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Your driving habits are costing you more in gas. Here’s how to fix it

Although the National average gas price Down to $4.18 per gallon — down from $4.82 a month ago — there are a few ways to make your gas tank last a little longer. While there are some techniques that can help, there are some myths that you should stay away from.

From ditching the air conditioning while driving to turning your car off completely at stop lights to changing your air filters more often, we explain what works and what doesn’t.

We share some tips for saving gas while driving, as well as myths to avoid. Plus, here it is How to save money on gas at the pump.

Myths about saving gas aren’t really helping

Skip these tips — they don’t really work and may be a waste of your time and money.

Don’t buy a device marketed to help fuel efficiency: Commonly known as fuel economizers, these devices are installed in your engine and promote fuel savings. But we don’t recommend them. “People should be suspicious of any device that promises to increase fuel efficiency,” Patrick de Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy, told CNET. Some may avoid emissions and may be illegal.

Do not change your air filter more often than recommended: A dirty air filter can cause problems for other areas of your vehicle that won’t change your gas mileage.

Don’t schedule too frequent oil changes: It’s a common myth that if you’re due for an oil change, your car’s gas mileage will suffer. While it’s good to keep up with your car’s maintenance to prevent future problems, don’t expect your gas mileage to improve.

Your mileage can improve by 1% to 2%, however, if you use the manufacturer’s recommended motor oil.

Now that you know what doesn’t work, here are some tips to improve your mileage.

Slow and steady wins the race

Fast acceleration burns gas at a faster rate than driving at a slower, more steady pace. If you can maintain a steady speed, it will help you save gas. De Haan explained that people who are constantly rushing and pressing on the gas pedal consume more gas due to rapid acceleration.

“If people drive at slower speeds and avoid running through red lights, that helps prevent them from going through gas and using energy,” he said.

Vehicles are most efficient when you’re driving between 55 and 60 miles per hour — anything above that starts to reduce the car’s efficiency. “Slow down and go 60 instead of 70,” De Haan said.

Cars lined up through the blizzard

Your driving pattern affects your gas mileage.

James Martin/CNET

Use cruise control when possible

The easiest way to maintain a constant speed? Ship control. It’s an easy way to maintain a steady speed instead of slowing down and accelerating to get back to 55 miles per hour. It is best to use cruise control when you are driving on a flat road with no stops – for example, a highway.

“Cruise control is more effective than a human in maintaining speed and helps save fuel,” De Haan said.

Avoid idling: Turn off your car at red lights and other long stops

When you pull up at a busy red light, which usually takes several minutes to get in, or if you’re parked and waiting outside your children’s school, the Argonne National Laboratory recommends turning off your car if it idles for 10 seconds. or further.

Turning your car off for as little as 10 seconds can save you fuel and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a government agency says.

For diesel vehicles, however, the advice is not the same. De Haan says engines run on a compression basis so turning off your diesel vehicle while idling isn’t as convenient.

Know when to use the air conditioner and when to open the windows

Turning off the air conditioner in your car can save gas, but not in all driving situations. Having the AC on while the vehicle is already running will not add more stress to your engine and cause you to use gas at a faster rate. But when your car is idling, running the AC can put more strain on the engine, which requires more gas to help it work harder, DeHaan said.

Is driving with the windows down a more fuel-efficient alternative? Not always, especially when driving on highways or at high speeds. It can actually use more gas because it increases air resistance, or “air drag,” according to Schaefer Autobody Centers. This, in turn, slows down your car and requires more fuel to run.

It’s usually best to keep the windows open when you’re driving on mostly idle city streets or streets with low speed limits. Otherwise, using an air conditioner is your best option.

Remove racks from your car when not in use

If you drive a vehicle with removable roof racks, DeHaan suggests removing them when you’re not using them. This can increase the aerodynamics of your car, just like rolling down your windows.

This logic applies to large racks that hold luggage, but bike and ski racks are generally fine to leave in your vehicle.

General Tire on a red Nissan Titan pickup truck

Make sure your tires are properly inflated before hitting the road.

John Wang/CNET Cars

Inflate your tires properly

Making sure your tires are properly inflated will help your car’s gas mileage. The US Department of Energy says that by inflating your tires to the correct air pressure you can improve your gas mileage by 3% (although the average is 0.6%). Your gas mileage can decrease by approximately 0.2% for every 1 pound per square inch of air. For example, if your tires are supposed to be inflated to 36 PSI and they are sitting at 30 PSI, your gas mileage could decrease by 1.2%.

When air pressure drops below 25 PSI, an increase in friction can occur, forcing your engine to work harder, resulting in lower miles per gallon, DeHaan said. Most engines will warn you when one of your tires is low. (A warning light looks like a closed parenthesis with an exclamation mark in between and a squiggly line below.)

Before airing your tires, check the manufacturer’s requirements in your owner’s manual or on your car’s door sticker to see what the air pressure should be. If you can’t find any, you can visit a website like to get the answer.

Combine your trips while running errands

If you have several errands running on opposite sides of town, plan it so you don’t have to drive back and forth. For example, if the post office is next to a coffee shop but the post office isn’t open yet, make that your last stop instead of going back to that area.

When you need to do things in places that are not nearby, it’s best to try to do them all in one trip. Your car’s engine is more efficient when it’s warm, which can save you quite a bit on gas. This prevents you from driving extra miles by taking trips on different days.

Wait for as many stoplights as possible

Hitting too many stop lights in a row can take a toll on your gas mileage, especially if you idle at each light. Your car is still burning fuel while you are parked and you are getting zero gas mileage during that time.

It is best to try to time the lights when they are green to avoid stopping, this is not always possible. If you see that the light has already turned yellow or red, instead of using the gas pedal, slow down and go to the light and then brake hard when you get there. This will help you save some gas.

Does automatic start and stop technology increase your mileage?

Many new cars have start-stop technology that automatically activates when you come to a complete stop and press the gas pedal. These systems automatically turn off the engine when the car comes to a complete stop — allowing your AC and other electronics to continue working. As soon as you press the gas pedal, the engine immediately turns back on.

According to AAA, vehicles equipped with this automatic system will see a 7% improvement in fuel economy. If your car has this feature, you’re already saving gas without doing anything extra.

For more money saving tips, click here 27 ways to cut costs around the house Now and then A trick to reduce your electricity bill. Well, here are some Tips to save money on food, gas and travel.

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