How to save at the pump

By Mark Bullock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gasoline prices hit another record Monday. The AAA Motor Club and Oil Price Information Service report that the national average has surged to $3.60 a gallon.

So what are some ways to save on gas and increase your gas mileage? WSFA 12 News  has tips in the first installment of a month-long series -- Money Saving Mondays.

"I try to drive as short a distance as possible," said one driver.

"I combine errands instead of spreading them out over several trips," said another.

And still another driver said she "coasted" to red lights.

It's true that coasting will leave more fuel in your tank.

"Today's engines have a technology which means the more you coast, the more fuel you'll end up saving," said mechanic Randy Hester.

Hester also suggests turning off your engine whenever you expect to be idling for more than a minute. And, he encourages routine maintenance like checking your tire pressure and replacing your dirty air and fuel filters.

Believe it or not, where and when you buy gas can also make a difference. Filling up at a busy gas station ensures you're getting fresher, more powerful fuel. Experts also tell motorists not to buy gas during the hottest part of the day.

"If you buy your gas in the mornings when the gasoline temperatures are lower, you're getting more dense gas than you would if you filled up in the afternoon with temperature at 90 or 95 degrees," Hester explained.

Since gas evaporates, make sure your gas cap is on tight and don't worry about topping off your tank.

If you're really out to save every little drop of gas, some experts recommend turning the nozzle 180 degrees. They say there could be up to a half cup of gasoline left inside the hose.

So what about premium fuel? Does it make a difference? Expert so no, unless your owners manual specifically requires it.

Finally, remove excess weight from your trunk and leave your windows closed to improve your car's aerodynamics.

By following these tips, you could improve you gas mileage by up to 20 percent.

"Every little bit helps and until we start cutting back on the amount of fuel we're using, the price of gas is just going to keep going up," Hester warned.

To find the cheapest gas in your neighborhood, log on to Gas Watch section of this web site.

Reporter: Mark Bullock