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(Columbia) Nov. 17, 2004 - Prices at the pump are high, but instead of fuming over high prices WIS News 10 Troubleshooter Judi Gatson has some tips on how to get the most miles for your money by change your driving habits.
Stephen Nuttall at Nuttall's Tire & Battery says many drivers make a big mistake every morning. They crank up the engine and go, "A vehicle needs at least 30 to 45 seconds just to have time to warm up and allow the oil and the fluids all to circulate and get up to a good temperature." But, if you leave it running longer than 45 seconds, you're wasting gas and cash.
Before you hit the road, Nuttall says, get a tune up. Fixing a car that's out of tune can rev up your mileage an average of 4.1 percent, the equivalent to a savings of 60 cents a gallon. Replacing a clogged air filter can also improve your mileage and save you 15 cents a gallon.
Nuttall also recommends checking your tires. Underinflated tires can be a real drag, "Check them at least once a month. With our temperature changes the way they are the air pressure in a tire can fluctuate four to five times a month." Keeping your tires properly inflated will not only make them last longer, it'll save you about five cents a gallon.
He also says it pays to get it in gear. The lower the gear, the higher the revolutions per minute and the more fuel you use, "The higher the gear, whether it be overdrive or a sixth gear, would definitely help on saving fuel."
And, the next time you feel road rage coming on think about this: aggressive driving can lower your mileage by 33 percent on the highway and by five percent around town. And, each five miles per hour you drive over 60 is like paying an additional ten cents per gallon.
All of the numbers on fuel savings are from the US Energy Department.
Here are a few more real deals:
Stop pumping after the first click. When you top it off, it's easy for fuel to spill out, which is big waste of money.
Unload any unnecessary cargo. A loaded roof rack or a lot of junk in your trunk can decrease your fuel economy up to 5%.
It's likely you'll find cheaper prices during the middle of the week, because demand is much higher over the weekend.
Experts also say driving on the highway with your windows open can reduce your mileage by 10%.