by Tony Molla
Higher prices at the gas pump are a fact of life today. Some commuters share rides to manage the costs; others take public transportation. But if you are like countless other consumers, you depend on your personal vehicle to get you from Point A to Point B. So the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) have assembled some easy-to-follow tips from on how to conserve fuel and make sure your car or truck gets optimal miles per gallon.
- Monitor the health of your tires. Under-inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels waste fuel by forcing the engine to work harder.
- Remove excess weight. Remove unnecessary items from the vehicle. Less weight equals better mileage.
- Consolidate trips and errands. Also, try to plan those trips to times when traffic is light so you can avoid stop-and-go conditions.
- Keep your engine "tuned up." Replace filters and fluids as recommended in your owner’s manual; have engine performance problems (rough idling, poor acceleration, increased fuel use, etc.) corrected. Given today's high-tech engines, it's wise to have this type of work done by automobile technicians who are ASE-certified in engine performance.
- Use windows and air conditioning (A/C) wisely. Keep windows up when driving at highway speeds to reduce air drag. This is true even with the A/C on. But turn off the A/C in stop-and-go traffic to save fuel.
- Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family.
- Observe speed limits. Speeding decreases your miles per gallon.
- Drive gently. Sudden accelerations will guzzle gas. Anticipate the traffic patterns ahead, and adjust your speed gradually.
ASE works to improve automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of auto service professionals. ASE-certified technicians wear blue and white insignia and carry credentials listing their exact area(s) of certification. Their employers often display the blue and white ASE sign.
Visit www.ase.com for seasonal car care tips and more.