For Immediate Release: May 22, 2013
Media Contact: Alison apRoberts - 916-654-4989


Driving Tips Can Trim the Cost of Summer Travel
Get More Miles per Gallon With Simple Fuel-Saving Habits

SACRAMENTO - Ready to hit the road this summer? Before you go, the California Energy Commission has some driving tips to help you save fuel.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kickoff to the summer driving season in California, and that makes it the right time to fuel up on your fuel efficiency know-how.

The price at the pump for regular gasoline in California averaged $4.05 per gallon on May 20, 2013, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That's 29 cents less than last year, when regular gas averaged $4.34 per gallon on May 21, 2012. Nationally, regular gasoline averaged $3.67 per gallon on May 20, 2013; last year on May 21, the average price was $3.71 per gallon.

The Energy Commission expects supplies of gasoline and diesel to be sufficient this summer. But, whatever the season, it's worthwhile to adopt driving habits that can save you money and extend the life of your vehicle. Here are a few:

Ease up on the pedal. Rapid accelerating and braking can affect fuel mileage by as much as 25 percent. As you speed up fuel economy goes down. You'll lose roughly 1 percent in fuel economy for every mile per hour you drive above 55 mph. If your car averages 30 mpg at 55 mph, you'll only get about 28.5 mpg at 60 mph, 27 mpg at 65 mph, and 25.5 mpg at 70 mph. (The difference varies, depending on the model and age of your vehicle.)

Tune up. The combined effect of driving with dirty oil, and air and oil filters that should be changed can decrease your car's efficiency by 2.5 mpg. Worn spark plugs can decrease efficiency by 2 mpg, while a non-working oxygen sensor can decrease it by as much as 3 mpg.

Check your tires. Keep your tires properly inflated. Low tire pressure reduces gas mileage and increases tread wire. Tires should be properly balanced and aligned to get the best mileage. Check your owner's manual or the vehicle's door side panel for proper inflation information.

Lighten up. Keep your load to a minimum to maximize your mileage, especially on the vehicle's exterior. A load on the roof rack lowers gas mileage more than the same load carried inside the car.

Take it easy on the AC. Air conditioning can drop mileage by 2 mpg, but rolling down the windows decreases fuel efficiency even more. Best option: Use the air vents as much as possible.

Avoid prolonged idling. Idling gets you nowhere at 0 mpg, so turn off the engine when you can.

Take the small car, if you have a choice. You'll spend twice the money on fuel driving a large SUV or truck at 75 mph as you would driving a small or mid-sized car at the same speed.

Buy a more fuel-efficient car. Since 1950, gasoline prices in California have doubled four times; twice since 2000.

Plan your trip. Getting lost and backtracking waste time and gas. The Visit California Website can help you plan weekend trips and summer vacations:

Fill up with regular. Most of today's cars and trucks (approximately 80 percent) run exactly the same on regular gasoline, which costs less than mid-grade or premium.

Shop around. Stations on the same intersection may have prices that differ by as much as 20 cents a gallon. Since all gasoline sold in California must meet strict fuel standards, most vehicles run well on any brand. Check out websites such as Gas Buddy ( or Fuel Me Up ( to find the lowest gas prices.

Consider carpooling or public transportation. On a bus or train, you can sit back, look out the window and leave the driving to someone else.

Find more driving tips on the California Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center website:

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