Don’t Jump at the Pump

Gas prices are really eating into your budget. You know it. I know it. Getting a more fuel-efficient car is a wonderful idea, but it isn’t an option for many of us.

So here are a few tips to get the most out of your gas tank.

1. Don’t idle unless you really must.

This is actually two tips in one. First, see if you can find routes that have less traffic and fewer lights. You wouldn’t believe the amount of time the average American spends just sitting in traffic. More open routes will save you from that gas waster and will probably lower your blood pressure too.

Second, don’t leave the car on when you’re parked. It’s not something you think about, but it happens all the time. You have something to read or someone to call, and you stay in the car to do it. As far as your fuel tank is concerned, you might as well still be sitting at that red light.

2. Take unnecessary things out of your car

I know I am guilty of this all the time. Actually, as I’m writing this, I have a trunk full of useless junk. Your car shouldn’t be used as a storage locker. According to the Federal Trade Commission, an extra 100 pounds can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent.

3. Take care of your car

Your car has an instruction manual for a reason. No, it’s not to smash bugs on the dashboard. It’s to tell you the best ways to keep your car running smoothly. A smoothly running car is a more fuel-efficient car.

Some of the things you need to know?

-What the tire pressure should be

-The right grade of motor oil

-The proper octane of gasoline

-The best ways to keep your engine tuned

4. Drive Smart

Aggressive driving (you know what I mean) and speeding wastes gas. Quick stops and starts do as well. It’s easier on your gas budget, easier on your brakes and easier on everyone’s nerves if you drive more “gently.”

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