Twelve ways to save fuel and stretch gasoline dollars

| 02 Mar 2012 | 12:44

ALBANY — With motorists facing rising gas prices, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has developed the following tips to help them save money at the pump.

Vehicle maintenance that saves fuel

Properly inflate your tires: You can improve your gas mileage by approximately 3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every pound-per-square inch drop in pressure.

Keep your vehicle tuned up. Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

Change your oil according to manufacturer recommendations: Gas mileage can improve 1 to 2 percent by using a manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil. Also, look for motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives that can increase gas mileage.

Driving habits that save fuel Observe the speed limit: Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

Drive sensibly: Aggressive driving wastes gas. It also can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5

percent on local roads. Use cruise control where possible: Cruise control helps you save gas by maintaining a constant speed on the highway.

Avoid excessive idling: Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked.

Change your commuting habits: If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets the best gas mileage. Try to avoid driving during peak rush hours to minimize engine idling and fuel loss.

Consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle: The U.S. Department of Energy provides a guide of the most fuel efficient vehicles sold in America. The 2011 Fuel Economy Guide can be viewed at: . Consult your tax professional and for details on tax incentives.

Combine trips: Stop by the store on your way home rather than making a special trip. Combining travel can save time, fuel and money.

Car pool: Sharing a ride to and from work saves you and your coworker(s) gas, money and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping heavy items in your car if you don’t have to. An extra 100 pounds could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent.

For more information on these and other energy saving tips, visit