Experts Offer Tips on Getting Better Gas Mileage

Most respondents to a new AAA Texas poll say gasoline prices are reaching the tipping point to cause them to drastically reduce their driving. Experts offer tips on getting the most out of a fill-up. Ed Mayberry reports.


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Gasoline prices in Houston currently range from about $3.21 per gallon up to $3.69, depending on which gas station you visit. Money Management International’s Kim McGriff.

“One of those things is to actually do a little comparison shopping. Prices do vary from one end of the town to another, for example, so it might be cheaper to get gas near work than it is at home.”

A link to websites with the latest gas prices is on our website. The EPA says gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour. Roger Clark is with General Motors Energy Center.

“Believe it or not, how you drive can adjust your numbers by up to 20 percent plus or 20 percent minus. Anything above 50 miles an hour, for every ten miles an hour higher, you lose about four miles per gallon — it’s very, very sensitive. As you’re accelerating, try to limit the acceleration as much as possible. Obviously, you don’t want to be a nuisance in traffic, but you also want to plan ahead when it’s time to stop. Because every time you stop, you destroy all the energy that you had to put into the vehicle to accelerate it.”

Speeding, rapid acceleration and braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent. Clark says a properly-tuned engine can improve fuel economy by about four percent  — changing oil and filters and maintaining brakes. Properly-inflated tires can improve your mileage by a further three percent. Air conditioning reduces fuel efficiency by up to ten percent, so consider rolling the windows down at lower speeds. But at speeds above 45, wind drag uses more fuel than running the AC. And MMI’s Kim McGriff says if you have to run multiple errands in a day, make a plan that will consolidate trips.

“Just the other day my husband and I were looking for a specific item and we were about to jump in the car, and I said ‘well, wait, why don’t we call them and see if they have it, first?’ If you do that a couple times a week, (it) could really, really make a big difference on how much you’re paying in gas.”

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