With gas prices continuing to skyrocket and the summer travel season in full swing, Americans will be looking for ways to save at the pump. To ease the pain, Ford Motor Company has some ideas on how to increase fuel economy.

Fuel efficiency experts agree that learning to drive differently increases fuel efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving such as rapid acceleration, speeding and braking can lower your gas mileage significantly. Sensible driving not only helps conserve precious fuel resources while saving money, it’s also safer for all drivers.

We call it EcoDriving – ECOnomical because it saves money and ECOlogical because it is better for the environment. Our tips are simple actions that any driver can use to reduce fuel consumption and save money at the pump.

The following ECOdriving tips can increase fuel economy.
1. Slow down and watch speed – Drive 55 miles per hour instead of 65 to save fuel. EPA estimates a 10-15 percent improvement in fuel economy by following this tip. Also, aim for a constant speed. Pumping the accelerator sends more fuel into the engine. Using cruise control whenever possible on the highway helps maintain speeds and conserve fuel.

2. Relax – Aggressive driving wastes fuel and wears out components, such as brakes and tires, more quickly. Accelerate smoothly from a stop and brake softly. Avoid fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic and hard braking wastes fuel. Maintain a safe distance between vehicles and anticipate traffic conditions to allow for more time to brake and accelerate gradually.

3. No idling – Today’s engines don’t need a warm up. Start the car immediately and gently drive away. Don’t leave your car idling. Prolonged idling increases emissions and wastes fuel. Turn the engine off in non-traffic situations, such as at bank and fast food drive-up windows, when idling more than 30 seconds.

4. Check your tires – Keep tires properly inflated to the recommended tire pressure. This alone can reduce the average amount of fuel use by 3-4 percent. Under-inflated tires increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy. They also wear more rapidly. Check the vehicle’s door-post sticker for minimum cold tire inflation pressure.

5. Be kind to your vehicle – Maintain proper engine tune-up to keep vehicles running efficiently. Keep the wheels aligned. Wheels that are fighting each other waste fuel. Replace air filters as recommended. Use a fuel with good detergent additives to keep the vehicle engine clean and performing efficiently. Always consult the Owner’s Manual for proper maintenance.

6. Travel light – Avoid piling a lot of luggage on the roof rack. The added frontal area reduces aerodynamics and will hurt fuel economy, reducing it by as much as 5 percent. Remove excess weight from the vehicle. Unnecessary weight, such as unneeded items in the trunk, makes the engine work harder and consumes more fuel.

7. Minimize use of heater and air conditioning – Use heating and air conditioning selectively to reduce the load on the engine. Decreasing your usage of the air conditioner when temperatures are above 80 degrees can help you save 10-15 percent of fuel. Use the vent setting as much as possible. Park in the shade to keep car coo

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