How to stretch your dollar and improve the gas mileage of your vehicle

TAMPA, Fla. - As drivers in the Bay Area patiently wait for gas prices to go down, we're taking action to help you stretch the gas in your tank. 

The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Tampa is $2.54 which is even with the national average. Floridians saw prices surge when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma came through. At that time, prices reached their highest in about three years, but in the last week there's been a 6 cent drop and Triple A predicts another 5 to 10 cent drop in the next week.

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To help you stretch a dollar and improve the MPG of your vehicle, AAA offers some advice.

"One thing you can do is when you're at that red light, the red light turns green, don't slam on the accelerator. The more you slam on the accelerator, the more gas you burn," says Mark Jenkins, AAA Spokesman.

Aggressive driving, speeding, rapid acceleration, and rapid braking can reduce fuel economy by 10% to 40%, which can mean the difference of 25 cents to $1.02 per gallon. 


Jenkins offers the following tips as well:
-Unload the weight. The more weight in your vehicle, the harder the engine has to work. An extra 100 pounds can reduce your miles per gallon by about 1%, or 3 cents per gallon.

-Having a roof rack is similar to driving with your windows down. It creates excess drag on the vehicle and can reduce fuel economy by around 2% to 8% in the city, 6% to 17% on the highway, and 10% to 25% on the interstate. It's recommended you remove the roof rack when not in use.

-The faster you drive, the more your engine is going to work. Every five miles over 50 is like paying an additional 18-36 cents per gallon. On that note, your gas mileage can drop off as much as 15% between driving at or below 65mph and driving above 65mph.

-Cruise control goes a long way because you're not throttling constantly. When you're on the interstate, try to use cruise control as often as possible.

-Turning off or keeping the air conditioning on low can help save gas but turning off the A/C and opening the windows on the interstate has the opposite effect.

-Only fill your gas tank with gas appropriate for your vehicle. Check your owner's manual. If it says "regular" gasoline is OK for your vehicle, there's no reason to splurge for premium.

-Avoid excess idling. Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. It only takes 10 cents worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. 

-Combine errands.

-Shop around for the best price. Apps like AAA and Gas Buddy allow you to search for low prices in your neighborhood. Keep in mind gas stations near airports and highway exits often have the most expensive prices. Since competition drives gas prices lower, look for places where there are more than one gas station in proximity of each other. Gas stations in rural areas are unlikely to have the lowest prices if there are not competitors nearby.

Paying close attention to these points can mean the difference of 54 cents a gallon at the pump. 

For more information, visit https://www.fueleconomy.gov/ for ways to improve the MPG of your vehicle. 

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