For Immediate Release: May 22, 2012
Media Contact: Alison apRoberts - 916-654-4989


Rev Up Savings With Summer Driving Tips
Simple Fuel-Saving Habits Will Get More Miles Per Gallon

SACRAMENTO - Ready for that summer road trip? Along with the first-aid kit, water, and maps, don't forget the California Energy Commission's fuel-saving driving tips.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kick-off to the summer driving season in California, and that makes it the right time to fuel up on your fuel-efficiency skills.

The price at the pump for regular gasoline in California averaged $4.34 a gallon on May 21, 2012 - 22 cents more than a year ago. Nationally, regular gasoline averaged $3.71 a gallon on May 21, 2012 - 14 cents less than a year ago.

The Energy Commission expects supplies of gasoline and diesel to be sufficient this summer; however, being savvy about your driving habits can save you money and extend the life of your vehicle.

Ease up on the pedal. Rapid accelerating and braking can affect fuel mileage by as much as 25 percent. Also, as you speed up fuel economy goes down. You'll lose roughly 1 percent in fuel economy for every mile per hour you drive above 55 mph. If your car averages 30 mpg at 55 mph, you'll only get about 28.5 mpg at 60 mph, 27 mpg at 65 mph, and 25.5 mpg at 70 mph. (The difference varies, depending on the model and age of your vehicle.)

Tune up. The combined effect of dirty oil, and dirty air and oil filters can decrease your car's efficiency by 2.5 mpg. Worn spark plugs can decrease efficiency by 2 mpg; and a non-working oxygen (O2) sensor can decrease it by as much as 3 mpg.

Check your tires. Keep your tires properly inflated. Low tire pressure reduces gas mileage and increases tread wire. Tires should be properly balanced and aligned to get the best mileage. Check your owner's manual or the vehicle's side panel for proper inflation information.

Lighten up. Leave what you won't use at home to maximize your mileage, especially anything on the vehicle's exterior. Consider removing bike and luggage roof racks if they aren't essential. Carry everything inside the vehicle if you can; a loaded roof rack lowers gas mileage more than the same weight carried inside.

Take it easy on the AC. Air conditioning can drop mileage by 2 mpg. Rolling down the windows also decreases fuel efficiency slightly, so consider using the air vents as much as possible.

Avoid prolonged idling. Idling gets you nowhere at 0 mpg, so turn off the engine when you can.

Plan your trip. Getting lost and backtracking wastes gas and time. The Visit California Website can help you plan weekend trips and summer vacations:

Fill up with regular. Most of today's cars and trucks (approximately 80 percent) run exactly the same on regular gasoline, which costs less than mid-grade or premium.

Shop around. Stations on the same intersection may have prices that differ by as much as 20 cents a gallon. Also, stations near the freeway are often the most expensive. Since all gasoline sold in California must meet strict fuel standards, most vehicles run well on any brand. Check out Websites such as Gas Buddy ( or Fuel Me Up ( to find the lowest gas prices.

Consider carpooling or public transportation: You can sit back, look out the window and leave the driving to someone else on a bus or train.Amtrak: www.amtrak.comGreyhound:

Find more driving tips on the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center website:

The Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.

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