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Business // Thinking Smart
David S. Chang

Tips To Save Money At The Pump

Hawaii consistently has the highest gas prices in the country, with a current average cost at $4.57 per gallon.

Although we directly can’t control the price of gasoline at the pump, we can take steps to lower our usage.

Here are some steps to take to save money on gas by driving more efficiently and keeping your car in shape.

1) Slow down. Fuel economy drops significantly at speeds over 60 mph. For every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, you are paying an extra 30 cents per gallon for gas. Also, be gentler in accelerating and braking. Jackrabbit starts and sudden stops lower your gas mileage by 33 percent. Cruise control on highways can help you maintain constant speeds and, in many cases, help improve mileage.

2) Remove unneeded weight. Every 100 pounds of extra weight in your vehicle can reduce gas mileage by 2 percent. Smaller vehicles are affected more by the extra weight. A loaded roof rack can reduce gas mileage 5 percent because of the aerodynamic drag. Try to put items in the truck, if possible.

3) Avoid excessive idling. Between a quarter-gallon and a half-gallon of fuel is consumed for every hour your car is in idle. Turn off your car while in park. It only takes a few seconds’ worth of fuel to restart your vehicle.

4) Keep your engine in good shape. Check your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules and get regular engine checkups. Keeping your car in tune can improve your gas mileage by 4 percent, and by fixing serious maintenance problems such as a faulty oxygen sensor, you can improve your mileage by 40 percent!

5) Keep your tires in good shape. Tires that are properly inflated and aligned can improve gas mileage by 3.3 percent. For every 1 psi drop in tire pressure, gas mileage drops by 0.3 percent. The proper tire pressure is usually found on a sticker on the driver’s side door or in your manual. Properly maintained tires also are much safer and will last longer.

6) Use the recommended grade of oil. Some engine oils are better than others. Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil can improve your fuel efficiency by 1 to 2 percent.

7) Do research on local gas prices. Log on to hawaiigasprices.com to find the lowest gas prices in your area. If you have a smartphone, you can download the application Gas Buddy to scout local gas stations near you. It will list the current gas prices at stations near you.

8) Plan and combine trips. When running errands, try to plan ahead so you can reduce the distance you travel and use your vehicle when the engine is warmed up and efficient.

In addition to following these steps, you can go to fueleconomy.gov to find and compare the most fuel-efficient cars that will meet your needs. Selecting the type of car you will drive is one of the most important fuel-economy decisions you can make. The website also offers additional tips on how to save money on gas.

Happy driving!

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