How to relieve pain at the pump
Everyone who drives is feeling pain at the pump, but steps can be taken to make pricey gasoline go as far as possible.
Properly inflated tires make a difference in fuel economy, according to Barry Allen, owner of Webster Auto Service in Marion.
A clean air filter also gives the engine better air flow and lets it “breathe” easier, he said.
“Try some fuel injector cleaner,” Allen said.
A tune-up and new spark plugs will ensure that gasoline burns effectively.
Driving habits make a difference with gas mileage, Allen said.
Easy acceleration uses less fuel.
“The harder you accelerate, like if you pass a lot of people, the more fuel you use,” he said.
He also recommends driving a bit slower on the highway.
“A lot of people go over the speed limit,” he said. “Just drive a little slower.”
Fast stops likewise are hard on fuel economy, he said.
“It’s better to coast in because you’re not using as much fuel,” Allen said. “It’s better to leave earlier and drive a little more sensibly.”
During summer months, run a car air conditioner on maximum and set the air to recirculate instead of cooling hot air from outside.
“Not any one thing is going to make a huge difference. It’s just all of these things together,” Allen said.
American Automobile Association offers other tips to maximize every gallon.
- Use cruise control on highways to avoid speed fluctuation. Cruise control should not be used on slippery roadways, however.
- If a car frequently is driven on a turnpike, use a “fast pass” instead of having to stop at tollbooths.
- Limit idling time. It takes about 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart a car, but a car can burn up to a half gallon of fuel an hour when idling.
- Combine errands and plan trips to avoid backtracking. Look for “one stop” locations to take care of tasks such as shopping, banking, and getting a haircut.
- When driving in or near a city, avoid rush hour, when speeds often are slow and traffic can be “stop and go.”
- Remove unnecessary items from the car and trunk. A 100-pound item can reduce fuel economy by as much as 1%.
- Use the proper grade of oil.
- Buy the proper grade of fuel for the car and look for a “top tier” brand.
- Avoid putting luggage in a rooftop carrier, which makes the car less aerodynamic.
- Park in the shade during summer to reduce how hard the air conditioner must work to cool the car.
Last modified June 23, 2022