Prices at the pump are moving upward in time for spring and summer road trips. While many motorists may panic as gas prices continue to rise, a little planning, perspective and a few simple steps from the Car Care Council can go a long way to combat the soaring price of fuel.
“It’s easy to be alarmed by the cost of gas, but when motorists take a look at the big picture, they’ll see that much of the increased cost can be offset by adjusting driving habits and implementing a proactive vehicle preventative maintenance plan,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Fuel economy is related to vehicle maintenance, yet when gas prices rise, some motorists think they can save money by putting off needed maintenance. What they don’t realize is that neglecting their vehicle can end up costing more.”
Gas-saving maintenance tips:
• Keep your car properly tuned to improve gas mileage by an average of 4 percent.
• Keep tires properly inflated and improve gas mileage by 3 percent.
• Replace dirty or clogged air filters and improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
• Replace dirty spark plugs, which can reduce mileage by two miles per gallon.
• Change oil regularly and gain another mile per gallon.
Driving behaviour also impacts fuel efficiency.
• Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly above 60 mph.
• Avoid excessive idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Warming up the vehicle for one or two minutes is sufficient.
• Avoid quick starts and stops. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
• Consolidate trips. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much gas as one longer multi-purpose trip.
• Don’t haul unneeded items in the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces fuel economy by 1 to 2 percent.
“A 20 cent increase in the price of a gallon of gas results in roughly $2 more per week the average commuter must spend,” continued White. “Simple, inexpensive maintenance and altering the way you drive can save as much as $1,200 per year in gas, going a long way to offset soaring fuel prices and keep more money in your wallet.”