Do you find yourself driving across state lines to cut the cost at the pump? Do you fill up on certain days of the week because you know it typically costs less?

There are easier, more efficient ways to beat the upward tick in gas prices. The following ten steps can help you to gain a few extra gallons (not to mention save some much needed cash).

1. Avoid aggressive driving. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and perpetual braking waste gas. Driving at a constant speed can lower your gas mileage by up to 33 percent on the highway. Defensive drivers can save up to $1.35 per gallon compared to their speedy counterparts.

2. Clear the air. Your car's air filter prevents airborne impurities from wreaking havoc on your engine. While replacing an air filter on a fuel-injected, computer-controlled car improves performance, it doesn't improve fuel economy. However, if you drive an older car with a carbureted engine, replacing that air filter may improve fuel economy by two to six percent.

3. Inflate your tires, not your MPGs. By properly inflating your tires you can save up to 3.3 percent on your miles per gallon (MPG), which equals about $0.12 per gallon. Check your owner's manual for the correct pressure per square inch (psi) for your car's tire size. Appropriately inflated tires results in better gas mileage, improved safety, and longer lasting tires.

4. Watch your speed. Reaching your car's optimal fuel economy depends on the model and speed at which you're traveling. Still, gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. As a general rule, every five mph you go over 60 costs an additional $0.30 per gallon.

5. Be regular. Most cars do not need premium gas, which has higher levels of octane. In most cases, buying high octane gas will provide with a bigger hole in your wallet-and nothing more. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates a savings of $0.15 to $0.35 per gallon by switching to regular gas.

6. Use your dipstick. You've probably heard that changing your oil every 3,000 miles will protect your engine, but using the proper oil can save you on gas, too. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that by using the recommended oil you can save six to eight cents a gallon.

7. Don't stand by idly. Idling for long periods of time gets zero miles per gallon. You may think just sitting there with the engine on is harmless, but it expends precious fuel-to the tune of one cent per gallon for every three minutes spent idling. A recent report from Texas A&M University found that idling costs Americans $78.2 billion in lost gallons.

8. Use cruise control and overdrive. By using cruise control on the highway, you can maintain a constant speed and reduce the amount of braking necessary for long trips, consequently using less gas to accelerate again. Using your overdrive when trying to brake or go up hill reduces the speed at which your engine works-again saving you gas.

9. Check the cap. It may sound arbitrary, but damaged, loose, or missing gas caps can result in your gas turning to vapor. That'll cost you about one cent a gallon.

10. Trim the weight. If you keep excessively heavy objects in your car, be prepared to spend some MPGs. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can cost you an estimated two percent in your miles-per-gallon.




U.S. Department of Energy. Keeping Your Car in Shape.