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Gas prices continue to spiral upwards and are spiking as they do every approaching summer. In these tough economic times, fewer fill-ups at the pump will help you and your family save significant amounts of money better spent or saved elsewhere. Short of investing in a more fuel-efficient vehicle, can the average car owner make some simple changes that will result in major cost-savings at the pump? Try some of the following suggestions; you will visit your local gas station less frequently and have a little more jingle in your pocket.

Clean Out the Trunk

Vow to carry only the necessary in your vehicle. Eliminating 100 excess pounds from the interior of your car can boost your fuel economy by two percent, saving you about $40 a year. Think you don’t have 100 pounds to spare? Take a look at your back seat or the trunk and prepare to be surprised. Recycle that box of flyers from the garage sale, put your kid’s bike back in the garage, fold up the stroller and stash it in the front hallway, and take out the bag of sand and the shovel — spring has sprung!

Sing a Happy Tune

A basic tune-up and frequent oil changes of the proper kind and weight of lubricant can get both your car and you purring as you see gas mileage increase by four to six percent. This can translate to savings of close to $50 yearly, with an increase to more than a thousand dollars if items such as a faulty oxygen sensor are replaced or repaired.

Proper Pressure

Pressure can be a good thing if it means your tires have achieved psi perfection. Your driver’s manual or door jamb sticker give you the proper numbers; do not rely on the fickle advice of the digits on the tire itself. Rolling along on happy tires can increase mileage three to four percent, yielding another $60 per year. Your tires, by the way, will thank you by lasting longer, another car maintenance saving.

Streamline for Savings

If you can remove roof racks when you have no use for them, it is wise to do so. The same principle applies to bicycle or other removable racks. Cost savings are achieved because the vehicle will become more aerodynamic when the racks stop pushing back some of the air flow. Interference with air flow can really be a drag. A rack-free car will increase gas mileage numbers by up to five percent, meaning you keep another $60 or $70 in your pocket each year.

Idle No More

Bust the myth and switch your ignition off when waiting to pick up your kids or the drive up food order. Particularly if you are also running your air conditioning, you can waste up to an amazing half of a gallon of gas per hour idling. Think it takes more gas to restart your engine after you’ve turned it off? Not true, so limit the idle time. An active life can net many gallons of gas over a year, depending on how long you spend simply waiting.

Summer gas prices don’t have to get the better of you. Read more of Jessica Bosari’s money saving tips at