17:00 PM

AAA Provides Tips to Save on Fuel Expenses

As gas prices continue to move higher, many motorists are looking for ways to use less gas or to save a few cents at the pump.

According to AAA, personal driving habits are the single biggest factor that affects vehicle fuel consumption.

"A few changes in driving behavior, combined with price-lowering strategies at the pump, can contribute to significant savings on gas," said Gene LaDoucer, regional director of public affairs for AAA-The Auto Club Group.

Below are a few tips from AAA:

  • When buying a car, look for models that offer the best fuel economy in their class. For most drivers, an optional larger and/or more-powerful engine is unnecessary.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Under inflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blowout.
  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
  • Avoid "jackrabbit" starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It's unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
  • Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed; however, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
  • Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.
  • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than larger models.
  • Don't purchase costly high-octane or "premium" gas unless required for your vehicle. AAA research has found that unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car's manufacturer, it provides no added benefit.
  • Take advantage of loyalty programs such as AAA's Fuel Rewards program at Shell stations. Some stations also provide a discount for paying with cash instead of credit card.

For more information on fuel prices, including a calculator to estimate fuel costs for a planned trip, visit GasPrices.AAA.com.