The skyrocketing price of gasoline is becoming one of life’s certainties: Though it seems we Americans receive an annual reprieve at the pump – usually in the winter – we are constantly preparing ourselves for prices to rise without notice. And for many farmers and others in the agribusiness industry who use gasoline for tractors and other equipment, rising fuel costs affect more than just their transportation, but also their way of life.
“The reasons for such high gas prices are many and complicated,” said Mark Jones, Credit Counselor with Credit Counseling of Arkansas (CCOA). “We as average consumers can’t control a lot of these factors, but there are things we can do to keep gasoline from soaking up our budgets.”
Jones said that buying a hybrid vehicle and carpooling are great ideas, but they’re not options for many people. So he provided other gas-savings tips all of us can utilize:
Not so fast! – Speeding and rapid acceleration decreases your gas mileage significantly.  Traveling at 65 mph instead of 55 mph, will decrease your gas mileage by 17 percent.  
Avoid idle engines – Don’t idle for longer than one minute. It takes less fuel to restart your car than to idle for longer than a minute.
Inflation is good – Keep a tire gauge in your vehicle, and make sure your tires are properly inflated. For every five pounds a tire is under-inflated, your vehicle’s gas mileage will be reduced by up to four percent.
Make the grade – Use the recommended grade of motor oil. Read your manual to find out whether your car requires 5W-30, 10W-30, etc. Using the incorrect grade of motor oil will reduce your gas mileage by one to two percent.
Clean and efficient – Make sure you don’t have dirty air filters. Not only does a clean air filter protect your engine by keeping out impurities, it provides 10 percent better gas mileage than a dirty filter.
Time for a tune-up? – Keep your engine properly maintained. A periodic tune-up is essential for longer engine life, and will improve your car’s gas mileage by about four percent.
Of course, alternatives such as walking and bike riding are the best way to save on fuel costs and get some good exercise at the same time. However, when you do use your vehicle, keep in mind the above fuel-saving measures. Though it seems that high gas prices has become one of life’s certainties, we can certainly make the situation more manageable.  
Mary Catherine Harcourt works with Credit Counseling of Arkansas.  


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