April 26th, 2011
With gas prices in many places now tipping over that crucial $4.00/gallon mark, and some experts saying we’re looking at $6/gal. by the end of the summer, many of us are feeling a serious crunch.
While it seems obvious that investing in a fuel efficient vehicle is the single biggest way to keep the blues at bay, that’s just a start. The number one (and easiest!) way to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency is through careful car maintenance. Here are three tips to help you.
1. Keep the tires inflated properly. This one is simple and a potential lifesaver. Under-inflated tires waste fuel and wear out the tire tread. AAA estimates that a motorist who drives an average of 12,000 miles annually on tires that are under-inflated by only 5-8 pounds is wasting up to 50 gallons of gasoline.
Eighty-five percent of Americans do not properly check tire inflation. As a result, tire experts speculate that 2.8 billion gallons of gas are wasted by U.S. drivers each year simply because they’re driving on under-inflated tires. It’s also important to check your tires regularly for alignment and balance.
2. A well-tuned engine burns less gas. Get regular tuneups and follow through with routine maintenance. The right parts and fresh oil keep your engine happy and less thirsty for gas.
3. Get the junk out of the trunk. A weighed-down car uses more fuel. For every extra 250 pounds your engine hauls, the car loses about one mile per gallon in fuel economy. Carry only the basic emergency equipment and items you really need.