How to Save Money on Gas

PHOTO: The Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal for new standards for cars and gasoline, causing a backlash by the oil industry who claims the change will cost drivers more at the pump.

Do you feel like you are always filling up the gas tank? Here are some ways you can burn less gas and make your fill-up last longer.

Keep the engine warm when it's cold. In the winter, it is more difficult for car engines to reach the optimal temperature for fuel efficiency. But a warmer engine gets better gas mileage. So, if you're running errands and making multiple stops in cold weather, try starting with the one farthest away to let the engine get hot.

Close the windows and turn the air conditioning on. Above speeds of 55 mph, open windows create more drag. So close the windows, and use the AC. To take it a step further, use the "recirculation" or "economy" button. That way, the car has less hot air from outside to cool off.

Drive slowly. If you have a long commute to work, try leaving a few minutes earlier to avoid rushing. AAA says if your commute is 20 miles on the highway, driving at 60 mph rather than 70 mph will save you 1.3 gallons each five-day workweek.

Think ahead when stopping. Coasting is better and unnecessary braking wastes gas. Don't accelerate until the last minute and hit the brakes hard before a red light.

Don't jackrabbit start – but don't accelerate too slowly either. Quick starts consume a lot of fuel, but when you accelerate at a snail's pace, the car stays in a low gear. Lower gears have poor fuel economy. Popular Mechanics tested fuel efficiency during acceleration and found that a good rule of thumb is to spend 15 seconds getting to 50 mph.

Take care of your car. Keep the air and fuel filters clean and the tires fully inflated. GasBuddy.com says you lose 1 percent of fuel efficiency for each tire underinflated by 2 PSI.

Don't use your trunk for storage. A lighter car burns less fuel.

If you're buying a new car, keep in mind that cars with smaller engines or two-wheel drive get better mileage in the long run. Light interiors and exteriors absorb less heat and keep the car cooler in the summer, saving AC.

(Sources: AAA, GasBuddy.com, Popular Mechanics)

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