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Getting the Most out of Your Gas Tank

Nancy Trejos

It’s almost summertime, which means that many of you are probably thinking of taking a road trip rather than spending money on air fare.

But with the average price of gas getting close to $3 a gallon, even a road trip can get quite pricey. So I thought I’d offer a few tips on improving your gas mileage.

I gathered these from the Federal Trade Commission as well as from Citi’s ExxonMobil Personal Card (and by the way, Citi is giving away $2,000 to one cardholder daily all this month if the card is used at an Exxon or Mobil station):

Don’t buy higher octane gas if you don’t need it. Most cars do well with regular octane gas.

Pack light. For every extra 100 pounds a car carries, its fuel economy is reduced by about 1 to 2 percent.

Don’t speed. Gas mileage decreases rapidly when you go over 60 miles per hour.

Avoid idling. Turn off your engine if you think you’re going to have to wait. Map out a route and a backup route in case the one you were going to take is too congested.

Avoid jackrabbit starts and stops. If you do, that can improve your gas mileage by up to 5 percent.

Take care of your tires. Keeping them inflated at the proper pressure can increase mileage by 3 to 5 percent. Your tires will also last longer, which will save you money in the long run.

Change your oil. Clean oil reduces the friction between the moving parts of your car.

Check and replace air filters regularly. That can increase gas mileage up to 10 percent.

Tune up your car. Keeping your car in good condition will save you money over time. In fact, if you fix a car that is out of tune or has failed an emissions test, it can improve fuel economy by an average of 4 percent.

The FTC recommends that you check out Saving Starts @ Home: The Inside Story on Conserving Energy on its Web site for more tips.

Have a great trip!

By Nancy Trejos  |  June 15, 2009; 9:16 AM ET
Categories:  Nancy Trejos  
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Perhaps these more extensive money-saving summer road trip tips would also be helpful to your readers. Drivers can save money on gasoline in the planning stage through trip conclusion with the Alliance to Save Energy's Drive $marter Challenge campaign road trip tips -- And, drivers can see how many hundreds of dollars they can save on gasoline with their specific vehicle by taking six driving and maintenance actions at the interactive Drive $marter Challenge website -- . FYI: Our research with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratories, one of 14 partners on this campaign, indicates that the air filter tip is only applicable to older cars. -- Rozanne Weissman, Alliance to Save Energy

Posted by: Rozanne | June 16, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget changing the gas filter as well.

I got 25 percent better gas mileage on a recent trip after I had the gas filter changed.

Posted by: ziggyzippy | June 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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