Experts give tips on holding down driving costs

Monday, May 05, 2008

From an Associated Press article by Eileen Powell:

When David Champion is behind the wheel of a car, he accelerates slowly and brakes gingerly. He tries to drive, he says, as if there were a cup of coffee on the dashboard that would shower him with scalding liquid if he were overzealous with the accelerator or the brake.

The driving habits adopted by Champion, director of automobile testing for Consumer Reports, have as much to do with saving money as they do with safety. . . .

Here, for example, is what a family that drives 12,500 miles per year in a vehicle with a fuel economy of 20.1 miles per gallon could save in the six specific areas:

• Keeping tires properly inflated, which can improve gas mileage by about 3 percent, for a savings of 20 gallons of gas a year, or up to $65.

• Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil, for a gain of 1 percent to 2 percent and annual savings of $40.

• Cutting the number of miles traveled by 5 percent through combining trips, walking or taking mass transit, for $100.

• Eliminating jackrabbit starts, speeding and rapid braking at highway speeds for as much as 80 gallons a year, or $260.

• More-sensible driving around town for about 30 gallons, or $100.

• Clearing 100 pounds of junk from the trunk to save 12 gallons, or $40.

People who take all those steps could potentially cut their gas costs by $605 a year.