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Pain at the Pump: Is Filling Up Costing You?

Are you feeling a little pain at the gas pump? Chances are the answer to that is YES. According to AAA, the national average of regular gas is up over 60% from this time last year. With gas prices rising significantly, filling up the gas tank can very easily break the bank these days. The time is now to do what we can to help ease the pain at the gas station. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) there are a few tips to help maximize your fuel economy.

Keep your car in good repair—Making sure your tires are inflated to the recommended pressure and replacing a clogged air filter can drastically improve you gas mileage by as much as 13%.

Drive Sensibly—Aggressive driving (speeding and rapid acceleration and breaking) can lower your gas mileage by as much as 30% at highway speeds and 40% in stop and go traffic. According to the DOE each 5 miles per hour (mph) you drive over 50 mph can reduce your fuel economy by 10%. Just by slowing down and enjoying the ride you’ll save a lot of money and your journey truly won’t take that much longer. Just make sure you keep to the right so you won’t impede the less-enlightened.

Clean out your vehicle—Not only will it make the ride more enjoyable because you’re not moving aside “stuff” to make room, but you’ll also be saving on the gas mileage. Take anything unnecessary out of your vehicle and don’t forget about the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the vehicle can reduce your MPG by up to 2%. According to the DOE the reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

Combine Your Trips– With so many activities going on in our lives today, a lot of travel is required.  However, many people make unnecessary trips. How many times have you gone straight home from work and then later gone back out to the grocery store? Try combining your trips together. Go to the grocery store, the bank and the cleaners on your way home from the office. Several short trips from a cold engine start can use twice as much gas as a longer, combined trip to the same places when the engine is warm.

Don’t be lazy— While going through the drive-thru may seem convenient at times, sitting there will cost you.  Remember that your gas mileage while idling is 0 miles per gallon. Vehicles with larger engines waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. Next time, park your car and go inside. Chances are you’ll make it out faster anyway.

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