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Car experts give advice on conserving fuel while gas prices continue climbing

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:43 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - With these high gas prices, everyone is looking for ways to make the gas we have to buy last a little longer.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, drivers spent about $348 billion on fuel in 2017, the most recent year for which final government figures are available.

Prices at the pump are generally out of our control, but there are some things we can do to stretch those dollars we’re spending. In fact, we can save a considerable amount of gas money just by modifying our driving habits.

Good driving habits contribute to better fuel economy, which saves money and helps the planet, too. Routine maintenance on your car, and your tires, can also go a long way to saving your gas money. AAA offers these tips:

  • 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 prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
  • When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Modern cars don’t need “tune-ups,” but regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy, performance, and longevity.
  • Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the “Check Engine” light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly, and can overheat and blow out.

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