For Immediate Release: May 21, 1998
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989
Make Summer Travel a Bargain, Get the Most from Your Car
A healthy economy and good weather will result in more drivers taking to the roads, sparking what is expected to be the busiest summer driving season in years.
Starting the Memorial Day weekend, the onset of the summer travel period, motorists can expect the nation's roads and highways to be crowded, causing gasoline demand and prices to jump. In California, the cost of unleaded regular gasoline averaged $1.24 a gallon as the Memorial weekend approached, up from the 28-year low of $1.06 reached in March. The statewide average, however, is still 11 cents lower than last summer. And since gasoline inventories are adequate, California Energy Commission analysts believe that prices should be stable, and when compared to last year, will remain a bargain for the next several weeks.
If you are planning a driving trip this summer, now is an especially good time to brush up on getting the most from your car. The Energy Commission offers drivers a few simple steps to control vehicle costs and make certain more hard-earned vacation dollars are spent on good food, better lodging or a longer vacation.
California's reputation as a tourist destination reaches around the world. And that reputation doesn't stop with the state's natural or man-made wonders. California's 175,000 miles of highways will be among the 1.4 trillion miles motorists will travel nationwide this June through August.
While the foremost expenditure for tourists is usually lodging, gasoline prices can be a sizable consideration for automobile travelers. All is not hopeless, however, as vacationers can take a few simple steps to control and reduce vehicle costs. Here are the top three tips recommended by the Energy Commission to help keep those gasoline costs in check.
Roll up your car windows and use the air conditioning. Yes, you heard right. When driving over 40 miles per hour, using the air conditioning actually wastes less gasoline than rolling down your windows. That's because new cars are more aerodynamic and energy efficient with the windows rolled up. For additional savings, try to use your vehicle's flow-through ventilation system without the air conditioning.
Fill up with regular unleaded gasoline. Surprised? Don't be. Roughly 80 percent of today's cars and trucks are suited for regular unleaded gasoline. Check your owner's manual for the right octane rating for your car. By using regular unleaded instead of mid-grade or premium unleaded, you can save money. In fact, regular unleaded gasoline has slightly more energy per gallon than the other grades.
Keep the pressure up. Under-inflated tires cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent for each missing pound of pressure. So, if your tires are supposed to be inflated to 30 psi but they're rolling along at only 25, youll suffer a 10 percent loss in fuel economy. Oh yes, add a 5 - 10 percent savings in fuel consumption if you opt for radial tires and don't forget to have them properly balanced.
Gasoline price updates can be found on the Energy Commission's web site at:
More gasoline saving tips are located at:
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For more information contact:
California Energy Commission
Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director
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