Tips to improve your fuel economy

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- So many of us drive long distances on a daily basis and filling our tanks gets quite expensive.

Paul Stehr, the President of Christian Brothers Automotive West Galleria has a few tips to help you save on your fuel economy.

"Tire pressure and a clean air filter are the two best things you can do to increase your miles per gallon," says Stehr.

"An underinflated tire causes a lot more drag and again causes more work, more friction with the road, so you're trying to reduce friction and the best way to do that is have a tire properly inflated," he explains.

A dirty air filter restricts air flow to the engine. By making sure it's cleaned, you can increase your fuel mileage by as much as 15%.

Also, ever wonder about how effective gas additives are? Stehr says, "Gas additives are one of the lesser factors of getting the most out of your mileage."

So, for those of us spending money on gas additives, Stehr says they work, but shouldn't be our first step. Instead, we should consider our driving behavior.

"Speed can have a dramatic effect on your gas mileage but what affects it even more is the rate and aggressiveness of acceleration and braking," Stehr adds.

By being more moderate on our accelerating and braking, we can save 10-15 percent on gas mileage.

Also, while you might think rolling your windows down will save on gas mileage, Stehr explains it's actually more efficient to run our air conditioners. "When you roll your windows down on your car, you're creating a significant amount of drag and are decreasing your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent."

And, take advantage of your cruise control. "Studies have shown that using cruise control can save you as much as 7-14 percent on the freeway."

And one last tip: for those of us heading out on a road trip, hauling cargo on the roof of our car makes the vehicle work harder, so we're better off hauling from the back of the car instead.

Finally, Stehr says, "A good, clean car that's been well-maintained is the best way to get performance out of the car."
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