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Sensible Driving Can Save Fuel

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Original Title: Prudent Driving Can Result in Major Fuel Cost Cut

With gas prices spiraling upward and no end in sight, many motorists are wondering how they can conserve fuel. The best answer appears to be a change in driving habits.

Here are some tips for cutting gasoline consumption:

- Drive slower. Keeping highway speed to 55 mph uses 21 percent less gasoline than racing down the freeway at 70 mph.

- Keep your foot still. Driving at a steady speed can help conserve fuel.

- Accelerate slowly but steadily. The harder you step down on the accelerator, the more gas your engine is going to drink.

- Shift gears. If you drive a manual shift vehicle, upshift before your engine "winds up." When driving at highway speeds, change to highest gear as soon as possible.

- Roll up the windows. Open windows cause aerodynamic drag, reducing your mileage by as much as 10 percent.

- Think ahead. Almost everyone has to drive, but cutting unnecessary trips and consolidating errands can save gas.

- Plan your route. Avoid curvy or hilly roads whenever possible. Climbing and turning force your engine to work harder, resulting in poorer mileage.

- Stay on the pavement. Dirt or gravel roads can result in a mileage penalty of as much as 30 percent.

- Stay in sync. Stoplights are usually timed for a particular speed. Driving steadily at slightly below the legal speed limit can allow you to hit a series of green lights.

- Watch that left foot. Even a slight pressure on the clutch or brake can make the engine work harder, exacting a mileage penalty.

- Don't warm up. Prolonged warm up periods waste gas. Most cars can be driven cold, as long as they're not immediately accelerated to high speed.

- Hit the gas station early. Your gasoline-buying dollar will go further if you fill up when at the coolest time of the day. Gasoline is densest when the air temperature is low, giving you more bang for your buck.

- Tune it up. Cars that are regularly maintained run most efficiently and use the least gas. Be sure and replace fuel and air filters frequently.

- Pump up your tires. Inflating tires to the maximum recommended level can reduce rolling resistance, resulting in improved mileage.

- Sweat it out. Auto air conditioners can reduce fuel economy by as much as 20 percent.

- Drop some weight. Remove unnecessary items from the trunk and interior of your car. Every extra pound in your car can decrease mileage.

- Consider the alternatives. Think about taking carpooling, public transportation, walking or riding a bike. Nothing saves gas like leaving your car in the garage.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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