2006-05-05 / Community

Fuel-Saving Tips For Summer Travel

Traditionally Memorial Day kicks off the season of summer vacation driving and rising gas prices. However, this year gas prices get a jump on breaking records. Although many drivers are looking seriously at hybrid cars and finally getting it together to car pool, extra miles can be squeezed out of every fill-up if drivers follow a few simple rules.

"Everything comes down to two basic categories of advice, car care and driving habits," said Ray Palermo, director of public relations for national auto insurer, Response Insurance. "Getting a tune-up will help with gas mileage, extend the life of your car and ensure a safer ride, but there are many cost-free ways to save money as well."

Here are some fuel-saving trips for drivers this summer:

+ Smooth out your driving style by avoiding "jack rabbit" starts and sharp breaking. Both waste gas and can present a hazard for others on the road.

+ It is estimated that every mile per hour driven above 55 MPH costs 1% in fuel economy. So, slowing down can be both safe and fuel-efficient. Maintaining a constant speed also maximizes your car's performance. If road conditions permit, use your car's cruise control.

+ Air conditioners can account for a 10-15% impact on mileage. If you can't avoid it, do not turn on the air conditioner as a first response to the heat. Start your drive with the windows open to exhaust the hot air out of the rear windows and then put on the AC if needed. This will also enable the air conditioning to work faster and more efficiently when turned on.

+ Accelerate a little as you approach a hill, rather than hitting the gas and switching gears once on the incline.

+ Lighten the car's load by removing all unnecessary items from the trunk, such as the bag of sand and shovel from the winter. Every 200 pounds of weight reduces gas efficiency by one mile per gallon.

+ Keep your tires inflated to the level recommended by the manufacturer. Incorrectly inflated tires impact fuel efficiency.

A free brochure, Improving Your Gas Mileage- 10 Tips To Save You Money at the Gas Pump , is available by calling 1-800-610-5928 or www.response.com.

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