All across the nation, consumers are experiencing an increase in the annual average gas price. Factors like natural disasters and tension in the Middle East have impacted gas prices sending markets in an upward swing for most of the year. To help drivers save money at the pump, AAA offers the following fuel savings tips:
- Check your tires' air pressure: Fully inflated tires are easier to roll therefore require less energy from your motor. Most people only check their tires when they have their oil changed and by that time they can be several pounds low.
- Have your alignment checked: Driving a car with misaligned tires causes excessive friction and premature tire wear. The added resistance of tires tracking anything but parallel will put extra strain on your engine causing your fuel consumption to go up.
- Remove excess weight from your vehicle: Every extra pound you have in your car takes extra horsepower to haul down the road. There's no reason to keep your golf clubs in the trunk of your car at all times. Leave them in the garage.
- Wash your car: A clean waxed surface will slip through the air easier than a dirty surface. Reduce your wind drag by cleaning the mud and road debris from off of and under your car.
- Drive with your windows up: In the summer, many people think they can save fuel by turning off their air conditioner. Unless you are driving under 30 mph, the reduced aerodynamics will more than offset the power savings from running the compressor.
- Use the correct fuel for your vehicle: Most modern cars are designed and tested to run on 87 octane regular gasoline. There are not enough benefits in running premium fuel in a car designed for regular to offset the higher cost. Conversely, some vehicles are designed to run premium gasoline, usually 93 octane, and those vehicles suffer from a loss of power and efficiency if lower octane fuel is used. Therefore any instant cost savings at the pump will be quickly offset by decreased mileage and efficiency and possible engine damage.
- Change your oil and other lubricating fluids: Your engine oil lubricates the moving parts of your motor and over time it becomes contaminated and loses its ability to effectively lubricate those parts. As oil loses its viscosity, it allows more friction on bearing surfaces, robbing power and potentially causing premature engine failure. Oil is the most important of the lubricating fluids, but don't forget power steering fluid, transmission fluid, differential and wheel bearing grease, and even your engine's coolant can cause unnecessary friction and cause your motor to be less efficient.
- Replace fuel filters and air filters as needed: Your vehicle's engine requires a clean and steady flow of fuel and air to be at its most efficient. A gasoline engine is basically an air pump that combines gasoline with air to create energy. If you restrict either of those components, you will produce less energy. Less energy equates to a motor working harder to perform the same job and in turn, use more fuel.