With the national average price of regular gas up to $4 a gallon, and New Yorkers and Californians paying far above that amount, people are scrambling to find ways to conserve gas. Want to save 20% or more on fuel costs? Follow these 10 simple tips from the Consumer Federation of America.
Check Your Air Filter
A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%, and nearly one in four cars needs an air filter replacement.
Cost Savings: 28 cents a gallon.
Poor alignment not only causes tires to wear out more quickly, but also forces your engine to work harder, which can reduce fuel economy by as much as 10%.
Cost Savings: 28 cents per gallon.
A properly tuned engine can improve mileage by 4%.
Cost Savings: 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% in fuel efficiency.
Cost Savings: 8 cents per gallon.
Check Your Cap
It is estimated that nearly 17% of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps, which not only reduces gas mileage but may harm the environment.
Cost Savings: 2 cents per gallon.
For every 5 mph you reduce highway speed, you can reduce fuel consumption by 7%.
Cost Savings: 19 cents, by reducing speed from 70 mph to 65 mph.
Drive More Smoothly
The more smoothly you accelerate and decelerate, the better your gas mileage, with potential gas savings of 33% on the highway and 5% around town.
Cost Savings: 48 cents a gallon.
Don't Give Your Foot a Brake
Riding with your foot on the brake not only wears out brakes but can also increase gas consumption by as much as 35%.
Cost Savings: 96 cents per gallon.
For every 100 extra pounds carried around, your vehicle loses 1 to 2% in fuel efficiency.
Cost Savings: 4 cents per gallon, per 100 pounds of weight removed.
Don't Be Idle
Besides causing pollution, idling wastes gas. If stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine, and don't bother to 'warm up' your car before driving -- it is not necessary.
Cost Savings: 1 cent per gallon, for every two minutes you avoid idling.