From shopping trips to trips to Grandma's, easy ways to save money as fuel prices continue to rise
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the national average price of regular, self-service, gasoline nearing $3.00 per gallon, many drivers are saying 'bah humbug' at the gas pump this holiday season.
"For many, rising gas prices are especially tough this time of year as they are on the road more with extra shopping trips, holiday events and road trips to visit friends and family," said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Automotive vice president. "However, there are several easy things drivers can do to stretch each tank of gas and find the lowest fuel prices when it is time to fill up."
To help ease the burden at the pump, AAA offers these tips for drivers to save money on fuel during the holiday season:
Be gentle on the gas and brake pedals
One of the easiest and most effective ways to conserve fuel is to change driving styles. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, gently accelerate rather than making a quick start. The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can lower a car's fuel economy by up to 33 percent.
Drive the speed limit
While the holiday hustle and bustle may have drivers rushing around town, slowing down to observe the speed limit not only can conserve fuel but also avoid a speeding ticket. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that each 5 mph driven over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination to avoid feeling rushed so you can arrive safely and with a little more fuel in the tank.
Properly inflate tires
Only 17 percent of cars have all four tires properly inflated, yet the U.S. Department of Energy reports that proper tire inflation can improve fuel economy by up to three percent. It's important not only to check tire pressures at least once a month, but also make sure it's done correctly; a survey found 85 percent of motorist don't know how to properly check tire pressures. Check the pressures when the tires are cold and have not been driven on recently. Tires should be inflated to pressure levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, NOT the pressure levels stamped on the tire sidewall. The proper pressure levels can be found on a sticker on the driver's side door jamb or in the owner's manual.
Plan errands in advance
When running holiday errands, try to combine multiple tasks into one trip. Several short trips starting with a cold engine each time can use twice as much gas as a longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Also, plan the route in advance to drive the fewest miles.
Keep luggage off the roof
Try to avoid using a car's roof rack to transport luggage or other equipment—especially over long distances on the highway. A loaded roof rack affects the vehicle aerodynamics and creates extra drag that reduces fuel economy.
Let AAA find lowest gas prices
Drivers equipped with the AAA TripTik Mobile iPhone application can find the lowest gas prices close to home or on the road. Using AAA TripTik Mobile, the first free app offering frequently updated gas prices, motorists can compare fuel costs at stations near to their location or in a specified area. The AAA app's GPS technology enables users to quickly locate stations on a map and see the price for all available grades of gasoline. AAA also provides gas station location and fuel price information at AAA.com with the online TripTik Travel Planner.
Keep up-to-date on vehicle maintenance
Keeping a car running properly helps achieve maximum fuel economy. Be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule, and do not ignore vehicle warning lights that indicate something is wrong. Warning lights can signal problems that will greatly decrease a car's fuel efficiency. To help motorists find reliable, high-quality vehicle service, AAA has inspected and approved nearly 8,000 auto repair shops across the country. To locate a nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, visit AAA.com/repair.
As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
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