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With a gallon of gas now costing more than a gallon of milk in most parts of the country, everybody's looking for ways to get more miles to the gallon and keep more money in their wallets. Of course we've all heard the list of these gas-saving tips that can really help cut your fuel expenses: drive less by consolidating trips whenever possible; keep your car tuned up and your tires properly inflated; slow down and avoid sudden starts and stops.
Those things are the "biggies" when it comes to cutting down on fuel costs, but here are three little gas-savings tricks you may not have heard before:
Click It: After filling your tank, always make sure you tighten the gas cap until it "clicks." Otherwise you'll be losing gas out of the tank through evaporation-- and gasoline evaporates quickly. In fact, a missing or poorly fitting cap can reduce overall fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. That's serious money disappearing into thin air.
Keep It Cool: Depending on your car's design, using the air conditioner reduces fuel economy by anywhere from 3 to 10 percent, but that can jump to as high as 20 percent when you crank it up on really hot days. Rolling down the windows instead of using the AC seems to be a simple alternative, but there's a catch: According to a study by the Society of Automotive Engineers, at normal open highway speeds, driving with the windows rolled down on many vehicles creates enough additional wind resistance to more than offset the fuel saved by not using the AC. So the general rule is, roll down the windows when driving around town and at slow speeds, but keep them rolled up and use the AC when you're cruising down the highway. Also, park in the shade whenever possible and get one of those windshield "sun shades" so that your car won't get so hot inside and require you to blast the AC when you start it up. You'll save money, and the Earth's resources.
Turn It Upside Down: It's probably only going to get you an extra ounce or two of gas, but once you've filled your tank and the pump has finally shut off, always turn the pump handle 180 degrees (upside down) while it's still inserted in the tank. Particularly on older model pumps, there's a smidgeon more of extra gas - which you've paid for! - trapped in nozzle of the handle that otherwise won't end up in your tank. Yeah, sure, it's only a few extra drops, but at today's gas prices that's like not finishing your glass of milk.
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Photo by jcarlosn via Flickr Creative Commons