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In today's economy, we are all looking for ways to save money on gas and the cost of driving. The following is a list of tips that can help.
- Check tire inflation. Having the right amount of air in your tires is essential for car performance and tire life. Keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level increases fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon of gas. Check your tire pressure once a month and especially before a long road trip using a pressure gauge. You can find the appropriate tire pressure level for your car in your owner’s manual.
- Rotate tires regularly. Rotating your tires extends the life of your tires. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
- Keep wheels aligned. Proper alignment of your wheels will help increase the life and performance of your tires. When driving, watch out for potholes that could mess up the alignment.
The Gas Tank
- Use the right gasoline for your car engine. Follow your owner’s manual for the right octane level for your car. Using a higher octane gas than recommended not only damages your engine, it also puts a hole in your wallet with a higher cost.
- Avoid driving on “E” too often. Sediment from gasoline settles at the bottom of every gas tank. When you let your gas level run low, you force your car to run on the dirtiest gas in the tank. This can harm the fuel intake valve and cause your engine to work harder. The best advice is to never let your gas level get too low.
- Fill up smart. Fill up your vehicle during the coolest part of the day. With older pumps that don’t have a temperature-compensating flow meter, fuel is denser when it’s cool, so you actually get more for your money when you pump gas in the early AM instead of filling up at 5:30PM on your way home from work.
- Be skeptical about devices that promise to improve your gas mileage. Tests by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on supposed gas-saving devices (i.e. mixture enhances, fuel line magnets) have found that very few actually provide any fuel economy benefits.
The Steering Wheel
- Follow the speed limit. Driving at speeds over 60 mph decreases your gas mileage. Allow yourself extra time to get to your destination so you can drive at a safe and efficient speed.
- Turn off the engine if you’re waiting. Unnecessary idling wastes gas, costs money, and pollutes the air.
- Avoid abrupt starts and sudden stops. By driving “gently,” you put less wear and tear on your tires, engine, and brakes. You also improve your gas mileage.
- Use cruise control when appropriate. When you’re driving on the highway, using cruise control can improve your gas mileage. Maintaining a constant speed puts less strain on the engine and conserves fuel.
Under the Hood
- Keep your engine tuned. You can improve gas mileage by keeping your engine tuned. Refer to your owner’s manual for guidelines.
- Change your oil. Clean oil reduces friction between moving parts and improves gas mileage. Check your owner’s manual for the proper grade of motor oil for your car, and the schedule of frequency for changing the oil.
- Replace your air filters. Replacing clogged air filters can improve gas mileage up to 10% according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Remove extra material from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce your fuel economy by 2% according to the FTC. Remove your extra materials and save money on gas.
You, in the Driver’s Seat
- Carpool. Carpooling allows you to save money on gas and reduce emissions in the air.
- Combine small errands. Combining several short trips into one larger trip can actually reduce the amount of fuel your car uses. Starting your engine several times from a ‘cold’ start can use 2x as much gas as one trip covering the same distance with a ‘warm’ engine.
- Make use of public transportation. Alternative means of transportation (buses, bikes, or walks) saves you gas money, and wear and tear on your car.
“Save gas, extend tires’ wear with these tips.” The Los Angeles Times.
“Saving Money at the Gas Pump: A Bumper-to-Bumper Guide.” Federal Trade Commission Consumer Alert.
“Good, Better, Best: How to Improve Gas Mileage.” Federal Trade Commission Consumer Alert.
“Bad Driving Habits Can Wreck Your Wallet.” <span>Bankrate.com.</span>
“Ways to Improve Your Gas Mileage.” <span>CarBuyTip.com.</span>
“Five Ways to Keep Your Car Running At Peak Fuel Efficiency” http://lifehacker.com/5018471/five-ways-to-keep-your-car-running-at-peak-fuel-efficiency