Properly inflated tires, driving slower, and emptying out the trunk among the best ways to avoid excessive trips to the pump.
As the nation's economic woes mount, many Americans plan to stay close to home this summer. Six in 10 Americans say they will spend less on vacations this summer or not take one at all, according to a new report by TrueCredit.com.
Among those rethinking travel plans, 72 percent cited fuel costs as their primary concern. Indeed, a family planning a 1,000-mile road trip, for example, can expect to pay at least $600 more than they did last year.
But paying more than $4 a gallon at the pump shouldn't be an excuse to nix the family vacation. With just a few minor changes, motorists don't have to buy a hybrid to increase fuel economy by up to 50 percent. So before hitting the road, check out these 10 tips to lower your gasoline bill:
1. Feed the Michelin Man!
One out of every 3 cars on the road in the United States has at least one underinflated tire. Pumping up your tires properly could save up to $2 every time you fill the gas tank. The US Department of Energy estimates that Americans will waste more than $1.5 billion of gasoline this summer because of low tire pressure. For best results, use the recommended p.s.i. printed on the side of the tire, not the one in the automobile's owner's manual.
2. Your car is not a moving closet.
If you like to keep golf clubs in the trunk just in case you get the urge to play 18 holes, consider that every 100 pounds you add to the trunk reduces fuel efficiency by 1 to 2 percent. That's 4 to 7 cents a gallon, or up to a $1.05 every time you fill up a 15-gallon tank. "Stop using the car as a spare bedroom. Call Goodwill, have [them] take all the stuff out of the car, and then enjoy the lighter load," says Diane MacEachern, author of "Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World."
3. Don't move the junk in your trunk to the roof.