Since the news reports keep telling us that the price of gas is only going to go up and OPEC recently agreed to once again cut production here are a few ideas to help stretch your gasoline dollar. Please feel free to forward this information on to your friends, colleagues and neighbors.
Properly inflate your tires
You can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are also safer and last longer.
Change your air filter
Replacing a clogged air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Your car's air filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a dirty air filter save gas, it will protect your engine. Fuel Economy can benefit up to 10%. A low restriction air filter may add another 10% benefit.
Oil change per manufacturer recommendations
You can improve your gas mileage by 1-2 percent by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. For example, using 10W-30 motor oil in an engine designed to use 5W-30 can lower your gas mileage by 1-2 percent. Using 5W-30 in an engine designed for 5W-20 can lower your gas mileage by 1-1.5 percent. Also, look for motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the API performance symbol to be sure it contains friction-reducing additives.
Do not let your car idle for more than 60 seconds
Idling gets 0 miles per gallon. Cars with larger engines typically waste more gas at idle than do cars with smaller engines. As we head into the warmer months the need for idling is reduced.
Replace spark plugs and wires
Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4.1 percent, though results vary based on the kind of repair and how well it is done. If you replace a faulty oxygen sensor on your car, your gas mileage may improve as much as 40 percent. Pay attention to those check engine lights.
Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money. Fuel economy can benefit between 5 to 30%.
Observe the Speed Limit
Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas. Observing the speed limit is also safer. Fuel economy benefit between 7 to 23%.
Use Cruise Control
Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
Use Overdrive Gears
Typically these are the gears denoted by a box around the D on the shift selector. When you use overdrive gearing, your car's engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.
Remove Excess Weight
Clean out the trunk and other spaces in the vehicle to reduce the vehicles weight. This added weight puts a higher load on the engine reducing fuel economy.
Stop by the store on your way home from work rather than making a special trip. Combining travel like this can save a lot of time and fuel.
Sharing a ride into work saves both you and your co-worker gas, money and wear and tear on your car.
Fuel Efficient Vehicles
On your next vehicle purchase consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle. The US Department of Energy provides a guide of the most fuel efficient vehicles sold in America called the 2006 Fuel Economy Guide. Topping the list are hybrid electric and diesel vehicles with fuel economies between 45 and 60 miles per gallon. Some tax incentives are available for the purchase of hybrid electric cars. (Consult your tax professional for details.)
Most of this information can be found on the US DOE fuel economy website.