im thinking that a choked fuel filter would NOT result in worse gas mileage...am i correct?
the other day i had to turn the engine over for an unusually long time before it fired up. could that be a symptom of a choked filter? or would that, in any way, be indicative of old spark plugs?
You had one long crank? COuld be just moisture in the tank.
DOn't change any parts yet until it's more systemic.
To answer your questions, I do not think a clogged filter would result in a long crank. You'll first hear the fuel pump straining to maintain fuel pressure before a long crank. Old plugs? Maybe, but you should get it every crank if they are old (or at least much more often).