10 Tips That Can Save You Money On FuelBy Dan Shapley
Simple vehicle maintenance can save many American drivers significant cash at the pump - 20% or more, according to a new study by the Consumer Federation of America.
The group estimates that Americans pay $1,000 more per year for gas than five years ago. Simple maintenance can save $300, the group says - as much as $ .50 per gallon. While not everyone can save that much, many can save 20%. And besides saving cash, of course, reducing gasoline consumption reduces pollution.
Here are the group's 10 tips:
Check Your Air Filter
A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, and nearly one in four cars needs an air filter replacement. Changing a dirty air filter can save the equivalent of 28 cents a gallon or carry you 23 more miles on a typical tank of gas.
Poor alignment not only causes tires to wear out more quickly, but also forces your engine to work harder, which can reduce gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Fixing improper alignment would be like saving 28 cents per gallon.
A properly tuned engine can improve mileage by 4 percent which is like saving 11 cents a gallon.
Pump 'em Up
More than one-quarter of vehicles have improperly inflated tires. The average under-inflation of 7.5 pounds causes a loss of 2.8 percent in fuel efficiency. Properly inflating problem tires is like knocking 8 cents off a gallon of gas.
Check Your Cap
It is estimated that nearly 17 percent of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps, which reduce gas mileage as well as possibly harming the environment. Fixing or replacing a faulty gas cap is like saving 2 cents per gallon.
For every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1-2 percent in fuel efficiency. For every 100 lbs you unload, you''re saving the equivalent of 4 cents per gallon.
For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7 percent. If you typically drive 70 on the highway and slow down to 65, it's the equivalent of saving 19 cents a gallon.
The smoother you accelerate and decelerate, the better your gas mileage, with potential gas savings of 33% on the highway and 5% around town. Consumers who currently drive erratically can pocket the equivalent 48 cents a gallon by driving more smoothly.
Don't Give Your Foot a Brake
Riding with your foot on the brake not only wears out brakes but can also reduce gas consumption by as much as 35 percent. If you kick the habit of driving with your foot on the brake, you''ll get the equivalent of 96 cents per gallon in savings.
If stopped off the road for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine. Don't "warm up" your car before driving -- it is not necessary. For every two minutes that you don''t idle, you''ll save the equivalent of nearly 1 cent per gallon.
For more details, read the full report.