you sink into MPG nerdity, the sooner it will become clear that you need to know how accurate your odometer is. Why is it important? I'm glad you asked!
An old driving technique, a record tank - 60.7 mpg (US)
Posted Tuesday, April 25/06
Two records were broken lately: oil hit $75 US a barrel, and I squeezed 60.7 mpg (US) from my last tank of gas - a personal best.
Coasting experiment: engine off VS. engine idling
Posted Wednesday, May 31/06
When I learned that a kill switch that bypassed the ignition key kept the ScanGauge active while coasting with the engine off, I pretty much immediately set out to run a test to find out what I'd been missing.
Modified Metro XFi: throwing convention to the wind
Posted Friday, July 14/06
Apparently, owning one of the most fuel-efficient cars ever sold in the U.S. wasn't enough for Doug Heffron. So in 1993, motivated in part by his daily 50 mile commute, he transformed it in his garage into this amazing 2-passenger highway commuter car ca
Speed kills: testing MPH vs. MPG in top gear
Posted Wednesday, August 2/06
The fact that you're reading articles on a fuel economy web site says you're probably already aware that speed kills... mpg. Resisting the urge to drive fast is one of the easiest and most effective methods for seeing big savings.
Reflections on side mirrors: testing drag vs. MPG
Posted Thursday, August 31/06
Mirror, mirror on the door -
Is your airflow good or poor?
Sorry. I won't do that again. But that is indeed the topic of this instalment of what sadly appears to be becoming a once-monthly update at MetroMPG. (I will try harder next month - it's no
Kardboard Kammback: testing a partial boat tail prototype
Posted Saturday, September 9/06
What do you do if you're stuck with a conventional more or less van-shaped hatch? Just grin and bear the aerodynamic shame of it? No way! Get out the cardboard and duct tape, and go to work fixing what the stylists messed up!
Aero mods - 1930's style
Posted Tuesday, October 3/06
Harry Stevinson was decades ahead of his time. In 1933 at the tender age of 17, he put his self-taught mechanical & design talents to work fabricating a streamlined one-off car that was both faster and more efficient than the Model T Ford it was based on
Plug-in Blackfly: going alternator optional nets +10% mpg
Posted Monday, October 23/06
It turns out that not only does running without the alternator result in a real MPG gain, it turned out to be the largest single fuel economy improvement of all the mods I've tried to date. But there's a big caveat: the immediate fuel savings may not ma
The anti-Metro: how a home-built bicycle trailer lowers my MPG
Posted Tuesday, November 14/06
As strange as it may sound at first, my car's average fuel economy has declined because of a small cargo trailer I built this summer to pull behind my beater 10-speed bicycle.
Project 'nerd gear': taller tranny transplant nets +5.2% MPG
Posted Monday, December 18/06
I swapped transmissions in the Blackfly, and was rewarded with a healthy improvement in fuel economy.
2006 retrospective (there's more where that came from)
Posted Thursday, January 25/07
2006 was quite a year for MetroMPG.com. It was the first full year the site was up, and apparently (judging by the visitor stats), you efficiency nuts really enjoyed reading about the mods, driving techniques and experiments on the Blackfly.
Meet Rick: motorhead, econohead, Metro XFi owner
Posted Wednesday, February 7/07
Rick is a genuine motorhead - he's taken his considerable mechanical/technical experience honed on a fleet of traditional high performance cars and applied it to his 1993 Metro XFi to maximize its fuel economy performance for his daily commute. Thus he h
Interview with Ron DeLong, inventor of the ScanGauge
Posted Wednesday, February 21/07
I recently spoke to the inventor of the ScanGauge on a range of topics: his background, how the ScanGauge came to be, and some future plans for the magic little box.
Mini-experiment: the wrath of roof racks
Posted Saturday, March 10/07
I wondered how many people were aware of the magnitude of the fuel consumption penalty roof racks cause. I wasn't entirely sure myself, so I did a quick comparison and saw some dramatic results first-hand.
International heart transplant: the Blackfly gets an XFi cam
Posted Tuesday, April 24/07
In pursuit of better fuel economy, a few American TeamSwift.net and GasSavers.org members have already transplanted XFi cams into their regular Metros. Recently, I followed in their pioneering footsteps.
Q: How do you get 116 mpg (US) in a Metro XFi? A: Pulse and glide.
Posted Wednesday, May 30/07
With some coaching, the writer pulled off 116 mpg (US) on a closed course in a bone stock Geo Metro XFi.
Posted Thursday, August 16/07
By this time last summer I had already run a bunch of fuel economy tests and tinkered plenty with the Blackfly. This year, if it's not obvious already, I've done precious little. To the fossil fuel-powered car, that is.
The floor is yours: MetroMPG opens a fuel efficiency forum
Posted Tuesday, December 11/07
Announcing the launch of Ecomodder.com, a brand spanking new discussion forum about efficiency modifications, eco-driving techniques and fuel economy in general.
Project Convertible XFi: alfresco efficiency
Posted Thursday, January 3/08
Last time I wrote about Rick was to profile his modded-for-mileage 1993 Metro XFi hatchback. He has just picked up a lightly roasted 1991 Metro convertible for $150 and has launched the ambitious Convertible XFi Project.
Everything old is new again: Car and Driver magazine modifies an econobox to improve MPG
Posted Wednesday, March 12/08
34 years ago this month, in the March 1974 issue of Car and Driver magazine, there was an article about DIY modifications to improve fuel economy. The article was a direct response to the 1973/74 oil crisis - which the time people in North America
Experiment: how long should a block heater be plugged in?
Posted Thursday, April 17/08
The question this post addresses is: how long should you plug in a block heater? In other words, what's the shortest time needed for the maximum temperature rise?
100+ Hypermiling / ecodriving tips for better gas mileage
Posted Sunday, May 18/08
There's no question that the biggest potential fuel saving modification is adjusting the nut behind the wheel.
Metro mania: forget stocks, put your money in old Geos!
Posted Sunday, August 24/08
Apparently I'm not the only one who has downsized into a thrifty car lately. With $4 gasoline in the US this summer, people were abandoning their guzzlers... and apparently their common sense by paying startlingly high prices for some 1 litre action.
60+ vehicle modifications for better MPG
Posted Monday, October 6/08
The members over at EcoModder have recently compiled a comprehensive list of over fifty well understood & documented modifications that can save gas.