The outlook for motorists is far from bright, with gasoline prices getting closer and closer to $1 a gallon and the threat of longer service-station lines. One thing that's needed, obviously, is more mileage for the money. In a guide on how to make 5 gallons do the work of 6, the American Automobile Association offers these tips:
On typical stip-and-go trips, accelerate smoothly and slow gradually. Move with the traffic at moderate, steady speeds and don't change lanes constantly. Gasoline efficiency can be increased up to 40 percent by improved driving techniques.
Reduce engine warm-up by idling momentarily and then driving slowly for the first few minutes.
Avoid unnecessary idling; idling a minute wastes more gas than starting most cars.
Don't rev the engine.
Don't ride the brakes; it wastes gas and wears out the brakes.
Get a tune-up twice a year, which can mean 9 to 15 percent mileage improvement. To keep the engine in peak condition, regularly check the spark plugs, distributor points, air and oil filters, automatic choke and carburetor air-fuel mixture.
Use the correct weight of oil. A heavier weight will force the engine to use more fuel to overcome the heavier oil's resistance.
Check tire pressure frequently. Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and cut fuel economy. Also, properly balanced tires and aligned wheels decrease drag and help save gas. Radia-ply tires increase mileage for longer-distance driving.
Buy no higher octane than commended. Using the wrong octane might cause engine problems, spark plug fouling and reduced mileage.
Don't fill the tank to the brim and risk overflow.Make sure the gas cap is the peoper type and fits tightly.
Plan ahead and combine errands for fewer trips-arrange dental appointments for several members of the family at the same time; buy groceries to last for longer periods.Walk or bicycle for that loaf of bread.
Don't carry extra weight in the trunk. Store those golf culbs in the closet.
Remember the weight of an air conditioner in your car, plus the power required to operate it, may increase fuel consumption 5 to 14 percent.
Use the car's cruise control to maintain a steady speed.