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Gasoline savings here could be higher


According to San Antonio Gas Buddy, the average cost per gallon of gasoline in the San Antonio area is stable at about $2.55. Although this average is certainly lower than some in recent memory, vacations and other summer activities are leaving many a credit card strained.
At this time of year, keeping in mind some simple ways to make a gallon of gas go farther and leave more money accessible through your credit card may be helpful. The Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) suggests these easy, gas-saving methods:
• Ease up on the gas and brake pedals: Speeding, rapid acceleration, and excessive braking can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets. On average, aggressive driving wastes about $0.85 per gallon on the open road and $0.13 per gallon in town.
• Drive the speed limit or slightly less: While the speed limits on major roadways in our urbanized areas do not exceed 65 or 70 miles per hour, many people creep above those limits to 70 or 75 mph or higher. Driving steadily at 75 mph rather than 65 mph uses about 14 percent more gasoline per gallon, which is about $0.36 worth per gallon of gas.
• Use air conditioning (AC) sparingly yet smartly: AC use in your vehicle can reduce fuel economy by more than 25 percent. At lower speeds, open windows and "air out" your vehicle to cool the interior. At highway speeds, close your windows and use the AC if your cabin is still hot. Open windows create aerodynamic drag at higher speeds that may cancel out the effect of not using AC.
• Park and go inside: Idling in a line of vehicles in restaurant and pharmacy drive-through lanes wastes gasoline - especially when the AC is on. Contrary to popular belief, it does not use more gas to shut off a vehicle's engine to go inside to pick up an order and restart it upon return. Idling a conventional vehicle's engine for more than 10 seconds uses more gas than turning off an engine and restarting it.
• Combine errands into one trip: Several short trips taken with a cold engine can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. Postponing nonessential trips until several can be taken at once will save you gas money.
Because the nitrogen oxides found in vehicle emissions are major contributors to ground level ozone, which is the primary form of air pollution in the Alamo region, using less gasoline not only saves money, but also helps improve air quality.
More fuel-saving tips and other information about the link between transportation and air quality may be found at cleanairdrive.com, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cleanairdrive) or Twitter (@CleanAirDrive).