* Vehicle gas caps. About 17 percent of the vehicles on the roads have gas caps that are either damaged, loose or are missing altogether, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year.
* Underinflated tires. When tires aren't inflated properly, it's just as though you are driving with the parking brake on, which can cost you a mile or two per gallon.
* Worn spark plugs. A vehicle can have either four, six or eight spark plugs which fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles, resulting in a lot of heat and electrical and chemical erosion. A dirty spark plug causes misfiring, which wastes fuel. Spark plugs need to be replaced regularly.
* Dirty air filters. An air
filter that is clogged with dirt, dust and bugs chokes off the air and creates a "rich" mixture - too much gas being burned for the amount of air, which wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, saving about 15 cents per gallon.
Here are some fuel-saving driving tips from the Car Care Council:
* Don't be an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which wastes 7 cents to 49 cents per gallon.
* Avoid excessive idling. Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
* Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mile driven over 60 mph will result in an additional cost of 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, use cruise control.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance and repair. For more information and to download a free service interval schedule, visit www.carcare.org.
Media Release Date: 7/7/04