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Ways to save at the pump

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 11:20 a.m. CDT

Gas prices are rising all across the nation, and it is affecting many Americans. Some economists have said that gas prices have a direct relation to the economic recovery.

There are a few ways one can get the most gas mileage out of his or her vehicle:

Planning your trips — many people take unexpected road trips throughout the week, but planning ahead can make a difference. Planned trips can allow you to better manage your gas and money. When planning, be sure to take into consideration the amount of traffic lights. A constant stop-and-go will consume more fuel versus a highway. Be sure to stick to a travel plan once made.

Avoid braking— every time you brake, it means fuel is used. When a traffic light is red, it is best to “coast.” Coasting refers to when the driver does not use the brake, and lets the car stop naturally. This technique can also be used in traffic jams.

Avoid drive-thrus — when it is cold outside, many people opt for the drive-thru. A long line can mean money lost. A few minutes in the restaurant can mean more money in your wallet.

Manage car weight — more weight means more gas consumed. It could also mean it may be time to upgrade your vehicle. It is not always the easiest thing to do, but if a vehicle gets fewer than 18 miles per gallon, it may be time to start thinking about an upgrade.

Fueling up — a full gas tank can do more harm than good. When filling up, it is best to fill the vehicle up halfway. Remember that 10 gallons adds about 60 pounds of weight to your vehicle, and try and keep your tank above the one quarter full mark.

Reduce speed — when accelerating at a quick rate, it means the vehicle will need more fuel to keep up with the driver’s desired speed. When accelerating, do it gradually. For a manual vehicle, practice “short shifting.” This is a technique that allows the vehicle’s gear to change up before necessary. Wind can also be a factor, but this cannot be helped.

Cruise control — the ability to be maintain one’s current speed without having to keep one’s foot on the accelerator is a big money saver. Using cruise control allows for consistency and results in less fuel consumption.

Proper tire inflation — proper inflation means smoother traveling and better gas mileage. Be sure to check your tires pounds per square inch. Normally, your tires lose about one PSI every month, weather permitting. Cold weather can decrease this, and heat can cause you to lose more. Some gas stations supply free air for customers, and others have machines that automatically compress the right amount of air for you. If you have to manually fill-up, be sure not to over-inflate your tires. This could result in your tire exploding. The proper PSI for your can be found in your owners manual.

Air conditioning — And finally, avoid using the air conditioner when possible — the AC consumes fuel — so in the summer, be sure to roll down the window to enjoy the weather and enjoy the savings.

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