Fuel saving tips

If your vehicle’s engine does not need premium fuel, using anything other than regular is a waste of money. Premium gas isn’t necessarily superior to regular gas, rather it has a higher octane, meaning a slower burn rate. Some engines require this type of gasoline but it will say so in the owner’s manual. If it doesn’t, then regular unleaded will do the trick. Premium gas will not get you better mileage or more power.

Aggressive driving, including speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking, wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent when driving at highway speeds and by 5 percent when cruising around town. This 5 to 33 percent is equivalent to gasoline savings of 7 to 49 cents a gallon. Observing the speed limit can also help. Gas mileage decreases quickly at speeds above 60 mph. For each 5 mph driven over 60 mph, you’ll pay an additional 10 cents per gallon. Using cruise control on the highway helps maintain a constant speed that can help you save gas. Also, take the time to clean out that trunk before a big trip. The heavier the load in your car, the more gasoline used. Use the air conditioner sparingly. The A/C puts more force on the engine, forcing more fuel to be used – about 20 percent more.

Anything from a filthy air filter to under-pumped tires can put a strain on your engine. AAA estimates that a driver can burn about $90 a year just by neglecting their tires. The rounder the tire, the less energy it requires to roll.

The situation for the consumer is expected to get worse before we see any relief. Don’t forget, the federal government allows you to take tax breaks when you buy a hybrid. But you better do it soon, because those breaks are scheduled to phase out 2007.  

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