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Tips to Save Money as Gas Prices Rocket

Westchester County's average gas prices continue to rise ever upward.

With state and national prices rising rapidly – and the summer driving season isn’t even on the horizon yet – many anxious drivers are looking for fuel- and money-saving tips to squeeze every drop out of a gallon of gas.

To help motorists alleviate gas-pump pain, AAA has some fuel-saving tips:

Properly inflate tires : Only 17 percent of cars on the road have all four tires properly inflated, yet you can increase fuel economy by 3 percent if your tires are at proper pressure, says the U.S. Department of Energy . It’s important to check tire pressures monthly and to do so correctly. Checks should be made when tires are cold, when the car hasn’t been driven recently. Tires should be inflated to levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, not the pressure levels stamped on the tire’s sidewall. Proper pressures can be found in your owner’s manual or the driver’s-side door placard.

Be gentle on gas and brake pedals : One of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to conserve fuel is to change your driving style. Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, ease up on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, coast up to the light, rather than braking last-minute. Once the light turns green, don’t gun the engine; gently accelerate instead. Aggressive driving can lower a car’s fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

Drive the speed limit : Observing the speed limit conserves fuel. Each five miles per hour driven over 60 miles per hour is equivalent to paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination and avoid rushing to arrive.

Plan your errands : Combine multiple tasks and errands into one trip. Several short trips with a cold engine each time uses twice as much gas than one longer multipurpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

Lighten the load: It stands to reason a heavier vehicle uses more fuel. Lighten your car’s load by cleaning out the trunk, cargo areas and passenger compartments. Avoid using a roof rack to transport luggage or other equipment, especially over long distances on the highway, as a loaded roof rack affects a vehicle’s aerodynamics and creates extra drag that reduces fuel economy.

Keep up-to-date on vehicle maintenance: Keeping a car running properly helps achieve maximum fuel economy. Be sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, and don’t ignore warning lights indicating something might be wrong. Warning lights can signal problems that can greatly decrease a car’s fuel efficiency.

If those options don’t help you save money on gas, here’s one that might: Use your bicycle whenever possible.

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