Here are some tips that will help drivers save gasoline and money.
* Consolidate trips and errands to cut down on driving time and miles traveled.
* Find one location where you can take care of everyday shopping chores. Comparison shop by phone, online or through newspaper ads.
* Avoid quick starts and sudden stops. This wastes fuel, is harder on vehicle components and increases the odds of a traffic crash.
* Stick to a routine maintenance schedule. Keeping tires inflated, moving components properly lubricated, and ignition and emission systems operating properly will help ensure maximum fuel efficiency and extend the life of your vehicle.
Your driving style can have a significant impact on the amount of fuel you use. Remember the following:
* Know the correct starting procedure for your car. Don’t race a cold engine to warm it up or allow it to idle for an extended time. Avoid rapid acceleration until the engine temperature is in the normal range. The engine will warm up faster under a light load, and emissions equipment will begin to function sooner.
* Maintain steady speeds for the best fuel economy. A car uses extra fuel when it accelerates.
* Use the air conditioner conservatively. Most air conditioners have an "economy" or "recirculation" setting that reduces the amount of hot outside air that must be chilled. Both settings can reduce the air-conditioning load — and save gas.
* Keep your eyes open for low fuel prices, but don’t waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents. If your vehicle's engine does not need premium fuel, using anything other than regular is simply a waste of money.
* Smaller engines usually equate to better gas mileage.
* Light exterior and interior colors and tinted windows can reduce heat buildup, which saves on air conditioning.
* Routine oil changes will keep your engine running smoothly, reduce harmful emissions and prolong the life of your vehicle.
Check your owner's manual for routine maintenance instructions, and keep the following points in mind:
* Spark plugs must be in good condition. Some will last for 100,000 miles, but many need to be replaced more often.
* Check the air and fuel filters at least twice a year. Dirty filters increase fuel consumption and can cause poor performance.
* Inflate tires according to manufacturer recommendations. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.
* Don't top off your gas tank. In warm weather, fuel expansion can cause overflow.
* If you must replace a gas cap, make sure it is the right one for your car. A poorly fitting cap can cause engine problems, increase emissions and reduce fuel economy.
* Keep track of gas mileage. If you notice a decrease in fuel economy, your vehicle may not be operating at peak performance.
* To control replacement tire costs, eliminate driver behaviors that decrease tread life of the tires, such as speeding, excessive braking, driving over curbs, and load distribution.
When combining short trips, try taking the furthest point first if possible. This makes it more likely that your engine will fully warm up and be optimal for the subsequent legs of the trip (assuming the engine doesn't cool too much at each stop).