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Hitting the Road? 6 Tips to Save $$ Behind the Wheel

As the nation’s first unofficial summer holiday kicks into high gear, AAA projects that some 38 million drivers will hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend.

Despite fuel prices being lower than last Memorial Day, gas prices have gradually inched up. In order to ensure that you stretch your miles per gallon (mpg) in your ride or your rental, here are a few tips that could help you save more money.

  • Check the tire pressure. If your car was built in the last 10 years, it’s equipped with an Electronic Tire Pressure Sensor, which monitors the tire pressure. In case you’re driving a vehicle without the sensor, use a tire gauge to check the air pressure. Improperly inflated tires lead to lower MPG. Check the pressure in the spare tire, too. And make sure you have a tire repair kit handy in case the vehicle isn’t equipped with a working spare.
  • Use a navigation system. This helps avoid traffic congestion and provides the shortest route and the closest gas station.
  • Rent a fuel-efficient hybrid or 4-cylinder. Visit fueleconomy.gov to find the lowest gas prices and the most fuel-efficient vehicles to rent or purchase. Vehicles like the Toyota Prius Eco can achieve up to 53 mpg on the highway and provide a driving fuel range of up to 633 miles on a tank of gas. Another plus to renting most hybrids like a Prius or a 4-cylinder crossover like a Chevy Equinox is that they run on unleaded fuel, the cheapest grade!
  • Turn the air conditioning off. Although the weather is heating up, consider only using the a/c when traveling at highway speeds. However, when stuck in stop-and-go traffic, let the windows down and turn the a/c off to save on fuel.
  • Use cruise control. Speeding and jack-rabbit starts and stops could decrease gas mileage by 33 percent. Cruise control allows the driver to remain at a constant speed while behind the wheel. This could also minimize the chance of your holiday being hijacked by a traffic stop.
  • Pack like you’re flying. Just like flying, you should take only the necessary items for a road trip. Also avoid using the roof rack, because it causes the vehicle to drag and decrease fuel-efficiency.

 

Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst, a radio host and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. Catch him on his radio show, “Auto Trends with JeffCars.com” at 1280 kxeg.com or through the TunedIn App on 1280 The Trumpet @3:15 p.m. ET every Saturday. For more on Jeff, drive over to JeffCars.com or follow him on Twitter @JeffCars.