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Slow It Down to Save Gas and Money
Sacramento Ė Summertime means vacation and even with sky-high gasoline prices, there's no reason to give up that long awaited trip. Getting there should be half the fun - not the expense - of this year's vacation get-away and slowing it down can save you money.
As the summer vacation season begins this Memorial Day, the California Energy Commission urges drivers to ease off the gas pedal. Thatís right Ė slow down and get more miles out of a tank of gas. Zipping along at 70 miles per hour (mph) instead of 55 mph can reduce your carís gasoline economy up to 15 percent. Since the cost for most vehicles is averaging a whopping $60 per tank Ė thatís an $8 to $9 savings every fill-up.
Although gasoline prices have reached record highs that average $3.95 per gallon statewide, supplies are adequate and are up almost six percent from last year.
While the top expenditure for vacationers is usually lodging, this year gasoline prices are a sizeable consideration for automobile travelers. This list of gasoline-saving tips from the Energy Commission will provide vacationers a few simple steps to control their fuel costs and squeeze the most mileage from a gallon of gas.
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 miles per gallon (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.)
Tune up the car, change the filters and keep 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 3 mpg. A non-functioning oxygen sensor can decrease mileage 3 mpg or more.
Properly inflate tires. 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, unused bicycle or ski racks, and other extra weight that reduces mileage. Removing extra weight, especially in excess of 100 pounds, can improve mileage and save 4 cents to 7 cents a gallon.
Use air conditioning prudently. Over-use of a car's air conditioner can drop mileage by 2 mpg. Whenever possible, use the carís air vents because rolling down the windows can also decrease fuel efficiency.
Plan trips in advance. Getting lost or having to back track wastes fuel Ė and time.
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.
Keep it calm. Aggressive driving, rapid acceleration and braking can affect fuel mileage as much as 25 percent.
Learn more about California's public transportation systems. A trip by train or bus might liven up that trek to the coast or mountains.
Additional driving tips and ways to improve fuel efficiency can be found on the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center website. Visit:
Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.
Members of the Energy Commission are Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel; Vice Chair James D. Boyd; Commissioners Arthur H. Rosenfeld, Jeffrey Byron, and Karen Douglas.
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