Tips to Taking the Sting Out of High Gasoline Prices

August 31, 2005

Facts & Tips from the U.S. Department of Energy

  Image of a car owner removing heavy items from the truck. The caption says: Weighty Matters—Avoid carrying unneeded items in the trunk. Extra weight decreases gas mileage.

(NAPS)—When gasoline prices are high, nobody wants to be fuelish. It's bad for your pocketbook and the nation as well. According to the Department of Energy, passenger cars and light trucks account for almost 47 percent of U.S. oil consumption and are a major source of air pollution. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce gas mileage.

Driving Tips

  • Idle as little as possible—idling gets you 0 miles per gallon. The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. You need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away. Anything more simply wastes fuel and increases emissions.
  • Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by five percent around town.
  • Avoid high speeds. Each five mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.10 per gallon for gas.
  • Use air-conditioning only when necessary.

Car Maintenance Tips

  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. Properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by around 3.3 percent.
  • Get regular engine tune-ups and car maintenance checks. Replace clogged air filters—this can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, and it will also protect your engine. If your car has a faulty oxygen sensor, your gas mileage may improve by as much as 40 percent.
  • Combine errands into one trip. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multipurpose trip.

$ Long-Term Savings Tip

  • Consider a highly fuel-efficient vehicle for your next car, SUV, or truck purchase. Buying a standard vehicle, with high fuel efficiency, a hybrid vehicle, or an alternative-fuel vehicle for your next purchase, could save you a lot at the gas pump and help the planet at the same time. Vehicle emissions are a major source of U.S. air pollution today.

For some A to Z energy tips that include buying a new car or truck, what's on the energy horizon and fuel cost calculators to find and compare costs, visit and click on "energy saving tips" and select and "cars."

This article was written for the Department of Energy by the North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS). Other planned NAPS article topics include: home energy-savingtips; energy awareness; solar energy; ethanol; and ENERGY STAR®. If you are interested in including NAPS articles like this one in your agency newsletter, please contact Lani Macrae of the Department of Energy.