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Consumer Reports: Hitting the road this summer? Here's how to maximize your fuel economy

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Posted at 7:32 AM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 08:33:44-04

(CONSUMER REPORTS/WTVF)  — As summer travel picks up, it could be more than traffic delays slowing folks down.

Rising gas prices can put a damper on summer vacation plans, but here’s the good news: Consumer Reports has some easy tips to squeeze every mile out of your gas tank -- and it all starts before you hit the road.

“You want to start out by checking your tire pressure. Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your door jamb sticker can affect fuel economy, along with performance and handling,” said Mike Quincy, Consumer Reports Auto Editor.

Next, look up top and remove the roof rack if it isn’t being used. At highway speeds, more than 50% of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. Don’t add to that by carrying unneeded things on the roof.

Also, they say getting there is half the fun, so don’t speed to your destination – along with being a safety risk, it can really hurt your fuel economy. CR found that reducing the speed of a RAV4 from 75 to 65 miles per-hour improved fuel economy by 6 miles per-gallon and dropping down to 55 mph improved it by another 8 miles per-gallon.

“The harder you accelerate, the more fuel you use. The goal should be to drive evenly and anticipate the movement of traffic. Smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking help extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes, and tires too,” said Quincy.

Also, before you leave, use your phone to check prices along your route. Generally, gas stations well off major highways and away from city centers may have better prices, as do warehouse stores and some travel centers.

Another way you can save money is to skip the premium gas unless it is required. How do you know? It should say on the door where you put in your gas. Many cars say premium gas is recommended, which means it is optional and not required.

Click here for more tips from Consumer Reports.