Tips to help drivers save money

March 29, 2012 4:03:35 PM PDT
Do you feel your wallet is being emptied out every time you fill up at the pump? Gasoline prices are topping $4 a gallon at stations across the city.

AAA says the national average of a gallon of regular gas is at $3.92 per gallon. Mid-grade is selling for $4.05 and premium is $4.19. Drivers in Houston are paying just a few cents less.

This weekend, you can learn how to trim hundreds of dollars a year off your gas costs by following a few simple tips. The tips do not come from me, they come from an Australian couple that has set fuel efficiency records around the world in stock vehicles you can buy at a dealership, and this weekend you can find them right here in Houston and learn the tips that can save you money at the pump.

Prices at the pump are climbing to record territory and drivers have certainly taken notice.

Driver Lon McWashington said, "I noticed an Exxon down on the freeway, and it was over $4."

While drivers cannot do anything about how they are charged at the pump, they can do quite a bit to keep from filling up as often and save money in the process.

Fuel Academy instructor John Taylor said, "We are talking about absolutely massive savings and it is not rocket science."

John Taylor and his wife Helen spend their time setting fuel efficiency records around the world, recently getting more than 60 miles per gallon out of a stock Chevy Cruze.

Using typical cars and applying common sense tips, the Taylors have taught average drivers to save hundreds of dollars.

A top tip to save -- drive two miles per hour slower than the speed limit. You'll increase fuel efficiency, in some cases by up to 20 percent or more.

John said, "Our recommendation would be if you are in a 65 zone, we normally sit at about 62, 63 miles per hour, just slightly under. And at the end of the day that does save us a great deal of fuel."

Another tip to save, the Taylors say don't drive like a cab driver.

Fuel Academy instructor Helen Taylor explained, "They floor it, they put their foot down as hard as they can on the accelerator and try to get to that red light, slam their foot on the brake for no reason, then you are off again."

Fast starts and quick stops can eat up a third more gasoline than slowly applying the gas.

"You take a third of the money and just throw it out the window," Helen said.

The Taylors say checking your tire pressure once a week and removing extra items from your car can really do increase your fuel efficiency.

The Taylors also recommend you put your air conditioning on the lowest setting. If you can stand it, you'll use less gas. As for cruise control, if you are driving on a flat surface, they advise using it, but not if you are driving through the Hill Country.

While the Taylors' tips may not be ground breaking, the couple says tips work for everyone.

John said, "These tips we have been using for 30 years have saved people thousands and thousands of people around the world a lot of money."

The Taylors will be teaching their tips to drivers Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the George R. Brown Convention Center as part of the Eco-marathon. It's free and you could win a gas card worth $250 by being the most fuel efficient driver during the driving sessions.

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