Fuel Savings: Reminders for the Road

It's not just what you drive, but how you drive that can affect fuel consumption

By Jonathan Lloyd
|  Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012  |  Updated 5:46 AM PDT
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Talk to most drivers and they claim to have a secret to stretching a tank of gas. But before you waste your time and your money trying to save a few pennies, Gordon Tokumatsu separates fact from fiction.

Talk to most drivers and they claim to have a secret to stretching a tank of gas. But before you waste your time and your money trying to save a few pennies, Gordon Tokumatsu separates fact from fiction.

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We've compiled a wallet-friendly list of tips that could help you conserve gas.

Minimize Braking: Aggressive accelerating on a public road usually leads to one thing -- aggressive braking. The reverse is true, too. Better idea: Watch for traffic and intersections ahead, maintain a safe distance, and anticipate when you will need to decelerate.

Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated: Fuel efficiency is just one reason to maintain what keeps your two-ton object traveling at 75 mph in contact with the road. Check the glove compartment door or the inside of the driver's-side door pillar for the correct pressure.

Lighten Your Load: Remove items like golf clubs from your trunk (unless you're going golfing). Heavier vehicles use more fuel.

Premium vs. Regular: If your vehicle does not require it, premium fuel is a waste of money.

Avoid Quick Starts and Stops: More of a nagging reminder than a tip.

Consolidate Trips: Instead of running an errand, going home, then running another errand, take care of several errands at once.

Watch Your Speed: At high speeds, the amount of aerodynamic drag increases as a vehicle pushes through the air. Vehicles burn more fuel at higher speeds, but be reasonable -- traveling too slowly can create a traffic hazard.

Fill Up Now Instead of Paying Later: Waiting until your tank is low is a good way to limit your options. Find a good price, fill up, avoid desperation.

The Benefits of Manual Transmissions: Vehicles with manual transmissions, if operated with fuel efficiency in mind, generally use less fuel than those with automatic transmissions. Manuals also are more fun on the right car on the right road and in the hands of the right driver. On the 405 in heavy traffic, not so much.

This is far from exhaustive, so please add any advice in the comments area below. And, for more suggestions, check out AAA's guide or the Department of Energy's guide

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