HOPKINS COUNTY, KY—The summer is in full force, yet the increased demand and processing costs for fuel may stand as a serious hurdle for those looking to get away for awhile. Fortunately, there are several ways to lessen your spending on fuel this summer.

From driving less often, to carpooling, and even riding a bike around locally, saving on gas is relatively simple. However, if you have to drive long distances or don’t have the option of riding a bike, iSurf News would like to present 10 ways drivers can cut back the amount of time and money spent at gas stations this summer:

1.) THE TORTOISE TECHNIQUE: For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, you're essentially paying an extra 24 cents per gallon of gas. Yep, it’s true. Therefore, try using cruise control on interstates and other highways to maintain a constant speed. It can also help to use your car's overdrive gears (if equipped), which can save fuel and engine wear by reducing your speed.

2.) BE EASY-GOING: Speeding, swerving, sudden acceleration, and braking too fast are not only dangerous, but can lower your gas mileage 33 percent on highways and 5 percent on city streets. If you rev up your engine while sitting still, you’re wasting even more fuel and looking like somebody out of a 1980s music video.

3.) YOUR CAR IS NOT A MEAT FREEZER: Using the Air conditioner can be a drain your tank quickly, so make sure you only use it when you really need it. You can improve your fuel efficiency in stop-and-go traffic by turning off the A/C and rolling down the windows instead. However, it should be noted that cruising over 55mph for long periods with the windows down is actually worse. Basically, open windows make a vehicle less aerodynamic by letting in air, which increases air resistance and decreases fuel efficiency. On long, highway-bound road trips, using the air conditioner can improve your mileage by up to 20 percent.

4.) AGAIN WITH THE IDLING?: In addition to pumping out greenhouse gases for no reason, idling cars also contribute to ground-level ozone, airborne particulate matter, and other near-surface air pollution. These emissions can aggravate asthma and even hinder breathing in otherwise healthy people, especially children and the elderly. Even if you're just trying to warm up your car in winter, it still only needs to run about a minute. Anything beyond that is just wasting gas.

5.) ROUTINE CHECK-UPS: Repairing an automobile that’s in need of a tune-up or that has failed an emissions test can improve fuel efficiency by an average of 4 percent. You may also be loosing up to 40 percent of your fuel due to more serious problems, like a faulty oxygen sensor. Changing the oil on a regular level (every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first) can help, too.
 
6.) AIR—THE EQUALIZER: Keeping a car's tires properly inflated and equally balanced can improve fuel efficiency by about 3.3 percent. It's also stretches the lifespan of your tires.

7.) SHEDDING EXTRA POUNDS: Carrying extra weight means burning extra gasoline. No matter how big your vehicle is, toting unneeded loads hurts your tank. On average, you may be cutting your fuel efficiency by up to 2 percent for every 100 extra pounds you haul.
 
8.) LISTEN TO THE MANUFACTURER: Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil can boost mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Try to also use the lowest grade of gasoline that's appropriate for your car, since high-octane grades cost several cents more per gallon. Check your owner's manual to be sure, but as long as your engine doesn't start sputtering, you're probably OK. Overall, switching to regular gasoline from premium could save you up to hundreds of dollars every year.

9.) PUT A LID ON IT: Gasoline can evaporate from a vehicle's fuel tank if it's able to find an opening, which is bad for your wallet and your lungs. Make sure your gas tank's cap is tightened securely after you fill up, and if the cap's threading is stripped or it fits too loosely, you might want to invest in a new one.

10.) TRAVEL WITH THE HERD: Carpool or don't take a car at all. You can walk, ride a bike, or take mass transit in most local situations. It saves you money, improves your personal health, and helps the planet.

Luke Short
iSurf News
Information Provided by the Mother Nature Network

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Posted on 2/2/14
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3/13 - 16

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