Fight skyrocketing gas prices by taking control of your vehicle's unnecessary
fuel consumption, advises the Car Care Council. Consumers can add miles
to every gallon they pump by following a few easy and inexpensive maintenance
steps with their car, SUV, minivan or pickup truck.
"Most motorists don't realize that it's the
little things that don't take a lot of time or cost much that can really
make a difference when it comes to saving money at the pump," said
Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "Loose
or missing gas caps, under inflated tires, worn spark plugs and dirty
air filters all contribute to poor fuel economy."
The Car Care Council offers gas saving maintenance and driving tips
that really work:
Vehicle gas caps - About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have
gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing
147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
• Under inflated tires - When tires aren't inflated properly
it's like driving with the parking brake on and can cost a mile or two per
• Worn spark plugs - A vehicle can have either
four, six or eight spark plugs, which fire as many as 3 million times
every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical
erosion. A dirty spark plus causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark
plugs need to be replaced regularly.
• Dirty air filters - An air filter that is clogged with dirt,
dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture
- too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas
and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter
can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents
Fuel-saving driving tips include:
• Don't be an aggressive
driver - Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33
percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results
in 7 to 49 cents per gallon.
• Avoid excessive idling - Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon.
Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
• Observe the speed limit gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds
above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents
per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control
• Combining errands into one trip saves gas and time. Several short
trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose
trip covering the same distance.
• Avoid carrying unneeded heavy items in the truck. An extra 100
pounds can cut fuel efficiency by a percent or two.
As part of the "Be Car Care Aware" education campaign, the
Car Care Council is also offering a free service interval schedule
to help take the guesswork out of what vehicle systems need to be routinely
inspected and when service or repair should be performed.