Gas prices are rising. Check out these fuel saving tips from AAA

Gas prices have increased 40% compared to December 2020. The average is about $3.56 per gallon in the tri-state area.
NORRISTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The prices at the pump are raising eyebrows across the Philadelphia region.

"It's outrageous, it's ridiculous," said Terrence Manopello of Bridgeport.

"It's hurting my pockets," said Derrick Brown of West Philadelphia.

Gas prices have increased 40% compared to December 2020. The average is about $3.56 per gallon in the tri-state area.

"We're looking at prices in some parts of our region, double digits in the last week and that is mostly because of what is happening overseas," said AAA spokesperson Jana Tidwell. "The tension between Russia and Ukraine is definitely pushing the price of crude oil up."

AAA said that there is concern Russia will react to potential western sanctions by withholding crude oil from an already tight global market, thus pushing prices up and forcing drivers to react accordingly.

"It makes me think out my commute like, 'should I take the train into town because traffic, and I'm going to burn more gas?'" said Derrick Brown of West Philadelphia.

"I think it's ridiculous that we have to pay an arm and a leg just to get around," said Laurie D'Marco of Plymouth Meeting.

So as drivers try to find ways to save more money, AAA said think about what's inside your car.

"Something else to think about: getting the junk out of your trunk," said Tidwell. " Many of us, I've been guilty of it, use our trunk space as storage space. The heavier the vehicle is, the more gasoline it takes to power it."

Here are some other AAA tips to help you save:

Ownership, Maintenance & Repairs
  • When buying a car, look for models that offer the best fuel economy in their class. For most drivers, an optional larger and/or more-powerful engine is unnecessary.
  • Maintain your car according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Modern cars don't need "tune ups," but regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy, performance and longevity.
  • Take your car to a repair shop as soon as possible if the "Check Engine" light comes on. This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.
  • Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blowout.

The Daily Drive

  • Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
  • Avoid "jackrabbit" starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.

To idle or not to idle.

  • Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It's unnecessary and wastes fuel.
  • Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.
  • When driving in town, adjust your speed to "time" the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.
  • When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.
  • Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.
  • Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.
  • If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can without "lugging" the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting - for example, going directly from first gear to third.

Don't be Fueled into Wasting Gas
The practices above will definitely help improve fuel economy. Also keep these more general fuel saving tips in mind:

  • Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.
  • Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.
  • If you own more than one car, use the most fuel efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.

Fuel Economy Myths
  • In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.
  • Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than larger models.
  • Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. On the highway even an empty bike, canoe or ski rack can reduce fuel economy, and a loaded rack or car-top container will have a major effect on gas mileage.
  • AAA research has found that unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car's manufacturer, it provides no added benefit. Motorists should refer to their vehicle's owner's manual to check which type of gasoline is recommended for their engine.
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