How to get the most out of your tank of gas to maximize fuel economy

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Summer travel looks a lot different this year, with millions of people on the move, but one thing that might slow you down are gas prices.

Consumer Reports has ways to fine-tune your driving to maximize fuel economy and ease the squeeze on your wallet.

Getting every mile out of your gas tank begins before you even hit the road.

"You want to start out by checking your tire pressure. Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your door jamb sticker can affect fuel economy, along with performance and handling," said Consumer Reports Auto Editor Mike Quincy.

Next, look up top. Remove the roof rack if it isn't being used. At highway speeds, more than 50% of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. Don't add to that by carrying unneeded things on the roof.

The saying goes "getting there is half the fun," so don't speed to your destination. Along with being a safety risk, it can really hurt your fuel economy.

CR found that reducing the speed of a RAV4 from 75 to 65mph improved fuel economy by six miles per gallon, and dropping down to 55mph improved it by another eight miles per gallon.

"The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. The goal should be to drive evenly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking help extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes, and tires too," said Quincy.

And before you leave, use your phone to check prices along your route. Generally, gas stations well off major highways and away from city centers may have better prices, as do warehouse stores and some travel centers.

Consumer Reports said you can save money and skip premium gas unless it is "required." This is indicated on the fuel filler door. Many cars list it as "recommended," which means it is optional.
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