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May 21, 2007


Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989
California Energy Commission

Sam Caygill, 916-319-5424
California Travel & Tourism Commission

Gasoline Conservation: Make the Most Out of Summer Travel

SACRAMENTO - While gasoline prices have reached historic highs, there's no reason to let them ruin plans for a summer trip. Getting there should be half the fun - not the expense - of this year's vacation get-away.

As Memorial Day approaches and the summer vacation season begins, the California Energy Commission and the California Travel & Tourism Commission encourage drivers to assess how gas conservation methods can help travelers get the most out of vacation budgets and help preserve the state's environment for generations to come.

Gasoline prices are impacting drivers from Crescent City to San Diego, but experts at the California Travel & Tourism Commission are confident that California's tourism trade won't be hurt by higher prices at the pump.

In fact, vacation trips during the peak summer months will increase 1.4 percent over last summer, according to the latest forecast from the Travel Industry Association. The estimate for business and convention travel is an increase of 3 percent this summer.

California has a worldwide reputation as a top tourist and convention destination. The state offers vacation and business travelers an unequalled variety of world-class sights and sounds. More than 175,000 miles of streets, highways and roads provide millions of visitors with convenient access to the state's natural and man-made attractions, like Yosemite National Park and Disneyland, each year. In 2006, more than 15.8 billion gallons of gasoline were used in the Golden State.

While the top expenditure for tourists is usually lodging, gasoline prices can be a sizeable consideration for automobile travelers. This list of gasoline-saving tips from the Energy Commission will help vacationers learn a few simple steps to control their fuel costs.

Fuel-Saving Tips for the Vacation Season

  • Slow down and enjoy the ride - it's a vacation!
    Fuel economy decreases as speeds go up. Vehicles lose roughly one percent in fuel economy for every mile per hour driven above 55 mph. That means a car that averages 30 mpg at 55 mph could typically get 28.5 mpg at 60 mph, 27 mpg at 65 mph, and 25.5 mpg at 70 mph. (The drop in fuel economy varies for different models and ages of vehicles.)

  • Keep the car tuned up and the filters and engine oil clean.
    Dirty air and oil filters combined with dirty oil can decrease mileage by 2.5 mpg. Worn spark plugs can decrease mileage by 2.0 mpg. A non-functioning O2 sensor can decrease mileage up to 3.0 mpg.

  • Keep tires properly inflated.
    Low tire pressure reduces gas mileage and causes increased tread wear. Keep tires properly balanced and aligned to get the best gas mileage.

  • Lighten up that load.
    Remove unused luggage, bicycle or ski racks, and other extra weight.

  • Use air conditioning prudently.
    Over-use of a car's air conditioner can drop mileage by 2 mpg.

  • Plan trips in advance.
    Getting lost or having to back track wastes fuel - and time.

  • Learn more about California's public transportation systems.
    A trip by train or bus might liven up that trek to the coast or mountains.

  • Where possible, shop around for the best gasoline prices.
    Stations across the street from each other can vary in price by 20 cents a gallon or more, and stations near the freeway are often the most expensive. Since all gasoline sold in California meets strict fuel standards, most vehicles do well on any brand. Buying the least expensive fuel rewards station owners that lower their prices and encourages others to do the same.

  • Fill up with regular unleaded gasoline.
    Approximately 80 percent of today's cars and trucks run just fine on regular. By using regular instead of mid-grade or premium, the savings add up.

Additional driving tips and ways to improve fuel efficiency can be found on the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center website. Visit:


The California Travel and Tourism Commission website can help plan summer vacations or a weekend trip. Visit:


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