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Tips to Save Money as Gas Prices Rocket

Fairfield County's average gas prices continue to screech ever upward.

With state and national prices rising rapidly – and the summer drive season not even on the horizon yet – many anxious drivers are looking for fuel- and money-saving tips to squeeze every drop out of a gallon of gas.

To help motorists alleviate gas pump pain, AAA Southern New England has some fuel-saving tips:

Properly inflate tires : Only 17 percent of cars on the road have all four tires properly inflated, yet you can increase fuel economy by 3 percent if your tires are at proper pressure, says the U.S. Department of Energy . It’s important to check tire pressures monthly and to do so correctly. Do so when tires are cold and the car hasn’t been driven recently. They should be inflated to levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, not by the pressure levels stamped on the tire’s sidewall. Proper pressures can be found in owner’s manual or driver’s side door placard.

Take it easy on gas and brake pedals : One of the easiest, most cost-effective way to conserve fuel is to change your driving style. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, ease up on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, coast up to the light rather than braking last-minute. And once the light turns green, don’t gun the engine; instead, gently accelerate. Aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

Drive the speed limit : Observing the speed limit conserves fuel. Each five mph driven over 60 mph is equivalent to paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination and avoid the rush to arrive.

Plan your errands : Combine multiple tasks and errands into one trip. Several short trips with a cold engine each time uses twice as much gas than one longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

Lighten the load: It stands to reason heavier vehicles use more fuel. Lighten your car’s load by cleaning out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. Avoid using a roof rack to transport luggage or other equipment, especially over long distances on the highway. A loaded roof rack affects a vehicle’s aerodynamics and creates extra drag that reduces fuel economy.

Keep up-to-date on vehicle maintenance: Keeping a car running properly helps achieve maximum fuel economy. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and don’t ignore warning lights indicating something might wrong. Warning lights can signal problems that can greatly decrease a car’s fuel efficiency.

If those options don’t help you save money on gas, here’s one that might: use your bicycle whenever possible.

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