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How to Save on Gas This Summer

Fuel Pump.

The sun is shining, the kids are on summer break, and it's time to take a road trip! Gas prices can fluctuate year to year, but you can still take steps to reduce your fuel bill.

Keep Up with Car Maintenance

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it’s important to keep your car up to date on tune-ups and ensures it passes an emissions test, which can help boost fuel economy by as much as 4 percent. Repairing any major issues, such as a malfunctioning oxygen sensor, can save even more and increase your mileage by up to 40 percent. Be sure that you're using the correct type of motor oil and check your air filters often. Other maintenance issues to check on include:

  • worn-out spark plugs
  • loose or sagging belts
  • dragging or sticking brakes
  • low levels of transmission fluid
  • broken, missing or an ill-fitting gas cap

Check Those Tires

Both under- and over-inflated tires may affect fuel performance. Keeping tires inflated to the proper PSI-or pounds per square inch-as detailed in your owner's manual can improve fuel economy by up to 6 percent. Outdoor temperatures may affect pressure, so check tires often. Regular tire rotations are crucial to a car's performance and help ensure your tires aren't misaligned or out of balance.

Smart Driving

The way you drive affects your car's fuel economy. Aggressive driving habits, such as rapid acceleration, hard braking and speeding, may reduce your miles per gallon (MPG) from 10 to 40 percent. Fuel efficiency also drops sharply when you travel at speeds over 50 miles per hour. Further improve your fuel economy by:

  • limiting the weight you carry in your car
  • not hauling items on roof racks
  • avoiding idling by turning the engine off if you must stop for more than 30 seconds
  • keeping windows and moonroof closed to reduce drag
  • using cruise control on the highway to maintain a constant speed
  • using the air conditioning sparingly
  • not letting fuel levels drop below a quarter of a tank full
  • paying attention to "check engine" lights, as they may indicate a fuel efficiency issue
  • driving in the highest feasible gear

Plan Ahead for Savings

Whenever you can, map out a route that avoids traffic lights and stop signs to avoid idling, stopping and starting. Keep in mind that sometimes the shortest route isn't the cheapest! You've probably noticed that gas stations in different areas charge variable prices for gas. Download a gas price comparison app onto your mobile device to find the best prices along your route.

Finally, look at your car's owner's manual (or check the fine print on your gas cap) and see which type of gas is recommended for your car. Unless your car requires premium gasoline, there's really no advantage to paying higher prices for higher grades or octanes.

Speak with your insurance agent to review your coverage and ensure that you and your family stay protected before hitting the open road.


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