Smart driving, vehicle maintenance can save gas

By Thomas Garcia PNT Staff Writer

With gas at an average of $3.99 a gallon consumers are looking for ways to improve and increase their gas mileage.

Automobile manufacturers are developing newer vehicles that are fuel efficient. But what about people who are trying to get the best mileage possible from an older vehicle?

Local automotive experts offered some gas saving tips for those not yet in the market for a new, hybrid, electric or alternative fuel vehicle.

Upkeep of vehicle

Simply making sure that your vehicle is kept in good running condition will increase your mileage, said Portales Big Valley, service advisor, Steve Bertrand.

Keeping your vehicle tuned up, getting an oil change when required, and replacing an air filter are all things that can help improve your gas mileage, he said.

“Another tip is to make sure your tires are properly inflated,” Bertrand said. “A low tire could cause your gas mileage to drop.”

Drive sensibly
When on the road maintaining a constant speed using cruise control can help gas mileage, Bertrand said.

“When you don’t use cruise control you are constantly fluctuating the speed and engine power of the vehicle,” Bertrand said.

Speeding, and braking can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway, according to the Government Web Site www.fueleconomy.gov.

“Most vehicle’s peak gas mileage is set at 60 mph” said Chad Messick, a Portales NAPA auto parts store salesman. “Your gas mileage can be different depending if you have a light foot or lead foot.”

Leaving your vehicle idling can improve and decrease gas usage, Messick said.