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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Media Contact: Rob Schlichting r - 916-654-4989

Energy Commission urges conservation
in light of record high gasoline prices


Sacramento - The average retail price of regular gasoline reached a record of $2.77 a gallon for the week ending August 29, 2005, prompting the California Energy Commission to encourage motorists to conserve fuel where possible.

Diesel prices averaged $3.01 a gallon, statewide.

The price increases come just before the Labor Day weekend, one of the holidays in which vacationing Americans use additional fuel.

The extra demand for fuel is one of the reason prices have increased in California for diesel as well as gasoline. This time of the year, agricultural use of diesel also climbs as farmers begin harvesting summer crops and prepare to plant winter ones. The increased demand coincides with problems at the refineries in the state that have resulted in reduced supplies of fuel.

"Tight supplies have combined with record-breaking high prices for crude oil to drive up the cost of gasoline and diesel at the pump," said Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director of the Energy Commission. "If consumers can help to reduce demand, more supply will be available to help slow rising prices."

To get the most out of every gallon of gasoline, the Energy Commission urges drivers to "Flex Your Power at the Pump" by insuring that their vehicles are as fuel efficient as possible. Check tires to insure that they are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires, along with other maintenance items such as a dirty air filter, can reduce your fuel efficiency by 10 percent or more. Proper maintenance as prescribed in your vehicle owner's manual will help your vehicle achieve its best fuel economy.

If you are traveling this Labor Day, there are simple ways to minimize your fuel costs. Avoid aggressive driving and aggressive starts, for example. All vehicles lose fuel economy at speeds above 65 miles per hour. Driving 75 instead of 65 mph can increase your fuel cost by 13 percent.

If it's cool enough, use the flow-through ventilation instead of rolling down the windows. Opening windows increases wind resistance and can cause your car to use more gasoline than it would if you used the air conditioner. And driving with a loaded roof rack also increases resistance and fuel consumption. Carry the load inside your vehicle if you can. Removing unnecessary weight is an even better idea.

When you're on the road, look for the least expensive gasoline. Regardless of brand, California gasolines offer very similar engine performance (although some include additives that provide other benefits). Since fuel prices can vary 10 percent or more within a local area, gas up at the lowest priced station you can find. Check your vehicle owner's manual to find out what grade of gasoline you should use. Over 85 percent of all vehicles are designed to operate on regular gasoline, which can cost 20 cents less per gallon than premium.

"The most fuel-efficient approach could be to celebrate the three-day weekend closer to home this year," Chandler suggested. "Check the community calendar for local activities or plan a picnic in the park. The goal is to conserve fuel by reducing trips and employing fuel efficiency techniques. Drive fuel smart, drive safe."

The California Energy Commission monitors gasoline supplies, infrastructure and prices and is responsible for promoting fuel efficiency and alternative fuels. Visit our website at www.energy.ca.gov for gas-saving tips, or check out the "Flex Your Power At The Pump" website, www.fypower.org/save_gasoline

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