Simple steps could save you big at pumps

11:46 PM, Nov 5, 2012   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - A couple of weeks ago, the gas sign read $3.65 at a station in Golden Valley. On Monday, the same sign read $3.19 and there are several things you can do right now to get that price even lower.

"How many of us want an extra, two or three thousand dollars in our pocket at the end of the year? I know I do. So do these simple things and you'll save a lot of money," said University of St. Thomas professor Dr. John Abraham.

One of the first to purchase a hybrid car, Abraham drives a decade-old Honda Insight and shared his insight about how to get more bang for your buck when it comes to miles per gallon.

First tip, check your tire pressure. You've likely heard about the theory, but plenty of studies have proven that properly pressured wheels do equate to better gas mileage.

"If your tire pressure is 8 psi too low," said Abraham. "According to Oak Ridge National Laboratoy, if you raise your tire pressure to the standard, you're going to save 3 percent, which takes $3.65 to $3.54."

That's just a penny pinching small start.

A driver can get even more out of that gallon by driving more smoothly, like a limousine driver who keeps the champagne in its glass and avoids any herky-jerky movements.

"Accelerating slower, braking less and braking smoother can save more than 20 percent," said Abraham. "Which puts you below $3 per gallon gasoline."

It's that type of driving that has saved millions as UPS drivers deliver four billion packages each year. The company has saved even more by planning each route ahead of time.

"Since 2004, when we started really focusing on taking right hand turns, and minimizing the left hand turns we saved over 10 million gallons of fuel during that time," said UPS engineer John Zaic.

Although, the typical driver cannot always avoid right turns, the premise, to plan ahead and avoid things like rush hour traffic to create a more fuel efficient route can save an additional 20 cents a gallon.

As for speed, the cost saving alternative is to slow down.

"If you reduce your speed from 80 miles an hour to the speed limit, 65, you're going to save 20 percent which again puts you below $3.00 a gallon gasoline," said Abraham.

Weight can also weigh down your miles per gallon. For every 100 pounds you lose in your truck or car, you take $.06 off that $3.65 gallon of gas.

Finally, if you decide not to speed, driver smoother, properly inflate your tires and remove excess baggage from your car, it will drop your $3.65 per gallon price down to $2.02.

The savings is even greater when you toss in coupons from grocery store chains or use a gas station's discount card.

While you can't do all of these things, you can do some of them.

Additionally, there's always the gamble to save more when prices drop, which they've done quite considerably lately.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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