AAA offers tips for combating high gas prices

AAA offers tips for combating high gas prices Gas prices have reached new record highs this week, averaging more than $2.32 per gallon in South Dakota.

While motorists may have a hard time finding inexpensive prices at the pump, they can easily find ways to stretch each gallon of gas. In addition to the financial savings, fuel conservation also helps provide a healthier environment and improved safety on our roads.

? Check your tires with a gauge regularly. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.

? Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment, and make sure your brakes are properly adjusted to minimize rolling resistance.

? Change your motor oil as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

? Check and replace air filters. Clogged filters can cause up to a 10-percent increase in fuel consumption.

? Don�t let your vehicle idle unnecessarily. Turn the engine off every time you need to �quickly run into� the store, bank, daycare, etc.

? If your vehicle can burn E-85 fuel, use it. If you are unsure as to whether or not your vehicle will burn E-85 fuel, refer to your owner�s manual or check with your vehicle�s manufacturer.

If you�re not a do-it-yourselfer, take your vehicle to a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop to have the above items

checked.

Practicing fuel efficient driving techniques also can improve fuel mileage more than 10 percent, the U.S. Department of Energy reports. The following tips will not only save gas but will help ensure your safety:

? Taking advantage of car pools or plan your errands better to make one trip instead of three or four.

? Observe the speed limit. As you drive faster, aerodynamic drag increases. At speeds above 55 mph, fuel economy drops rapidly.

? Take advantage of your cruise control feature to help you maintain a constant speed when traveling on highways.

? Avoid hard acceleration and drive defensively; try to brake and accelerate smoothly. Do not idle unnecessarily; most cars today do not need to be warmed up.

? Don't use premium fuel if your car does not require it.

? Keep your eyes open for low fuel prices, but don�t waste gas driving to a distant filling station to save a few cents.

? To earn rebates on your gas, sign up for the AAA Visa Card, which offers a rebate ranging from 2 percent to 5 percent on your fuel purchases depending on your total amount of retail purchases. For details, or to apply, go to www.aaa.com.

For more tips on conserving fuel, pick up a free copy of AAA's 12-page "Gas Watcher's Guide" at any AAA office, or call 800-222-4545.

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