• Shape Up With a Tune-Up: Fixing a car that's noticeably out of tune can improve gas mileage by 4 percent. You can often save money on car maintenance by joining a car club such as AutoVantage.
• Filter Maintenance: Something as simple as a healthy air filter can improve your car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
• Slow Down: Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon of gas.
• Don't Be Aggressive: Accelerating and braking abruptly can lower your gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in the city.
• Cruise, Don't Lose: Each time you accelerate, your car expends more energy. Constant braking and accelerating causes less fuel efficiency and a faster trip to the pump. Use cruise control whenever possible.
• Combine Trips: Make a plan before you head out for errands and combine trips in your car. Making multiple short trips from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one long multipurpose trip.
• Consider a Hybrid: If you are in the market for a new car, hybrid-electric vehicles combine the best features of the internal combustion engine with an electric motor. Another money-saving factor: the Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a federal tax credit for certain hybrids.
• Shop Around: If hybrids aren't for you, there are still plenty of conventional automobiles that can save you big bucks at the pump. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the difference between a car that gets 20 mpg and one that gets 30 mpg amounts to about $744 per year.
Liz Allison, a spokesperson for AutoVantage, is a NASCAR TV personality, radio host and best-selling author. She has served as a racing analyst for TNT, CNN/SI, TNN, CNN, ESPN and ESPN2.
Members of AutoVantage can save on car care at some 19,000 service locations. To learn more, visit www.auto vantage.com or call (800) 876-7787.