Gas Prices   


​These days driving up to the pump feels like a mild form of torture. And with no end to the rising gas prices in sight, it makes the prospect of traveling anywhere or taking vacation seem like a luxury. As I drove in to work today the price at the closest gas station was $3.86, and it's projected to hit $4.00 very soon!

So this got me thinking, if we cannot directly affect the gas prices, what can we control to make the most of our gas mileage?

The results I found were astonishing! Get out your sunscreen and beach balls folks, because vacation can still happen if you follow these money saving tips!

1. Keep your tires aligned. You can save up to $158 in gas by making sure you have your tire aligned during your routine preventative maintenance. If your tires are bowed out of alignment by even a little, it is the same as dragging your tire sideways for 100 miles for every 20,000 you drive. It can also wear your tires faster, costing you up to $70 more a year.

2. Keep your tires at the right pressure. Underinflated tires can not only cost you over $700 in wasted gas a year, but it can also wear your tires twice as fast, costing an additional $150 a year. AAA has state-of-the-art equipment designed to inflate your tires to the appropriate amount in record time.

3. Change your air filter early and often. Replacing your air filter at least every 10,000 miles or once a year can save you more than $285. Up to 14 million gallons of air is sucked through your air filter every year, and if the engine can't get enough air, the combustion efficiency will drop by at least 10 percent costing you extra bucks at the pump.

4. Tighten your gas cap. Loose or damages gas caps can allow gas to evaporate. According to The Car Care Council about 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.

5. Drive more efficiently. Aggressive driving with rapid acceleration and braking can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town costing you up to $600 a year in wasted fuel. Keeping your speed to a constant 55 mph and using cruise control will help you drive more efficiently and pay off in the long run.

Reader Question:

Q. I had my fan motor replaced about 6 months ago. And about 2 months ago, the fan motor stopped working on high--now it only works on low or medium. Do you think the new fan motor is bad, or is there a short? - Terry

A. Terry, I got in touch with one of the mechanics at AAA Car Care and asked him about the issue. He said that your car has something called a resistor in the fan motor system. The resistor controls the different speeds of the fan. Based on what you have described, it sounds like one side of the resistor might be shorted out. Of course, this is only his diagnosis based on your description. Ask your mechanic to check out the resistors during your next visit to determine if that is in fact the issue. Thanks so much for your great question and good luck!

As always, I love getting questions from readers. If you have a car problem or just wish you knew more about cars in general, please feel free to email me. I look forward to hearing from you.

If you have any tip and tricks, or there is something you want to know about, email me​

Posted by Beth A. Stephenson on 5/1/2011

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