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Published: Sunday, 3/4/2012

Tips on saving gas

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Unless you're planning to swap a Chevrolet Suburban for a Ford Fiesta, your wallet might be better off with you keeping what you drive and saving gas by altering driving habits and ensuring proper maintenance of the vehicle. Here are some tips from AAA on how to cut your fuel consumption and keep a few extra dollars in your pocket:

Properly inflate tires: This seems like a simple one, but according to AAA, only 17 percent of cars have all four tires properly inflated. Perhaps more surprisingly, AAA said a survey found 85 percent of motorists don't know how to property check tire pressure. It should be done when the tires are cold, not after driving, and pressure should match the manufacturer's recommendation, not what's stamped on the tire's sidewall.

Drive more gently: The U.S. Department of Energy says aggressive driving can cut fuel economy by a third. Avoid that by easing into the gas and going lightly on the brakes coming into stops. When approaching stop signs and red lights, lift off the gas as early as possible to coast into the stop.

Drive the speed limit: Despite what Sammy Hagar sings, driving 55 on the highway is actually a pretty good idea. The Department of Energy says each 5 mph driven over 60 is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas.

Plan errands ahead: Combining multiple tasks into one trip is more efficient than making multiple short trips with a cold engine each time. You can also use online mapping tools such as AAA's TripTik Travel Planner to help plan routes. It's free at AAA.com.

Find cheaper gas: We didn't say this was going to be rocket science. But there are all sorts of smart phone aps and Web sites devoted to helping you save a few bucks when you fill up your tank. Check out www.ToledoBlade.com/gas for a list of the lowest gas prices in the Toledo area. Just remember that driving 30 miles out of your way and leaving your engine idling in line for 10 minutes are not going to help.



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