Consumers are packing up their cars, vans and trailers and hitting the road this summer to explore new places, visit family and friends and enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. Approximately 90 percent of Americans vacation by car, some traveling great distances to get to their summer destination. Long trips and heavy car loads make motorists aware of how much fuel their vehicles consume and how fuel mileage affects their pocketbooks.
“Summer fun begins with fueling up the gas tank,” said Jim Hanni, executive vice president for public and government affairs at AAA. “A few simple steps will help motorists get the most out of their vehicle’s fuel economy and wallets.”
Below are ways AAA recommends travelers can save fuel when taking road trips:
* Slow down. The faster a vehicle travels, the more fuel it burns. The US Department of Energy estimates motorists pay an extra 24 cents per gallon for every five miles per hour driven over 60 mph.
* Choose a route that enables you to travel at constant speeds and bypass congested areas as much as possible. iPhone owners can download the free AAA TripTik Travel Planner which provides maps, directions and updated gas prices.
* Start trips early in the day while traffic is light. Plan meal stops to coincide with likely periods of busy traffic. Ask local AAA travel representatives to create a route including preplanned stops with a customized TripTik.
* Inflate tires according to manufacturer recommendations. Under-inflated tires are a safety hazard and can cut fuel economy by as much as two percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level.
* Lighten the load. A heavier vehicle uses more gas. An extra 100 pounds of weight in the passenger compartment, trunk or cargo area can reduce a vehicle’s MPG up to two percent.
* Stick to a routine maintenance schedule. Keeping tires properly inflated, moving components lubricated and ignition and emission systems in good operating order will help ensure maximum fuel efficiency and extend the life of a vehicle.
AAA provides travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services to 51 million members nationwide. AAA is committed to keeping its members on-the-go by providing outstanding roadside assistance, valuable online resources on buying and maintaining vehicles and through the Approved Auto Repair program, which has inspected and approved over 7,500 auto repair facilities in North America. For more information about AAA, members and non-members can visit AAA offices in Topeka, Wichita, Manhattan or Lawrence, go online to AAA.com or call 800-365-5222.