Two Tips to Save Fuel, Money

Ad Feedback - Want to save some money and some gasoline? Just add air and a filter.

It may sound a lot like making a pot of coffee, but we're talking about your tires and your engine.

Putting more air in your tires regularly and changing your air filter every six months can improve your gas mileage by up to ten percent.

Like you, your car's engine needs clean air in order to work properly. So let your car breathe clean air by changing that air filter.

Best of all, it's easy to do on most vehicles. On most cars, it only requires turning two screws, popping a couple of clips, putting the new filter in and the cover back on. It's that simple. The cost for filter usually runs between $5 to $15.

Pump Up the Tires

Your tires could also be costing you money and gas every month by being under-inflated. Pump them up. Invest in a good tire gauge and use it.

The EPA estimates that for every 1 psi of under-inflation, fuel economy drops by 0.4%.

That little fact adds up when you multiply it by eight pounds, totaling a 3.2 percent drop in fuel economy. One government study conducted just three years ago showed that around 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted every year due to low tires.

Proper inflation makes your car drive safer by handling better. And more air saves wear and tear on your tires, making them last longer.

So, you'll also save money because you won't have to head to the tire store as often.

One caution: watch out that you don't over-inflate your tires. A Popular Mechanics study two years ago showed that over-inflating did not do anything for a car's gas mileage.

Improving Your Mileage

Using just these two tips, you might get a 13.2 percent improvement in your car's mileage.

Those the savings could add up. An average vehicle driven 12,000 miles at 20 miles per gallon uses 600 gallons of gas a year. With the average price of gas now at $3.60 per gallon, that's more than $2,100 you may be paying a year for fuel.

By increasing your fuel economy 13.2 percent - to more than 22 miles per gallon - your car will then use only 530 gallons of gas per year. That's only a little more than $1,900 annually, which saves you $252!

Sources: MarketWatch,, Popular Mechanics

Originally Published May 2, 2008

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